As part of the volunteer requirement, 2010 Southside CSA members have been supporting the weekly soup kitchen meal at the Greenpoint Reform Church. Whether cooking healthy dishes, serving & cleaning up after the meal or unloading & prepping vegetables from weekend deliveries, volunteers have been getting their hands dirty in support of this community kitchen. All Southside CSA share families perform 4 hours of volunteer service in support of either the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen or Southside Mission Pantry; with just a few hours of your time you help maintain a vital neighborhood service. It is a really important to us that we work together to support food security in the neighborhood.The goal during our saturday workshifts is to take the produce delivered from the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA and unload it, prepare it for storage, and plan for the upcoming meal. In the hot and humid weather during the CSA season, fruits and vegetables must be properly stored or they will rot. We also try and plan out the various dishes that will complement the main course, typically a meat-based event. If there is stuff that can be done for the meal, like making a tomato sauce or fruit compote, then vegetables are chopped and the oven gets humming. We have pickled cucumbers and beets while also watering and weeding the backyard kitchen garden. Another responsibility of the saturday crew is to pack the fridge for maximum freshness. When done correctly, the fridges and freezers at the church are busting with local, organic, fresh produce.
The Wednesday meal is composed of a soup, salad, several vegetable sides, a rice or pasta dish, a meat-based main course, and a homemade dessert. Most of the cooking happens on wednesday, with the soup course being started in the am and the rest of the meal being pulled together throughout the afternoon.
The side dishes follow the harvest season and tend to lean toward the culinary customs of Eastern Europe, Rustic America & Italy. A group of dedicated volunteers keeps the kitchen boiling over with delicious and nutritious sides. This summer we have seen a bevy of roasted & grilled beets, eggplants, carrots, zukes, and green beans. Each week, using herbs from the kitchen garden, dishes are spruced and spiced, rivaling the type of fare you might find at a trendy Williamsburg bistro or typical Polish diner. Salads are spiced up with pickled seasonal vegetables and soups are bursting with more simmered and seasoned local veg. This year, inspired by the hot weather and the sweet vegetables, we experimented with cold soups busting out chilled favorites like cherry soup & creamed corn chowder. We look forward to a Fall filled with hot and cold borscht. Following the meal, volunteers clean, scrub, mop, and unload vegetables for the food pantry from Paisley CSA, Automotive High School Garden, Greenpoint Schul Garden, & Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA. The building becomes hustling with volunteers from the soup kitchen, Polish community, local churches, synagogue, & mosque, NAG, McCarren Park Kickball League, & Southside CSA in preparation for the food pantry the following day. Handing out more than 300 bags of canned goods and crates of fresh, local vegetables & fruits, there is a lot of prep work to be done. It has been great fun for everyone at the soup kitchen working with all of the Southside CSA volunteers; Everyone is looking forward to the combined push to raise funds for the upcoming Winter through CSA and Soup Kitchen sponsored fundraisers. As always, without your support of the whole damn Southside CSA project, all these amazing meals would not be possible! Gracias a todo!
Check back for updates on upcoming kitchen garden workdates & fundraisers for the Winter Produce Fund. Check out the Dessert Corps if you want to become a volunteer baker.
Let us know if you are interested in writing a blog post about the Southside Mission Pantry or Greenpoint Food Pantry.