Rooftop Farm Brooklyn Grange Adds Flower Share to CSA

By Jeanmarie Evelly on March 28, 2013 8:25am 

LONG ISLAND CITY — Things are coming up roses for the Brooklyn Grange.

The organic rooftop farm — which operates two lush locations in Long Island City and Brooklyn — will be running a flowers CSA this summer and fall for the first time.

"We've been growing flowers, but it’s the first time we're offering them as a share," said managing partner Anastasia Cole Plakias. "We're pretty excited. They grow really well at the farm. They're so pretty, they smell so lovely an they stay so fresh."

The flower shares will be available for pick-up every Wednesday afternoon at Brooklyn Grange's farm atop a building in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, for 18 weeks between June and October.

Along with their produce, members will receive a weekly bouquet of loosely arranged stems — native wildflowers, zinnias, sweet pea, snap dragons and more — that are grown right on the rooftop.

The flower CSA is run by Sinda Karklina, a former Brooklyn Grange farm apprentice who learned about blooms when she was a child, helping out in her grandmother’s garden in Latvia.

"Some things I am most excited about the flower CSA this year are some big, colorful, dahlia-flowered zinnias that we haven’t grown before, trying my hand at sweet pea for the first time, and lots of wonderfully fragrant basil flowers that will make a house smell like heaven," Karklina told the Brooklyn Grange website.

She's also testing out a new variety of daffodil, called the Sir Winston Churchill.

"It has multiple layers of petals, and it has an incredible scent," she said. "I’ve been dreaming about it since I planted the bulbs last November and should be seeing it bloom any day now."

In addition to the flower share at its Brooklyn location, Brooklyn Grange is letting its CSA members at its flagship Long Island City farm dig in to more than just their weekly vegetable shares this summer.

Entering its fourth CSA season at the Queens location, the site will host weekly farming activities for members who want to get their hands dirty, giving them the chance to pick up a shovel or a spade as they pick up their produce.

"[It's] about enjoying the green space, getting your hands dirty, getting some vegetables and really taking advantage of the fact that there's a farm right smack in the middle of New York City," Plakias said.

Every Saturday, Queens CSA members can pick up their produce at the one-acre rooftop farm at 37-18 Northern Blvd., where farm manager Bradley Fleming will show volunteers how to harvest beans, stake tomatoes or pick weeds.

"You really can interact with the product as you're picking up, and really see it from week to week as it grows," Plakias said. "It’s a great day to come up and bring your kids and introduce them to the chickens."

CSA shares at both locations run for 24 weeks, starting in May and ending in October, at the cost of $576  for the season or $24 a week. The flowers share add-on at the Brooklyn location is $200 for 18 weeks.

Brooklyn Grange will be registering members through April.

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