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!

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”.

Now Offering Fruit and Egg Shares!

We are excited to announce that our membership forms for fruit and egg shares are now available! Just submit your form and payment, and enjoy!

Unfortunately, we do not have adequate funding to subsidize fruit and egg shares.  If you are interested and able to sponsor either share for a fellow member, please contact Maia Raposo at mraposo@nyccah.org, or at 212.825.0028 ext 205.

Where in Central Brooklyn is the Central Brooklyn CSA?

The Central Brooklyn CSA has no geographical boundaries in terms of membership. Our distribution (food pick-up) location is the Hebron Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The Central Brooklyn CSA has no geographical boundaries in terms of membership. As long as you can make it on time to pick up your food (and just as importantly, meet your volunteer commitments), consider yourself a part of our community!

Our distribution (food pick-up) location is the Hebron Seventh Day Adventist Church. It is located on the corners of New York Avenue and Dean Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn (11216).  Distributions take place on Wednesdays from 4:00 PM – 7:30 PM.  Our first pick-up will take place on June 16th!

How Are CSA’s So Cheap?

With the cost of groceries seemingly going up, up, and away, how can CSA’s offer fresh, low cost, healthy produce and more?

With the cost of groceries seemingly going up, up, and away, how can CSA’s offer fresh, low cost, healthy produce and more?

CSA stands for ”Community Supported Agriculture.” In a nutshell, CSA’s are cooperatives that pair communities with local farmers for low cost, fresh from the farm produce and other foods. (If you would like to learn more about CSA’s click here.) CSA’s help farmers plan what they plant, budget accordingly, and avoid taking out high risk loans. What farmers save in overhead costs, they are able to pass on in savings to their respective CSA’s.

CSA’s also use the collected efforts of their members to help further subsidize the cost of food. Often CSA member-volunteers do all the marketing, administration, and distribution work themselves. Again, the money that is saved by not hiring people to do these tasks is reflected in the relatively low cost of CSA foods.

In addition to our farmers and members, the Central Brooklyn CSA is supported by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH). This unique partnership helps us offer different membership rates and payment plans for members of different incomes and even accept Food Stamps as payment!

That is how the Central Brooklyn CSA provides its members with low cost sustainably grown local produce. Simple, isn’t it?