1. What does CSA stand for?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture
3. Why isn’t your fruit organic? What does Integrated Pest Management mean?
Weather conditions in the Northeast make growing tree fruit organically in large quantities near impossible. Though local fruit growers are not certified organic, most small, local farmers will follow good growing practices because avoiding the use of pesticides means preserving their farm land and protecting their own family from toxic materials.
To ensure safe growing practices, farmers use a method called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This method is an environmentally sensitive approach to growing fruit that reduces or eliminates the use of pesticides, while at the same time managing pest populations at an acceptable level. Potential pests that may endanger the fruit are first analyzed; strategies are then decided on the best way to deter these pests from the crop. Strategies of IPM include using mechanical trapping devices, natural predators (e.g., insects that eat other insects), insect growth regulators, and mating disruption substances (pheromones). Though IPM has no public certification, a farm’s IPM program is closely monitored by an agricultural institution, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, to ensure the most strategic and least toxic methods are being used. Many times, however, farms will not become IPM certified because the cost of certification is expensive.
Though fruit shares are grown with IPM, some products are in transition to be organic – this means they are using organic practices but have not yet received certification. (To be certified organic, a farm must be using organic practices for 3 years)
4. I am bored of getting the same fruit three weeks in a row in the beginning of the season. Why can’t we have more variety?
We are only able to provide what is seasonally available at the farms we work with. There may be a stretch of time when there is only one or two fruits available (most likely when we transition from berries to stone fruits) because not many fruits grow abundantly in the area local to New York City. Unlike vegetables, fruit is quite limited. However, more variety will be seen the further along we are into the season. In addition, produce is extremely sensitive to weather and other conditions. This year, many farms were unable to produce cherries due to intense heat and our fruit berry farmer lost its entire Tri-Star strawberry crop to the mouths of deer.
5. How come I see certain varieties of fruit or vegetables available at the farmers market or grocery store that we don’t have at the CSA?
Grocery stores purchase produce from all across the world. However, most of this produce travels for long periods of time and loses much of its flavor in this process.
At the farmers markets, the farms attending come from all over the designated “local” area – this usually means 150 miles away from New York City. This means that every farm has a different climate and the growing season will be unique to each farm. Climates can be drastically different between two farms even a few miles apart! New Jersey farms tend to be one month ahead of the season than upstate New York farms. However, patience will be rewarded!
6. Sometimes it feels like some items are less expensive at the grocery store or farmers market, why is that?
At the grocery store or places such as Fresh Direct, items labeled as “organic” are still usually imported from overseas or California. They grow organically according to the USDA, but it’s unsure the specific guidelines they follow. ”Organic” does not mean “no spray”. It is in our opinion that buying from a local farmer is advantageous, since many of the local farms are family run and a farmer would not want their children growing up around harmful pesticides. In addition, you can call or ask the farmer in person to explain their specific growing practices – there is far less anonymity when purchasing local.
At the farmers market, all the farms are local, which have the advantages as listed above. However, the majority of the farms are not organic. It’s always important to ask a farmer their growing practices if this is a concern to you. Because our farmer is organic and does not use any spray, some items may be more expensive due to the extra labor required. Feel free to ask us any questions about how much a specific item is if you are curious.
8. Will I be able to pick what I get in each share?
Each share will be pre-chosen from you with an opportunity to choose between varieties in certain cases. For example, you may be able to chose between white peaches or yellow peaches in a fruit share or between cornmeal flour and all purpose flour in a grain/bean share. However, beef and duck shares are all pre-chosen.
9. I would like a CSA at work. Do these exist?
Workplace CSAs are just sprouting up in New York City. Here’s how we can set one up for you and your business!