STATEN ISLAND — Two new Community Supported Agriculture groups are getting ready to dole out fresh produce direct from farmers to Staten Island this summer.
Dawn Rizzo, of Bay Terrace, is launching the Mid-Island CSA and the South Shore CSA to provide weekly crates of organic vegetables grown at Circle Brook Farm in New Jersey to members in Staten Island from June until November.
Rizzo, who moved to Staten Island almost a decade ago, was a member of Staten Island's North Shore CSA for five years, but noticed a need for organic produce with more convenient locations for pickups for residents on the rest of the island.
"There wasn't a lot of choice in organic produce, and the supermarkets don't have a great collection," said Rizzo, who is hosting an information session at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Christ Lutheran Church, 121 Cleveland Ave. "Both areas were willing to do it and both communities were sort of calling for it."
The price for access to the vegetables will cost $615 — a price that may strike some as high until they consider it works out to $27.95 per week, Rizzo said.
"It seems like a lot up front," she said. "It's relatively cheap in relation to buying organic produce from Whole Foods or something."
For an extra $210, residents can also get 6 to 7 pounds of fruit from the farm for 12 weeks.
In addition to the fee, CSA members will also have to volunteer two days to help distribute the produce at each pickup point. The produce will be dropped off at Christ Lutheran Church in Mid-Island and Bethel United Methodist Church on the South Shore.
Aside from the produce, Rizzo plans to host nutritional workshops during some distribution days, organize trips to the farm, and a health fair for Staten Island, she said.
Rizzo said she's working on getting a grant to help out Hurricane Sandy victims in the area who would want to join, but might not be able to shell out the fee all at once.
The grant would pay the farmer for their produce, and they can just pay the weekly fee when they pick up the vegetables.
"They may be having a tough time paying their regular bills, so why would they want to commit to paying $615 up front?" Rizzo said. "They can pay it back on a week-to-week basis instead of having to bring all that money up front."
People who sign up for the CSAs before March can get a $25 discount, and Rizzo said she's already received checks from people who want to join, and nearly 120 others have expressed interest.
"People are super excited about it," she said. "A lot of people are becoming really aware and conscious about what they're putting in their bodies."
The CSAs will have an info session on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 7 pm at Christ Lutheran Church, 121 Cleveland Ave.