Community-Supported Agriculture

Social Justice & Activism

The BJ Hazorim CSA brings healthy local food to our neighborhood, supports local, organic, and regenerative agriculture, builds community, and makes our city a wonderful place to live. We have respect for the cycles, blessings, and benefits of naturally grown food, and we honor ourselves, our farmers, and our farmworkers. We 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. Contact Larissa to get involved.

For financial and logistical reasons, our farmers have made the tough decision to suspend delivery to NYC this season. There may be a possibility of purchasing bulk items from Free Bird Farm later in the season based on how things go over the next few months. If you are interested in potential bulk produce, please email Larissa.

 

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 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.

The BJ Hazorim CSA

The word “Hazorim ” in Hebrew means “the ones who sow or harvest”—it 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. Just as Birkat Hamazon encourages is to acknowledge our food, we hope that our CSA will give participants a new or renewed sense of intention and awareness around eating. We hope to move our members one step closer to becoming “harvesters,” by becoming more connected to the farm and farmerswho grow our food.

BJ is excited to be a part of:

  • Hazon‘s network of Jewish CSAs, as a way of becoming part of the growing community-supported agriculture movement
  • Just Food, a non-profit organization connecting 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. Read more about their work here.

Cost and Types of Shares

There is a membership fee of $18 per season for BJ Members ($33 for non-BJ Members), to help cover our administrative costs and operating costs.

The vegetables you will receive vary based on what is ready to be harvested throughout the season. We send out a weekly newsletter with farm news, what is in the weekly shares, and favorite recipes and storage tips. 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.

Being part of a CSA is a great opportunity to try new foods. Our newsletter and cooking classes make it 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!

Vegetable Share

The seasonal food charge covers the full 22-week season and is non-refundable.

The Full Vegetable Share is $548 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 Partial Vegetable share is $422 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 $274 and is offered as a benefit to BJ 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 need to split individual vegetables.

Pasture-Raised Egg Share

Full Share is $110 for one dozen eggs; Half Egg Share: $63

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.

Fruit Share

The fruit share is $165 and is generally 20-21 weeks long, beginning in mid-June. A double fruit share may also be purchased for $330.

  • Mid to late June: strawberries
  • July: blueberries
  • July & August: peaches, plums, nectarines, raspberries
  • August & September: melons
  • September & October: grapes, apples, pears

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.

Note: The fruit share is only available to  those who also purchase a vegetable share.

Work Shifts

To make our CSA a success, we all have to pitch in. By joining the CSA, every member or family commits to working two two-hour 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 4:00-6:00PM or 6:00-8:00PM. 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 check-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 will be contacted in the weeks following registration with information on how to sign up for shifts online.

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.

Larissa Wohl

Larissa Wohl

Assistant Director of Community Engagement