DEADLINE EXTENDED! (FOR NOW)

We would love for everyone to join the Central Brooklyn CSA, and even though we cannot make that happen, we are doing our best to make sure everyone who is interested at least has an opportunity.

Great news: due to the incredible response over the last week, we are extending the deadline to join the Central Brooklyn CSA! We are proud of the opportunity our CSA provides for members of our community to eat well for less, and want to make sure everyone that is interested in becoming a member has a chance to. Having said that, vegetable shares (standard memberships) and fruit and egg shares are going fast, so if you would like to become a member, we urge you to move quickly.

We have made a commitment to make at least 40% of our shares available to members making less than $35, 000, and we are keeping that commitment. However, in fairness to all potential members, we are accepting applications on a first come, first serve basis. (In other words, if you are planning on joining, you should know that the availability of shares is impacted by your income level.)

We would love for everyone to join the Central Brooklyn CSA, and even though we cannot make that happen, we are doing our best to make sure everyone who is interested at least has an opportunity.

If you are interested but have questions or financial concerns, please contact us (no need to panic!). If you sent in your deposit and membership agreement and want to make sure we received it, email us at CentralBrooklynCSA@gmail.com and we will get back to you right away.

Eat well, until we meet again!

Why Join? Because the Food is Amazing!

Our farmers only harvest produce when it is ready to eat, instead of harvesting it weeks early to ship it across the country, or further!

If you are keeping count this is the third installment in our “Why Should I Join?” series. If you want to read the earlier posts here is the introand  part 1!

Delicious Food

My mother used to say “Boy, what you want isn’t always what’s best for you.” Who knew she was talking about vegetables? (Ok, she probably wasn’t but, the idea still fits here!) Although I would love to eat farm fresh tomatoes year-round, I cannot. Because I would rather not eat tomatoes, than eat a bland hot house tomato in early June, I have learned to heed Mom’s words.

The great thing about being a part of a CSA is that I can eat fresh, great tasting food all season, because our farmers only harvest the food when it is ready to eat, instead of harvesting it weeks early to ship it across the country (or further, yikes).  This means that the food is at it’s peak ripeness, and it’s peak nutritional value; you’re getting the vegetables that are the best for you, and the best tasting!

In the late summer, when the tomato harvest comes in, “Look out world, I’m on a natural high!” And in the meantime, I get to try fruits and vegetables that although I may have never tried before new, I know they taste the way they are supposed to.  And, learning to love new food is almost fun as eating a delicious favorite.

Central Brooklyn CSA has vegetable, fruit, and egg shares available. We are currently developing a wicked menu board, and are planning on hosting cooking demonstrations to boot, so if you like the idea of eating perfectly ripened fresh foods, but are not yet a kitchen wizard, fear not!

What Do I Get For Volunteering?

Volunteering requirement serves has two primary functions: 1) to lower the cost of food for every member (despite income level), and 2) to promote the idea of “community” within our CSA.

The Central Brooklyn CSA has a minimum volunteer requirement of 4 hours of service for every adult member who is part of a share (regardless of whether a member receives a half or a full share).

The volunteer requirement serves has two primary functions: 1) to lower the cost of food for every member (despite income level), and 2) to promote the idea of “community” within our CSA.

So if you are wondering “Do I get a discount on weeks I volunteer?,” the answer is “yes, and no. “Volunteering helps the Central Brooklyn CSA save money by not hiring workers. Those savings are factored into the total cost of every share before you pay a dime.  So all members of the CSA “get something” for their efforts, we just get it up front!

Participating in the CSA community is just as important as the money members save. CSA’s answer complicated questions about sustainability, supporting local economies, healthy living, and community empowerment, with a very simple and effective solution. By realizing the power our community members have to work together, we are able to collectively increase our access to healthy foods at a low cost, help keep local farmers in business, and do all this in an Earth-friendly way. Score!

By requiring every adult CSA member to volunteer at least for hours, our CSA enables us to make contact and encourages us as a community to work together on other community related as well.

So, that is what you get for volunteering!

If you have questions about our volunteer requirement, or just questions in general, you can call us, e-mail us at CentralBrooklynCSA@gmail.com, write on our facebook wall (Central Brooklyn CSA), hit up our myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/531196295), or follow us on Twitter @CentralBklynCSA!  Phew! It’s tiring trying to be everywhere!

Affordability

Trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents!

On the average CSA’s cost less than buying the same foods in “traditional” stores.  In fact, when you do the math, most CSA’s cost a lot less. I would not say I am cheap (my girlfriend, however, would), but I do hate to overpay for things. The cost value in most CSA’s is probably the reason I signed on in the first place, and for me, the savings are real.  What’s more, paying for four months of produce all at once helps me budget what I spend on groceries better (sweet!) and helps me eat better, too (more on this in a later post!).

There is a risk in CSA’s – since the food is pre-purchased, local weather conditions can affect the harvest. However, CSA’s use professional farmers, who are up to the challenges that weather provides and rarely if ever are CSA members left holding the (empty) bag. (The proof is in the pudding on this one, most CSA’s bring back the vast majority of their members year-to-year.)

Because CSA’s pair communities directly with farmers and use cooperative labor, they often represent the greatest value in purchasing locally grown, sustainable produce around. But don’t just take my word for it, sign-up and see for yourself!

Membership Has It’s Privileges

Why did I first join a CSA? My girlfriend made me. Ok, she did not so much force me, as much as she led me to believe that if we did not join, my life would be considerably less pleasant for the foreseeable future.  As they say, “Mama didn’t raise no fool,” and shortly thereafter I found myself a member of my first CSA.

There were a lot of reasons I was hesitant to join, but the biggest one was simple: CSA’s are different than the traditional supermarkets I was used to. In most CSA’s, you pay for your share (typically one to two seasons worth of food) all at once, before the season begins. The food is seasonal – meaning you get what naturally comes out of the ground at that time of the year, and since my CSA, like most, partnered with a local farmer, that meant no tomatoes in June. Since I have an unnatural love of tomatoes, this was awful news. The food looks like it has just been harvested – it has – which means there may be a little more dirt on fruits and vegetables than we are accustomed to.  And of course there is a volunteer requirement (you mean I have to pay AND work for my food?!).

If CSA’s are so so different than traditional supermarkets and bodegas, why I am so excited to be a part of a CSA now? The first five reasons that come to mind are 1) it is affordable; 2) the food is delicious; 3) I get to “do something” in my community; 4) I feel like I am making a difference; and 5) it is different than a traditional supermarket.

We thought it would be cool if we made a “Why I joined my CSA, a regular series of posts that anyone can contribute to, so that is exactly what we are doing! Over the next few days, I will post more about my reasons for joining, but we would really love if you took the ball and ran with it – so feel free to comment or write your own post too!

Eat Well, Until We Meet Again,

JT

Mail in Your Forms!

Just a reminder that you CAN mail in your vegetable & fruit and/or eggmembership agreements and payments (Please note, you MUST secure your vegetable share BEFORE you may secure a fruit or egg share).  It is not necessary for you to come to a sign-up event to secure your spot!

You may mail your forms to:

New York City Coalition Against Hunger

50 Broad Street, Suite 1520

New York, NY 10004

Please make checks payable to “NYCCAH”.