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

Autism's Gut-Brain Axis

Autism's Gut-Brain Axis

A Promising Approach to Healing
Universal Healing Arts Touching Lives in Cortlandt Manor

Universal Healing Arts Touching Lives in Cortlandt Manor

"The staff heals on a physical, mental and spiritual level."
Indigo Helm—‘More Than Yoga’—Opens in Cortlandt Manor

Indigo Helm—‘More Than Yoga’—Opens in Cortlandt Manor

"This is a discovery place! Drop-ins are welcome."
Fluoride Dangers Focus of Holistic Moms Meeting

Fluoride Dangers Focus of Holistic Moms Meeting

7:30 p.m., December 6
Voice Empowerment Workshop with Ronni Sarrett Lederman

Voice Empowerment Workshop with Ronni Sarrett Lederman

1 to 4 p.m., December 2
SearchLight Medical Featured on Comcast Cable Show

SearchLight Medical Featured on Comcast Cable Show

Laurie Mallis, M.D., a licensed acupuncturist, discusses and demonstrates AcuGraph Qi Analysis and Auricular (ear) Acupuncture
Flawless Skin Is a Popular Holiday Treat

Flawless Skin Is a Popular Holiday Treat

Through December, all clients will receive a free gift of anti-aging serum.
Weekly Qigong Classes in Two Dutchess Locations

Weekly Qigong Classes in Two Dutchess Locations

“No experience is necessary—your practice is based upon never exceeding your own capacity.”
Holistic Health and Wellness Series in Beacon

Holistic Health and Wellness Series in Beacon

“Each workshop will focus on the most important information for you to make positive changes in your life."
Chapel at Croton Falls Holds Solstice, Christmas Eve Services

Chapel at Croton Falls Holds Solstice, Christmas Eve Services

Winter Solstice celebration at 6 p.m. on December 16, followed by Christmas at the Chapel at 7:30 p.m. on December 24.
April ‘Heal Your Life’ Teacher Training in Tampa

April ‘Heal Your Life’ Teacher Training in Tampa

April 20 to 27 in Tampa, Florida
Three-Part Winter Transitioning Workshop in Ossining

Three-Part Winter Transitioning Workshop in Ossining

December 8, 15 and 22
Poughkeepsie Farm Selected for Funding Accelerator Program

Poughkeepsie Farm Selected for Funding Accelerator Program

Trains food entrepreneurs from across the region to attract outside investment.
Fable to Hold Winter Farm Fest in Ossining

Fable to Hold Winter Farm Fest in Ossining

December 9
Fair Trade Festival December 1 in White Plains

Fair Trade Festival December 1 in White Plains

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., December 1
‘Energy Shifts’ at Temperance Center

‘Energy Shifts’ at Temperance Center

"These alternative modalities can help you open yourself up to the universal signs, trust yourself more and manifest what you want in your life.”
Eco-Justice Group The Greenheart to Perform in Ossining

Eco-Justice Group The Greenheart to Perform in Ossining

8 to 10 p.m. on November 24, at Good Choice Kitchen, in Ossining
Thanksgiving Day Plant-Based Potluck in White Plains

Thanksgiving Day Plant-Based Potluck in White Plains

1 to 4 p.m., November 22, at Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Mindfulness and Empowerment Retreat in Ossining

Mindfulness and Empowerment Retreat in Ossining

5 p.m. on November 30 to 1 p.m. on December 2
Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to Tarrytown November 18

Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to Tarrytown November 18

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors to this entertaining and educational event can browse products and services designed to support a healthy lifestyle, listen to expert speakers on a variety of issues, and consult with intuitive readers and holistic healers.
Beacon of Light Offers Fall Healing Events

Beacon of Light Offers Fall Healing Events

Events include women's healing circles, shamanic circles, breath work and sound meditations, live chanting and workshops on dance, drawing and Thai massage.
More Couples Want Inspirational, Nontraditional Wedding Ceremonies

More Couples Want Inspirational, Nontraditional Wedding Ceremonies

Michael Rosenbaum, an ordained minister and spiritual counselor, says he’s seeing a growing trend among engaged couples.
Open House at Yellow Monkey Village

Open House at Yellow Monkey Village

2 to 6 p.m. on November 3
Mindfulness Workshops and Retreats at Garrison Institute

Mindfulness Workshops and Retreats at Garrison Institute

Cultivate mindfulness, awareness and compassion.
Hudson River Museum Is Thanksgiving Weekend Destination

Hudson River Museum Is Thanksgiving Weekend Destination

November 24
Boscobel Hosts Holiday Twilight Tours

Boscobel Hosts Holiday Twilight Tours

Holiday tours will take place from 3:30 to 7 p.m., November 23-25, December 1-2 and December 8-9.
Bodyworkers’ Approach to Pain Transcends ‘Mechanics’

Bodyworkers’ Approach to Pain Transcends ‘Mechanics’

"The majority of chronic pain is actually caused by injuries to ligaments, joints, tendons and fibrous connective tissue.”
Hudson Valley Vegfest Returns for Second Year

Hudson Valley Vegfest Returns for Second Year