SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Farm-fresh vegetables may be harder to find in the South Street Seaport this summer, after Hurricane Sandy left the neighborhood's popular CSA without a home.
Fulton Market Community Supported Agriculture was based at Downtown Kitchen, a catering company that was completely devastated by the storm, and the CSA is now struggling to find a new host.
“It’s always been tricky finding a space at the Seaport,” said, Jocelyn Ban, 30, the CSA's manager. “But now, with so many places closed, it’s really tough.”
The 80-member CSA, which costs $360 for a five-month season of organic vegetables that starts in June, has had to suspend its registration, which usually begins in February.
Ban says they’ll have to let the their farm, Norwich Meadows, based in Upstate New York, know where — or whether — they’ve found a place to distribute the veggies, as well as eggs, meat, dairy and other products, by April.
CSA members essentially buy a share of a local farm and need to pay for the season upfront so farmers have the cash they need for seed, soil and other costs related to getting crops growing and to the table.
Last year, Downtown Kitchen gave the CSA a place to divvy up the fresh produce and store it until members picked it up, but the company has decided, like other local shop owners, that they won’t be able to reopen their Sandy-ravaged 160 South St. location.
“We were completely decimated and received no money from the insurance company,” said Deb Barrala, who’s run the company, now renamed Deb's Catering and Event Planning, on South Street for the past eight years. “We’re devastated, but we have no choice.”
While Barrala looks to rebuild her expansive kitchen — and her livelihood — elsewhere, Ban said she remains optimistic that the CSA will be able to keep going as well.
“We have a lot of very loyal members," Ban said. "There's a lack of this kind of fresh, organic foods in this neighborhood. We're just going to keep searching."