BJ Hazorim Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a partnership between city residents and a local farmer that allows city dwellers to enjoy fresh produce straight from the farm. When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly, from June until November, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location. This enables the farmer to plan their season’s crops efficiently by planting a diversity of vegetables and harvesting without waste.
The BJ Hazorim CSA
The word “Hazorim” in Hebrew means “the ones who sow or harvest” and comes from a passage in Psalm 126 most known for being the psalm that we sing before “Birkat Hamazon,” or the “Grace After a Meal” blessing. This psalm is traditionally said after eating a meal and encourages one to acknowledge their food. It inserts a sense of intention and awareness into eating, similar to what we hope to accomplish as a CSA. We hope we can move our members to take one step closer to becoming a “harvester” by connecting with the farm from where our food comes.
BJ is excited to be a part of Hazon, a Jewish environmental education organization, in its network of Jewish CSAs as a way of becoming part of the growing community supported agriculture movement as well as Just Food, a non-profit organization that connects communities and local farms with the resources and support they need to make fresh, locally grown food accessible to all New Yorkers.
We work with Ken Fruehstorfer and Maryellen Driscoll, owners and farmers of Free Bird Farm. It is a small-scale, diversified farm committed to strict organic and sustainable growing practices. Located in the Mohawk Valley, they grow more than 60 varieties of vegetables and herbs and have over 15 years of farming experience.
The BJ Hazorim CSA will bring healthy local food to our neighborhood, support organic and sustainable agriculture, build community, and make our city a great place to live! We have respect for the cycles, blessings and benefits of naturally grown food and honor ourselves, our farmers, and our farm workers. We will to contribute to the fight against hunger by donating our extra food to those in need. We hope that connecting to the land will teach us that joyful and communal eating is a part of healthy living and growing.
There is a per season $20 membership fee for BJ Members ($30 for non-BJ Members) to help cover the cost of marketing materials, distribution tools, administrative costs, and other operating costs.
The seasonal food charge covers the full 22 week season and is non-refundable.
The Large Vegetable Share is $520 and is designed to provide a week’s worth of vegetables for a family or two people with a veggie-centered diet. Each week, a large share typically consists of about 6 to 7 different types of vegetables, such as bunched carrots, broccoli, squash or mixed baby lettuces, and 1 to 3 additional items, such as bunched onions, garlic and/or fresh herbs. All of our vegetables are grown on our farm and are certified organic.
The Medium Vegetable share is $400 and is well suited to the city lifestyle of two people cooking in some nights but not all. Each week, a medium share typically consists of 4 or 5 different types of vegetables and 1 to 2 additional items, such as onions, garlic and/or a fresh herb. A medium share usually includes many of the same items as the large share (though not all) and in smaller quantities.
The Half Vegetable Share is $260. This share is offered as a benefit to our members. It is half of a large share and requires either splitting every week or picking up every other week. We strongly encourage those who purchase half shares to pick up every other week as it eliminates the splitting of single, more perishable vegetables.
Pasture-Raised Egg Share
Full Share is $95 for one dozen egg; Half Egg Share: $50
Free Bird Farm’s hens are raised outside on pasture, and this makes a big difference in the clean taste of the egg and rich, orange-yellow color of the yolk. Hens do need more than just grass to produce eggs. We source a grain mix from a neighboring conventional grain farm.
The fruit share is $160 and is generally 20-21 weeks long, beginning in mid-June. A double fruit share may also be purchased for $320.
In order to offer a diverse offering, the fruit is sourced from a handful of farms in Central New York and the Hudson Valley. The berries and melons are certified organic. Orchard fruits, such as peaches, plums, apples and pears as well as grapes are grown using integrated pest management techniques but are not organic. Fruit is provided according to when it is in season. This means there could be one or two weeks early in the season in which there is not any fruit available (we price the share accordingly). Depending on availability, the fruit share may consist of just one type of fruit, such as a bag of apples, or two, such as a half pint of raspberries and a bag of peaches.
This is the general schedule for which fruit is available:
mid to late June: strawberries
July & Aug: peaches, plums, nectarines, raspberries
August & September: melons
September & Oct.: grapes, apples, pears
Enjoy 11 weeks of delicious, kosher sweet cream butter from Kriemhild Dairy. Shares are $55 and include 8 oz containers of either salted or unsalted sweet cream butter. Pickup will be every other week throughout the season.
Additionally, each member household is responsible for contributing two, two-hour work shifts to ensure that the distribution goes smoothly. As members of the BJ Hazorim CSA, we commit ourselves to supporting our CSA by helping with the distribution workload. After you register, you will be contacted by our volunteer coordinator to sign-up for your work shifts. Coming together to work at distribution and interact with our fellow CSA members is a major way through which we build community. We volunteer in order to create an open and welcoming space in which to pick up our delicious produce and to contribute to supporting our food system.
Have some extra time during the season or a flexible schedule? Let us know! We are always looking for new CSA members to help meet the truck and set up before the regular work shifts begin.
The distribution on July 4 will be rescheduled. More information to come.
Pick-up is on Tuesdays from 4:30PM-7:30PM. Due to construction, the CSA will be located either on the first floor of our 89th Street Community House or in the 3rd floor gym, which will change from week to week. The Community House is located at 270 West 89th Street between Broadway & West End. Pick-up is scheduled to begin June 6 and conclude on October 31, 2017.
“Why would a synagogue be interested in hosting one?”
The Jewish tradition has a long history of thinking about what is kosher (literally, “fit”) for us to eat. A CSA offers a chance to re-examine and potentially redefine what it means for food to be “fit” – not only for us, but for the community and the earth as well. A CSA fosters pluralism, inter-generational connections in the Jewish community and allows members to explore contemporary food issues from a Jewish perspective.
“That sounds great, but wow, that will be too much food.”
Split it with a friend! Buy a whole share and let us know who that second person is on the form. Don’t have anyone in mind to split it with? Buy a half share and we will match you with another member. That way, you will receive half as much food and have an opportunity to meet someone new! Or, try our new partial share!
“What if I cannot pick up my produce every week? Could I send a family member or friend to pick it up for me?”
Absolutely! As long as they tell us on pick-up day that they are there in your name, we will be happy to allow others to come pick up for you.
“I’m going to be away for a few weeks this summer…”
Don’t worry, your veggies will not go to waste. You can give your share to a friend, sell your extra weeks on your own, or donate it to the Judith Bernstein Lunch Program. If you know in advance which weeks you will be away, please let us know.
“What’s the ‘work shift’ all about?“
To make our CSA a success, we all have to pitch in. By joining the CSA, every member or family commits to working 2 shifts at some point over the season. This is how we make pick-up day run smoothly! Members choose the days and shifts that work best for them. Shifts are on Tuesdays from either 4PM-6PM or 6PM-8PM. All members are trained ahead of time at our pre-season orientation and are always supervised by one of our shift supervisors and often by a core team member. Tasks include unloading the produce, weighing and dividing up shares, facilitating member sign-in, and cleaning up. Families can send one person or choose to come as a group to help out together. Kids are welcome to join in, too! Members are contacted in the weeks following registration with information on how to sign up for shifts online.
“What will be in my share each week?”
The vegetables you will receive vary based on what is ready to be harvested at that time during the season. Our farmer will keep us updated on the Free Bird Farm blog with farm news, what is in the weekly shares, and sometimes a favorite recipe or storage tip. Because the produce is harvested just before it is brought to us, we usually don’t know the exact share content until the day before pickup. Take a look at the sample produce lists from last year to get an idea of what to expect.
“What if I do not like something in my share?”
Being part of a CSA is a great opportunity to try new foods! Our newsletter and cooking classes make it really easy to learn new recipes and discover how to enjoy previous unfamiliar ingredients. If you still do not want something in your share, you can use the exchange box which runs on the honor system. Put in one item you do not want, and take out one item that you do want!
Why Join a CSA?
- Buy Local
- Your support helps small local farms stay afloat and guarantees them a market for their crop.
- Connect with the food you eat by meeting your farmers and exploring the farms.
- Eat Well
- Buy the freshest food for your family.
- Explore new foods and learn to use them in your cooking!
- Be Healthy
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Share healthy eating habits with your kids or junk-food addicted partner and expose them to a variety of regional produce.
- Protect the Environment
- Support farmers who take care of their land by growing food in ways that take care of the soil.
- Cut down on the number of miles your food travels from the farm to your plate.
- Build Community
- Meet and work with other BJ members during work shifts or on distribution days!
Susan Grodnick – Volunteer Manager and Distribution Coordinator
Nicolle Nowitz – Volunteer Manager
Barbara McCrane – Food Waste Volunteer
Elizabeth Crone – Newsletter Coordinator
Larissa Wohl – Staff Liason/Social Action Program Assistant