Fresh fruits and vegetables this summer – our neighborhood CSA

I’ve been wanting to rejoin a CSA for years. I loved it before I had kids and I think I’m ready for it now. I wanted to share this info with others in the neighborhood since it’s SOOO local and so easy to enjoy these fresh foods. Want to join me?


What is a CSA?

After reading this information, please scroll down to register and pay for the BJ Hazorim CSA 2012 season.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a partnership between city residents and a local farmer that allows city dwellers to enjoy fresh produce straight from the farm. When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly, from June until November, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location at B’nai Jeshurun. This enables the farmer to plan their season’s crops efficiently by planting a diversity of vegetables and harvesting without waste.


The BJ Hazorim CSA

The word “Hazorim” in Hebrew means, “the ones who sow or harvest” and comes from a passage in Psalm 126 most known for being the psalm that we sing before “Birkat Hamazon”, or the “Grace After a Meal” blessing. This psalm is traditionally said after eating a meal and encourages one to acknowledge their food. It inserts a sense of intention and awareness into eating, similar to what we hope to accomplish as a CSA. We hope we can move our members to take one step closer to becoming a “harvester” by connecting with the farm from where our food comes.

BJ is excited to  join Hazon, a Jewish environmental education organization, in its network of Jewish CSAs as a way of becoming part of the growing community supported agriculture movement.



We will be working with Ken Fruehstorfer and Maryellen Driscoll, owners and farmers of Free Bird Farm. It is a small-scale, diversified farm committed to strict organic and sustainable growing practices. Located in the Mohawk Valley, they grow more than 60 varieties of vegetables and herbs and have over 15 years of farming experience.

Read a Spring update from Free Bird Farm: april ’11 letter from farm


The BJ Hazorim CSA will bring healthy local food to our neighborhood, support organic and sustainable agriculture, build community, and make our city a great place to live! We respect for the cycles, blessings and benefits of naturally grown food and honor ourselves, our farmers, and our farm workers. We will to contribute to the fight against hunger by donating our extra food to those in need. We hope that connecting to the land will teach us that joyful and communal eating is a part of healthy living and growing.



Payment covers the entire 22 week season and is non-refundable. A full vegetable share includes 8-11 items (depending on what can be harvested) and will be enough to feed approximately four people for one week. A full egg share is one dozen and a half egg share is half a dozen.

Full Vegetable Share: $500
Half Vegetable Share: $250
Full Egg Share: $88
Half Egg Share: $48
Fruit Share: $150

Additionally, there will be a $20 mandatory membership fee for BJ Members and $30 for Non-BJ Members. This is a one-time payment to cover the costs of marketing materials, distribution tools and other operating costs.

Fruit Share

The fruit share is based on a “spend down” method of distribution. For each item in the fruit share there will be a defined price (see below). The cost of each week’s delivery will be subtracted from the total share price, continuing until the balance is reduced to zero.  The fruit share is generally 20-21 weeks long, beginning in mid-June (one or two weeks after the veggie share starts). The fruit does not come from Free Bird Farm but is sourced by them from neighboring farms upstate which are not necessarily organic. The quantity will vary from week to week depending on the availability of fruit in season. The list below provides a sense of share size and variety. Prices for the fruits in 2011 were estimated to be follows:

Apples, pears – $1.50/ lb
Yellow peaches, white nectarines, donut peaches – $2.50/ lb
Plums $4/lb
Organic strawberries $5.50/quart
Organic blueberries – $5.00/pint
Organic black raspberries $6/pint
Organic red raspberries $5/pint
Apricots, cherries, blackberries and melons may be included in the fruit share as well, depending upon availability.

Scholarship Fund

If you are in a position to give, please contribute to our scholarship fund with an additional donation on the registration page. This money will go towards shares for those who cannot purchase a share on their own.

If you would like to receive a scholarship for yourself because prices are not manageable, please contact Larissa and we will accommodate you as best as we can.

Work Shifts

Additionally, each member household is responsible for contributing two, two-hour work shifts to ensure that the distribution goes smoothly.

How to Join

Registration and Payment

Please register and pay here.

Promise Work Shifts

After you register, you will be contacted by our volunteer coordinator to sign-up for your work shifts.


Join us every Tuesday between 4:30PM and 7:30PM at 88th Street to pick-up your vegetables! Distribution begins June 12 and concludes on November 6.


“Why would a synagogue be interested in hosting one?”

The Jewish tradition has a long history of thinking about what is kosher (literally, “fit”) for us to eat. A CSA offers a chance to re-examine and potentially redefine what it means for food to be “fit” – not only for us, but for the community and the earth as well.  A CSA fosters pluralism, inter-generational connections in the Jewish community and allows members to explore contemporary food issues from a Jewish perspective.

“That sounds great, but wow, that will be too much food.”
Split it with a friend! Buy a whole share and let us know who that second person is on the form. Don’t have anyone in mind to split it with? Buy a half share and we will match you with another member. That way, you will receive half as much food and have an opportunity to meet someone new!

“How do I get my veggies?”
Pick-up is on Tuesdays from 4:30PM-7:30PM right outside B’nai Jeshrun, on 88th Street between Broadway & West End. In the event of rain, pick-up is inside the foyer. Pick-up will begin June 12 and conclude on November 6.

“What if I cannot pick up my produce every week? Could I send a family member or friend to pick it up for me?”
Absolutely! As long as they tell us on pick-up day that they are there in your name, we will be happy to allow others to come pick up for you.

“I’m going to be away for a few weeks this summer…”
Don’t worry, your veggies will not go to waste.  You can give your share to a friend, sell your extra weeks on your own, or donate it to the Judith Bernstein Lunch Program. If you know in advance which weeks you will be away, please let us know.

“What’s the ‘work shift’ all about?
To make our CSA a success, we all have to pitch in. By joining the CSA, every member or family commits to working 2 shifts at some point over the season. This is how we make pick-up day run smoothly! Members choose the days and shifts that work best for them. Shifts are on Tuesdays from either 4PM-6PM or 6PM-8PM. All members are trained ahead of time at our pre-season orientation and are always supervised by one of our core team leaders. Tasks include unloading the produce, weighing and dividing up shares, facilitating member sign-in, and cleaning up. Families can send one person or choose to come as a group to help out together. Kids are welcome to join in, too! Members are contacted in the weeks following registration with information on how to sign up for shifts online.

 “What will be in my share each week?”
The vegetables you will receive varies based on what is ready to be harvested at that time during the season. Our farmer will keep us updated on the Free Bird Farm blog with farm news, what is in the weekly shares, and sometimes a favorite recipe or storage tip. Because the produce is harvested just before it is brought to us, we usually don’t know the exact share content until the day before pickup. Take a look at the sample produce lists from last year to get an idea of what to expect.

“What if I do not like something in my share?”
Being part of a CSA is a great opportunity to try new foods! Our blog and cooking demonstrations make it really easy to learn new recipes and discover how to enjoy previous unfamiliar ingredients. If you still do not want something in your share, you can use the exchange box which runs on the honor system. Put in one item you do not want, and take out one item that you do want!

Why Join a CSA? 
Buy Local

Your support helps small local farms stay afloat and guarantees them a market for their crop.
Connect with the food you eat by meeting your farmers and exploring the farms.
Eat Well

Buy the freshest food for your family.
Explore new foods and learn to use them in your cooking!
Be Healthy

Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit.
Share healthy eating habits with your kids or junk-food addicted partner and expose them to a variety of regional produce.
Protect the Environment
Support farmers who take care of their land by growing food in ways that take care of the soil.
Cut down on the number of miles your food travels from the farm to your plate.
Build Community
Meet and work with other BJ members during work shifts or on distribution days!

More questions?

Email us!
CSA Questions or Larissa Wohl – BJ Social Action Program Assistant

Leadership team:
Susan Bodnar – Lead Coordinator
Paulette Douglas – Events Coordinator


About valeriegerstein

A former online media professional, I am home, on the Upper West Side, with my 2 gorgeous girls, Mia and Liza and their wonderful Daddy, Mark.
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