Farm, Meet Table: CSAs Bring Crops into Our Kitchens

Order your CSA today



Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Here’s a prediction: This summer, hundreds of local families will eat enough fresh produce to topple the food pyramid. They’ll experiment with recipes for edamame or turnips or beets. And their kids will try their veggies without being prodded.

These are the members of CSAs—Community Supported Agriculture—small farms that presell shares of the season’s harvest to the public. The burgeoning CSA movement has done wonders for the lifestyle of members, who get weekly helpings of a wide variety of fresh, chemical-free produce; save money by cooking at home more frequently; and feel fully vested in the meals they prepare and eat.

But CSA members aren’t the only beneficiaries of this arrangement. Local economies benefit, as more small farms adopt the CSA model to stay economically viable while staying true to their mission of responsible, hands-on agriculture. And the earth benefits, too, as more people choose to eat seasonally and locally (less produce trucked in from far away) and sustainably (fewer pesticides and other pollutants in the soil and water).

Sustaining Tradition

Elizabeth Ryder, owner of Ryder Farm Cottage Industries in Brewster, NY, says its CSA members aren’t just sustaining the earth by buying shares of the farm’s certified organic produce—they’re sustaining centuries of tradition.

“Membership in our CSA provides direct support to local agriculture and helps in keeping the history of a family farm that dates back to 1795,” she says.

Though CSAs are a modern trend, many of them operate on farms with a similarly rich history. Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction, NY, is a historic apple orchard that has been in the Morgenthau family for nearly 100 years. Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center, now a working crop farm and environmental education facility in Yorktown Heights, NY, is a former dairy farm whose roots reach back to the 1600s.

Eco-Friendly Farming

With all CSAs, the emphasis is on the land and sustainable farming practices. Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem, NY, reflects the high environmental standards typical of CSA farms, offering only GMO-free, organically grown produce.

“By becoming a member of our CSA, you are choosing healthy, high-quality, safe food for you and your family,” says manager Christine Tartaglia.

From its eco-friendly fruits to its pasture-raised laying hens, Fishkill Farms adheres to the practices of the Northeast Organic Farming Association Farmer’s Pledge, says CSA coordinator Michelle Siefermann.

“Our apples are organically grown or certified ‘Eco Apple’ by Red Tomato,” she says. “Our stone fruit is also grown following their low-spray, eco approach.”

Diverse Menu

A big part of sustainable farming is producing crops appropriate to the local weather and topography, so CSA members can expect to find seasonal produce in their weekly shares. But many CSA farms also carry specialty or hard-to-find foods from other local farms.

Honey, jellies, maple syrup (in season), pie, eggs and apples are among the locally sourced foods available for purchase at Hilltop Hanover’s farm store, says board member Thomas McLoughlin.

Harvest Moon Farm regularly uses other local farms as a resource to expand the weekly menu for its CSA customers, Targalia says. “Every week our farm manager visits other local farms—mainly root-crop farms, as our soil is too rocky to grow them,” she says. “We handpick from their freshest harvests to bring home and fill our CSA members’ boxes.”

The Weekly Harvest

Once the CSA season begins—a date that varies by farm, along with the length of season—CSAs designate a day or two a week for members to pick up their shares. Fishkill Farms, for example, has a pickup at its farm store in Hopewell Junction on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and a second Saturday-morning pickup at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn.

While some farms, like Harvest Moon, pre-pack members’ shares, others, like Hilltop Hanover Farm (HHF), have members select pre-arranged amounts, which vary by week according to availability.

“The organic crops are picked that morning, and the Hilltop Hanover Farm staff decides the allocation for each available crop,” McLoughlin says. “The weekly selections are then arranged farm-stand style, with signs designating the amount allowed per vegetable.” CSA members usually leave with two or three large bags of produce that will feed a family of four or more, he says.

Like many local farms, Hilltop Hanover operates a garden where the public can pick their own produce for purchase. Fishkill Farms operates a pick-your-own garden specifically for its CSA members, who can include some of what they harvest in their shares. Fishkill also has a separate milk, egg and cheese share.

Reconnecting 

Between the items grown on site and those sourced from neighboring farms, the variety of produce sold through CSAs and their affiliated farm stands (which are open to the public) is staggering. Among the four farms profiled here, for example, offerings range from edamame and nectarines to fresh flowers and numerous herbs.

People in our area are responding to that bounty in a big way. Perhaps CSAs have given back what Americans lost over the past several decades, somewhere between TV dinners and Lunchables: a connection to food and to the earth from which it comes.

 

CSAs at a Glance

Fishkill Farms

9 Fishkill Farm Rd., Hopewell Junction, NY. Second pickup site in Brooklyn

Pickups: Fridays 2-7pm; Saturdays 8-10 am; Saturdays (Brooklyn) 8 am-noon

CSA offerings: organically grown vegetables, herbs, apples, berries, fruits; separate milk, egg & cheese share

Info: 845.897.4377, csa@fishkillfarms.com,  FishkillFarms.com

 

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard

130 Hardscrabble Rd. North Salem, NY

Pickups: Thursdays

CSA offerings: organically grown fruits and vegetables, separate milk share, plus selected produce from neighboring farms

Info: 914.485.1210, harvestmoonorchard@gmail.com

HarvestMoonFarmAndOrchard.com

 

Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

1271 Hanover St. Yorktown Heights, NY

Pickups: Tuesdays & Thursdays 2-7pm

CSA offerings: organically grown vegetables, flowers, "U Pick " available

Info: 914.962.2368, info@hilltophanoverfarm.org, HilltopHanoverFarm.org

 

Ryder Farm Cottage Industries

400 Starr Ridge Rd. Brewster, NY

Pickups: Wednesdays after noon (farm) or Monday-Friday (cooler)

CSA offerings: certified organic vegetables, herbs, occasional flowers

Info: 845.279.4161, RyderFarmOrganic@aol.com, RyderFarmOrganic.com

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

Newly Published Heart Path Oracle Cards Now Available

Newly Published Heart Path Oracle Cards Now Available

Designed to resonate with the vibration of unconditional love.
Mantra Documentary Screenings Spread with Grassroots Support

Mantra Documentary Screenings Spread with Grassroots Support

The film shares the stories of people who find healing and a sense of inner peace by singing mantras together.
Amazonian Medicine Comes to Rubystar Healing Arts

Amazonian Medicine Comes to Rubystar Healing Arts

April 28, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Sustainable Building: Two Projects, Two Methods

Sustainable Building: Two Projects, Two Methods

The joy in our work comes from the creativity involved in the design, detail and craftsmanship of the final product, and from customer satisfaction.
Shamanic Reiki Focuses on Sacred Relationship with Nature

Shamanic Reiki Focuses on Sacred Relationship with Nature

“It is the mission of The Center for Health and Healing to help our community grow and heal, restoring a sacred relationship with nature through the ancient wisdom of our indigenous ancestors."
Stone Barns Summer Institute Teaches Sustainability to Teens

Stone Barns Summer Institute Teaches Sustainability to Teens

Changing the way America farms and eats by promoting sustainable agriculture and food choices.
Forum Explores Link Between the Mental Body and the Gut

Forum Explores Link Between the Mental Body and the Gut

May 6 at the Westport Inn
Awaken Wellness Fair Comes to Tarrytown April 22

Awaken Wellness Fair Comes to Tarrytown April 22

“Westchester's best-loved body-mind-spirit-green expo.”
Bethel Springvale Inn Hosts Wellness Fair

Bethel Springvale Inn Hosts Wellness Fair

April 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m
Clean Home Fabrics Before Allergy Season Peaks

Clean Home Fabrics Before Allergy Season Peaks

Eco-friendly fabric cleaning services.
Beacon of Light Wellness Center Now Open

Beacon of Light Wellness Center Now Open

Offers yoga classes, therapeutic services, workshops and live musical performances.
Weiss Institute is now Quit with Quinn

Weiss Institute is now Quit with Quinn

Treatments for overcoming addictions ranging from alcohol, smoking and quitting sugar, to overeating and other behavioral addictions.
Social and Brunch to Benefit Animal Rescue

Social and Brunch to Benefit Animal Rescue

April 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
RevCon Healthy Living Expo Comes to Albany in May

RevCon Healthy Living Expo Comes to Albany in May

May 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Katonah Pharmacy Now Carrying Ayurvedic Supplements

Katonah Pharmacy Now Carrying Ayurvedic Supplements

Ayurveda defines health as a balance of body, mind and spirit.
Nonprofit Food Truck Fights Hunger in Westchester

Nonprofit Food Truck Fights Hunger in Westchester

Offering free, freshly prepared meals to low-income, food-insecure families.
Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine for Allergy Relief

Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine for Allergy Relief

Several studies have shown that using alternative choices such as acupuncture and naturopathic medicine for allergy relief could help your body heal itself without side effects.
Westchester Network Offers Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

Westchester Network Offers Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

Designed to improve circulation and immune function
Energy Healing Workshops Set for April and May in Lagrangeville

Energy Healing Workshops Set for April and May in Lagrangeville

Students will learn the energy healing techniques of scanning, radiant and color healing and the six sacred self-healing practices to clear blockages and release stress.
Organic Salon Now Open in Mahopac Falls

Organic Salon Now Open in Mahopac Falls

"We believe in using nontoxic ingredients with the best, greenest products available without compromising quality and beauty, and, most importantly, at affordable pricing."
PULSE Mindfulness Manifestation Empowerment Workshop

PULSE Mindfulness Manifestation Empowerment Workshop

May 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fishkill Nonprofit Helps End Waste and Feed the Hungry

Fishkill Nonprofit Helps End Waste and Feed the Hungry

Seeking volunteers and monetary donations to support its mission to end food waste and feed the hungry.
Elevate Yoga Expands Innovative Hot Flow Classes

Elevate Yoga Expands Innovative Hot Flow Classes

Practicing yoga in a warm environment encourages the muscles to become more elastic.
Productivity Coach Shares Free Online Webinar

Productivity Coach Shares Free Online Webinar

It can be viewed for free online until July 4.
Pain Specialist Featured in PBS Documentary

Pain Specialist Featured in PBS Documentary

“I want people to know there is a gentle and safe alternative to help the body heal.”
Harvest Moon Farm Expands Its CSA

Harvest Moon Farm Expands Its CSA

Accepting applications for the upcoming growing season through May or until maximum membership is reached.
Rainbow Body Wellness Collective Celebrates Opening

Rainbow Body Wellness Collective Celebrates Opening

A group of women wellness practitioners offering a wide variety of healing and beauty services.
Katonah Business Delivers to Local Pet Owners

Katonah Business Delivers to Local Pet Owners

“We deliver to the homes or workplaces of our customers."