Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is a CSA?
- Why do I pay for the entire season before I receive any produce?
- How long is the harvest season?
- How often will I receive produce?
- How much produce will I get?
- What is expected of CSA members?
- Can I split a share?
- What if I cannot pick up my share?
- What if I need to sell/transfer my CSA share before the end of the season?
- What vegetable is that and how do I cook it?!
- What is the Admin Fee for?
- Who runs the Southside CSA?
1.What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Put simply, it is a community supporting a farm and in return, the farm supporting that community. It is a creative response to growing problems in this country and around the world, involving agriculture and our food supply, where we are increasingly separated from the source of our food. CSAs connect local farmers with local eaters in a partnership of mutual commitment.
Members buy a “share” of the harvest directly from the farmers before the season begins. Because members pay in advance the CSA allows farmers to raise interest-free operating capital with the security of this committed market. In return, each week the farmer delivers a steady supply of fresh food to the distribution site. When you join a CSA, you know exactly where your food is coming from. You can meet the farmers, and you may even visit the farm.
The money for your share goes directly to the farmers. Volunteer members run the CSA and there are no markups for advertising, storing, or distribution. Because there are no guarantees that particular crops will succeed, you share the financial risks along with the farmers. You also share in the bounty of the farm and members usually receive high quality vegetables and herbs at below-market prices.
When you buy locally grown produce, there is no need to transport it long distances. Buying local uses less fossil fuel and ensures that your food is really fresh. Martin & Gaudencia normally pick the produce the day before you receive it, and sometimes its as early as the morning of. The Greig Farm share is picked early Mon am and delivered that same day.
As a member of a CSA, you will be supporting small-scale, ecological, local farming and helping maintain our regional farmlands and rural areas.
2. Why do I pay for the entire season before I receive any produce?
Your advance payment helps the farmer purchase seeds and equipment for the upcoming season without having to rely on high-interest loans. Members invest in a “share” of the harvest, and accept to take on both the risks and rewards of the growing season. Your support keeps local and smaller scale farmers in business, and fresh produce accessible to city residents.
In 2009 there was a tomato and potato blight that ran across the entire east coast of America. Our farmers caught the blight and our CSA therefore did not get tomatoes. However, Martin was kind enough to make it up with an abundance of other goodies instead (even though he was not obliged to), knowing that we were happy to support them during harder times as well as during a bountiful harvest season. In the past, major weather incidents like Hurricanes Irene & Sandy, have caused issues for our farmers. Last year, the crazy long and cold Winter affected the blueberry harvest. But despite the “failure” of one crop, there was more than enough produce to make joining the Southside CSA a value.
3. How long is the harvest season?
Our season from start to finish is 31 weeks, running from May 2nd to November 28th
- Greig Farm(Mostly Berry) Share runs 24 weeks from May 2nd to Oct 10th
- Yellow Bell Farm Egg Share runs 26 weeks from May 2nd to Oct 24th
- Northwind Farm Meat Share has a variety of length options from 26 -6 weeks
- MimoMex Farm Vegetable Share runs 26 weeks from June 6th to Nov 28th
- NY Orchard Share runs 24 weeks from June 20th to Nov 28th
4. How often will I receive produce?
- Members have a choice of weekly delivery or bi-weekly delivery in the form of full or half shares.
5. How much produce will I get?
The amount of produce received each week will vary with the season, but typically a share will comprise of 7 or more different kinds of produce. Keep in mind that you will receive an average of $25 worth of vegetables per distribution. For a family of four this could provide for 2-3 vegetarian meals or a week of sides. Shared among two people, this could provide 4-6 vegetarian meals or sides for 2 weeks. It really depends on your cooking habits. Consider your current spending on veggies per week and translate.
6. What is expected of CSA members?
Below is the Membership Agreement you will sign when buying a share:
7. Can I split a share?
Yes. Lots of members share their membership with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and in some cases complete strangers that we have matched them up with…… We like offering half shares as an option HOWEVER we do not guarantee that the produce size, type, or variety of produce will be equally split between weeks. Mother Nature and farming just doesn’t work that way. Our farmers do their best to ensure each week is similar but there are no guarantees. If you are worried about “missing out” we recommend splitting a whole share with a friend, co-worker, neighbor, etc….
8. What if I cannot pick up my share?
No problem, anybody can pick-up your share if they give us your share name, i.e.: “Hi, I’m picking-up for Fox Force 5, my name is Gilly.” We will then note that Gilly picked up on the master sheet so there is a record in case there is any question or issue. .
We encourage members to be diligent about picking up their weekly share or to make their own arrangements for someone else to do so (if you are on holiday for example). Having your friends and family pick-up for you is a great way to introduce them to the CSA.
If you are unable to get to the site before 8.30pm on pick-up day, absolutely no produce will be held after 8.35pm. Because all shares are allotted ahead of time and due to the perishable nature of the merchandise you will not receive credit for unclaimed shares. All unclaimed produce or products are donated to the Southside Mission, a local homeless shelter and food pantry.
9. What if I need to sell/transfer my CSA share before the end of the season?
The CSA allows shares to be transferred mid-season however, members must make their own arrangements and notify the core group of the share ownership change. This ensures that we have an accurate CSA membership list and that only authorized individuals are picking up items at the site. Please note that all outstanding volunteer requirements are transferred along with shares
10. What vegetable is that and how do I cook it?!
Throughout the harvest season we offer recipe suggestions to help you explore the wonderful possibilities that cooking your own food provides. You may not have ever eaten or tried some of the vegetables that we grow and we have found in the past that often enough that these become the favorites of many folks. We would love to have more help posting recipes on the blog and FB page so do let us know if you are interested.
11. What is the Admin Fee for?
Your Administration Fee go towards operating costs (stamps, photocopying, bank fees, etc.) and seed events and workshops in the coming season.
12. Who runs the Southside CSA?
You do! The CSA is a member-run, volunteer-based organization: we couldn’t exist without your support and participation. We depend on our CSA members to set up the site weekly and help distribute produce and products for their fellow members, and help with processing left over and donated produce to various soup kitchens in the area.
A core group within the membership organizes and facilitate logistics and events. We currently have three core group members but we are always happy to include anyone who would be interested in joining. We invite you to reach out to a core group member with your ideas and to inquire about other opportunities. We will be planning a series of events throughout the season, including visits to the farm and the vineyard.
Your original core group members are: Ryan Kuonen, Yolim Khoo and Esther Giangrande. We got to know each other through volunteering as core members of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA and as the Low Income Fundraising Committee for GWCSA. Ryan and Yolim joined the GWCSA in 2005 when it was still the Williamsburg CSA and helmed its core group for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In the process of reorganization and expansion, a second distribution site was added and Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA was born. Membership nearly doubled between 2006 and 2008 to 537 members. Esther lead the efforts of GWCSA’s Low Income Fundraising Committee in 2008 and raised $1,500 for the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen through a series of brunches hosted at Bridge Urban Winery (our 2009 distribution point). As founding and participating members of Craig’s Kitchen, we continue to strive for food security within our community by supporting local soup kitchens and pantries. Esther has moved back to England, but Ryan & Yolim are still around running the show….