Spring’s basically here and it won’t be long before our weekend farmers markets are bursting with all the colorful (and healthy) things! If you’re curious about different vegetables at the market, wish you could do more to support our local farms, or simply want a regular supply of organic produce throughout the summer than you should look into joining the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA. First, what is a CSA? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is when a group of customers pay at the beginning of the growing season for a “share” of a farm’s produce. That share is distributed throughout a given time period, in GWCSA’s case, it’s over the course of 24 weeks from June to November. GWCSA’s distributions take place on Wednesday evenings at the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell Street) and Saturday mornings by the McCarren Park Greenmarket (Driggs & N 12th Street). Still need convincing? Here are five reasons for joining GWCSA!
1) All the Beautiful Produce and Flowers and Eggs!
GWCSA partners with Long Island’s Garden of Eve farm, a certified organic farm from Riverhead, Long Island (you may have noticed their very popular tents by the dog run at the McCarren Park Greenmarket). Garden of Eve grows an impressive number of different things, and since all of the CSA’s vegetables and flowers as well as most of fruit come from Garden of Eve, you will be getting a good amount of various organic produce. There are also free-range eggs available from Garden of Eve’s organically-fed chickens that have never received hormones or antibiotics. (GWCSA also offers shares for cheese, bread, meat, pickles, preserves and plants.)
2) Lessons for the kids
Got a budding chef on your hands? Or maybe just a picky eater? Getting so much produce does mean a little bit more time in the kitchen, often with at least one new-to-you vegetable, and enlisting your kids can help them learn about new foods while also picking up a few kitchen skills. And experts say that the more a child is exposed to a food, the more they’re willing to try it! Bonus: there will be at least one farm visit during the season and it’s a surefire hit with the little ones.
3) The Experiments!
Getting 7-10 types of vegetables with each share will lead to trying a bunch of new recipes, and/or more attempts at food-in-jars (we are in Brooklyn, of course). Thankfully, there are a ton of food blogs from those who have CSA’d before you, and GWCSA does send out recipes in their weekly newsletter.
4) Meet Your Neighbors
Joining the GWCSA will mean volunteering at least once, either to assist with distribution or to drive leftover produce to the Greenpoint Church soup kitchen. Working a shift is super easy and a great way to meet fellow CSA members aka your neighbors!
5) It’s Affordable
Once you pay, you are committed, especially since you just handed over hundreds of dollars. A weekly vegetable share this year is $655.20 for the season, but divide that over 24 weeks and it’s only $27/week. It’s very easy to spend more than $30 when seduced by all sights and smells at the farmers market. GWCSA does have payment plans and low-income options available should you need some assistance financially.
Ready to sign-up? Have a few questions? Then check out their website and feel free to email! Summer’s bounty will be showing up at the McCarren and McGolrick markets soon enough, and joining a CSA is an excellent way to enjoy the whole season!