CROWN HEIGHTS — ‘Tis the season for fruits and veggies.
If you want fresh produce all summer long, it’s high time to sign up for a farm share, or CSA (“community supported agriculture”) in your neighborhood.
Members of a CSA traditionally pay up-front to buy into a local farmer’s crop for the whole growing season, receiving shares of what comes out the ground every week. Most of the time, CSAs are run entirely by members, who volunteer their time to work throughout the summer.
The Crown Heights area has six options for joining a CSA, with varying degrees of commitment. The Crown Heights Farm Share — which opened in 2009 and had about 225 members last year, according to its founder, Fran Miller — requires four hours of work and has a 25-week season, stretching from June to early November. Shares include everything under the sun, Miller said, like eggplant, bok choy, cucumbers, kale, tomatoes and “the most amazing watermelon you’ve ever tasted in your life.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Local Roots is opening a new “laid back,” half-season, no-volunteering-required farm share that will operate out of the Crown Heights beer hall, Berg’n. Members have several different shares to choose from, including meat, eggs, sausages and honey in addition to the traditional vegetable share.
Take a look at DNAinfo New York's round-up of the area's farm shares to find the right membership for you this summer. And if you need more help, read our beginner's guide for choosing a CSA:
Prospect Park CSA
Cost: Between $198 and $560 ($9 to $25.50 a week) for a full vegetable share, depending on your income; $150 for fruit; $128 for flowers
Volunteering: Two works shifts per full share, hours to be determined
Season: 22 weeks
Pick-up: Every Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 8:15 p.m. at 604 Grand Ave. between Bergen Street and St. Marks Avenue.
Deadline to sign up: June 9
This CSA was formed four seasons ago by those who wanted another farm share option when the nearby Prospect Heights CSA reached capacity, said co-founder Marci Lieber. The group gets their veggies, fruit and flowers from Windflower Farm in upstate New York. Those who want fruit or flowers must also get the veggie share, Lieber said. The group has about 100 spots to fill for the 2015 season, she said.
Crown Heights Farm Share
Cost: Between $450 and $710 ($18 to $28 a week) for a full vegetable share, depending on your income
Volunteering: 4 hours per season
Season: 25 weeks
Pick-up: Every Tuesday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 691 Prospect Place at Bedford Avenue.
Deadline to sign up: May 15
It’s not unusual to see friends or families split a share at this CSA, said co-founder Fran Miller, which come from Sang Lee Farms in Long Island. The mission of the group is to make fresh food accessible in the neighborhood and to help residents “bond over healthy vegetables,” she said. All pick-ups happen at Georgia’s Place, a local residence for people with mental illnesses, which receives all leftover produce from the CSA every week.
Local Roots CSA
Cost: various; $185 ($15.40 a week) for a vegetable share; $265 ($22 a week) for a meat share; $99 ($8.25 a week) for fruit
Season: 12 weeks
Pick-up: Every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at 899 Bergen St. between Classon and Franklin avenues
Deadline to sign up: May 27
“We are the laid back CSA that offers your complete grocery bag, all from local producers,” said Local Roots founder and program director Wen-Jay Ying of the group’s newest CSA in Crown Heights. The CSA offers shares of tons of products, including granola, eggs, fish, mushrooms, bread and even bee pollen. The group gets their products from 20 various farms and artisans in the tri-state area.
Central Brooklyn CSA
Cost: $554 ($25.18 a week) for a full share for those making over $50,000 a year; lower rates an half shares are available
Volunteering: 4 hours per season
Season: 22 weeks from mid-June to November
Pick-up: Every Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at 1256 Dean St. at New York Avenue.
Deadline to sign up: April 22
By partnering with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, this farm share offers low-cost payment options to those who qualify, including a plan that uses SNAP benefits to offset the cost of the share. Pick-ups are located at the Hebron SDA Church in Crown Heights, but the CSA aims to serve the entire central Brooklyn area including Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Prospect-Lefferts Gardens CSA
Cost: $340 ($15.45 a week) for a vegetable share; $135 ($6.14 a week) for fruit; $99 ($4.50) for eggs
Volunteering: 4 hours
Season: 22 weeks
Pick-up: Every Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Maple Street School on Lincoln Road between Flatbush and Ocean avenues
Deadline to sign up: April 27
Pick up your veggies every Saturday morning from the PLG CSA, which gets produce from a Hudson Valley farm from May to October. The group offers double shares for big families, said co-founder Karen Oh, who has been a member since the first season in 2007. “It’s definitely a different way of eating,” she said. “You don’t have to think about it too hard, you know? You say, ‘Here’s my ingredients. Here’s what I’ve got. What can we do for dinner?’”
Prospect Heights CSA
This 22-week farm share has filled up for the season, but still has slots open for families making less than $50,000 a year or individuals making less than $25,000 a year. For more information about signing up, contact the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.