If you’re looking for a regular supply of seasonal produce, search no further — Rye-Sound Shore Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) starts Monday, June 9.
By Natalie Amstutz
If you’re looking for a regular supply of seasonal produce, search no further — Rye-Sound Shore Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) starts Monday, June 9. Unlike a farmer’s market, where you can purchase various items from different vendors, CSAs act as a liaison between community members and local farms, providing families with reliable, fresh food during the 24-week growing season.
Rye CSA produce is sourced from Stoneledge Farm, a certified organic farm with 200 acres of land in the Catskills, has been a CSA supplier since 1996.
This will be the fifth year that Rye’s Community Synagogue has been a pick-up location. Site administrators Ellen Deixler and Mark Turk run the show and, as Turk explains, are “responsible for every facet of organizing and managing the CSA, from finding partner farms and signing up new members, to organizing volunteers and donations of shares.”
An important aspect of the CSA is the requirement that each shareholder volunteer a total of three hours over the season, so that the operating site is manned every Monday during busy pick-up hours. Volunteers also transport produce to the Carver Center in Port Chester after pick-up is over. This includes boxes directly from Stoneledge – the farm donates one standard Vegetable Share per 10 sold – as well as leftover shares that weren’t collected. By volunteering, one can meet like-minded community members he or she might not otherwise meet. In an age where communication is increasingly done through technology, institutions like CSA promote in-person relationships and community.
The most basic share option is the Standard Vegetable Share ($519), which is required to participate in the CSA. From there, shareholders have the option to add on the Fruit Share ($235), the Coffee Share ($126), or the Mushroom Share ($96). Occasionally, there are also specialties from other farms to be purchased, such as goat cheese from the Painted Goat Farm. The volume of produce can feed a family of four, or a smaller group that really likes greens.
Perhaps the best part of receiving a CSA box is the diversity of produce and the innovative cooking it can inspire. As Turk points out, “The variety, from garlic scapes to Swiss chard, golden beets to celeriac encourages a cook to explore and a family to expand their boundaries.”
Over the summer, shareholders can expect vegetables ranging from fresh oregano and snap peas to colorful root veggies like potatoes, carrots, and beets. The first few boxes this year will likely include bok choi, chives, garlic scapes, and spinach, which are great in stir fries, omelets, pasta primavera, or steamed as a healthy side. Those who also buy a fruit share will receive blueberries, red currants, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and a variety of apples and pears.
While buying a share may seem expensive, Turk explains the sense in the CSA system: “On a pragmatic level, the $519 share is a modest investment for 24 weeks of certified organic, fresh produce… On an idealistic level, for a modest investment, we are supporting family-owned farms in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, and practicing a locally-grown agenda.”
Those interested in CSA can email site administrators Ellen Deixler and Mark Turk at email@example.com or mturk64@ msn.com, or visit www.stoneledge farmny.com.