CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA is a group of people who want to help support a local farmer while reaping the benefits of getting locally grown, fresh, seasonal vegetables. The members pay in advance of the season (usually January-March), and then throughout the growing season (typically from mid-June to mid-November in the NYC area) receive a share of whatever is harvested on the farm that week.
Why should I join a CSA?
The benefits are:
- You help a local farm, usually small and family owned, stay in business; they receive the money at the time of the year when they need it for planning for the season
- Your food has not traveled far to your plate, so you know it was ripe when picked, with little loss of nutrients, reducing energy “footprint”
- You will be able to meet your farmers and see the farm, and so you can feel confident about your source of food
- The farmer uses organic and sustainable methods to farm, which is good for the environment and in turn your health
- You will eat seasonally, with a lot of diversity, at a reasonable price
Anything else I should know?
There are some caveats, though:
- A CSA is a member run organization, so you will be required to help run the food distribution at least once during the season (maybe more, depending on how many members in the organization); your help might be needed with other work, too, but that would be your option.
- The veggies will come pretty much straight from the farm to you, so they might have dirt on them and/or need a little more prep work than what you buy in the supermarket.
- If the farm has difficulties–there is too much rain and not a lot of sun, for example, or the entire farm staff comes down with summer flu–that week’s share might not be that exciting. Then again, when the harvest goes very well, you might get more than you think you can eat in a week!
- You may receive some veggies you’ve never cooked before (some people like the challenge!) or don’t love.
The Glendale CSA is partnered with Garden of Eve Farm. Garden of Eve is a certified organic farm based on the North Fork of Long Island. They also supply a number of other CSAs in NYC and Long Island.
Pickups are Saturday mornings, 8:30am to 10:30am, running from mid June to mid November (usually ends the Saturday before Thanksgiving).
Typically the farm harvests about 7-10 items per week. Garden of Eve also offers fruit, flower and egg shares.
A full veggie share might feed a family of 3 or 4 for a week if they eat only a moderate amount of vegetables. Families of 4 that really like vegetables might need multiple shares. Families of 2-3 that eat a good amount of veggies will probably be happy with a full share. It really depends on how often you cook at home, how many people will eat from the share, and how much of that eating is vegetables.
For couples or individuals who don’t eat as many veggies, half shares are also available (half shares pick up a “full share” every other week).