What is CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture is a relationship of support and commitment between a farm and a community. CSA members purchase shares of the farm’s harvest in an entire growing season before the harvest begins. They then receive a share of the harvest throughout the season, grown and delivered by a farm they know and trust to a site in their neighborhood.
Payments from members enable the farm to cover yearly costs, almost all of which are incurred before the crops are ready for harvest. Because the farmers know that their crop is sold, they can concentrate on farming the best way they can rather than on marketing, sales, and accounting.
What is Stoneledge Farm?
Stoneledge Farm is a USDA-certified organic farm in South Cairo, NY about two hours north of the city. We’ve been working with farmers Deborah and Pete Kavakos for 25 years; their son Peter and his wife Candice have now taken over. The Kavakoses grow more than 50 different crops and deliver to over 20 sites in New York City, Westchester, and Connecticut. To learn more about the farm, visit their website
For information specific to Yorkville CSA, INCLUDING PRICING:
What is Yorkville CSA?
Yorkville CSA is a group of about 150 families and individuals who purchase shares in Stoneledge Farm; we’ve been doing it since 1998. Our group is 100% volunteer-run; no one is paid, though some of us receive all or part of shares for free.
Where do we pick up?
Church of the Epiphany, corner of 74th and York; we set up on the York Avenue side. If it rains hard, we go inside, through the church vestibule on 74th. We’re not part of the church; they generously allow us to use their facility and store our supplies in their courtyard.
As some of you may have heard, Church of the Epiphany is moving sometime in fall 2021 The building on York has been sold to Weill-Cornell and the Epiphany Congregation is moving to the soon-to-be rehabbed Jan Hus building on First and 74th. We’re going to move with them. It might be a bit chaotic for a week or two but we’ll settle in quickly.
When do we pick up?
Official time is Tuesday, 4-7 pm. But last year, we found that the truck arrived early and we moved the opening time to 3 pm—we expect that we’ll be able to do that again this year
The 7 pm closing time is strict; the church has to be locked by 7:15 and we have to get the site broken down by then. We do try to pack some extra shares for latecomers so that they can pick up until we leave.
When is the first week?
The first delivery is scheduled for June 8; there have been a few times when bad weather in the spring delays the opening. A few weeks before the first delivery, we’ll email you and ask you to confirm that you know the opening date; if you don’t respond to the email, we’ll call you.
The season runs for 24 weeks and ends on November 16, the week before Thanksgiving.
Are we required to help run the site?
No volunteering is required; we have a group of amazing volunteers, most of them grad students from Rockefeller, Cornell-Weil, and Sloan-Kettering. They’re smart, experienced, dedicated, and truly nice. They run the site so well that I usually feel superfluous. But if you want to volunteer—some of it is a lot of fun—there is always work to do. Let me know and we’ll set it up. There are also volunteer activities outside the site—writing recipes, setting up farm trips and potlucks, informing members of the start date. If you want to be involved, we can use whatever time you can give us.
What’s in a share?
There are usually 8-10 items in the share every week. We eat with the seasons; we don’t get tomatoes in June or broccoli in August, but the tomatoes of August and the broccoli of October are delicious. The farm website has a list of the crops they grow. Our website has lists of what was in the share each week in 2020; you’ll find it here:.
How do we communicate?
We keep communication to a minimum, usually one email per month in the off-season, one per week during delivery season. During the season we try to send an email each week that includes some community information and news from members as well. Please send any info you would like us to include.
You will have phone numbers to call if you really need to, including a phone number for the farm. Remember, everyone in the city is a volunteer; and everyone at the farm is really busy.
When do we find out what’s in the share each week?
Our vegetables are harvested very close to the time they’re delivered. Even the farmers don’t know exactly what they’ll be picking until they pick it. Sometimes, a vegetable spurts up at the last minute; sometimes it slows down. We know it’s hard to plan without knowing what we’ll be getting though, so we try. Sometime over the weekend, the farmers emails a list to all the members—but things still change. Sometimes an item will be taken off the list. More often, something is added.
What if I can’t make it one week? Can I send someone to take my share for me? Can I pick up extra the following week?
You can send anyone to pick up your share. Our security system is simple: if someone asks for your share and gives us your name, we let him/her have it. We’ve never had a problem. We’ll give you an info sheet for surrogate picker-uppers.
But no, we can’t promise to hold your share and you definitely can’t pick up extra the following week. Shares that are not picked up are donated to the church’s meal program or to a food pantry. Volunteers are allowed to take a bit extra. The farm can’t replace food that has already been sent and we can’t hold it.
What if I don’t like or am allergic to something in the share? Can I take more of something else?
We plan to set up a swap box this year; you can leave something you don’t want in the swap box and take something that someone else has left. But you can’t count on finding what you want. In some cases, you will just get one item less or take it for a friend. If you can’t use many of the vegetables that we get, this probably isn’t a good idea for you.
What are “CSA extras?”
We can order additional products in two ways:
Stoneledge Farm Marketplace offers local honey and maple syrup, fair trade coffee, cooking oils, mushrooms, and bulk produce when available. Order by Friday of each week for delivery the following Tuesday. For more information:
www.stoneledge.farm (click on Marketplace; ordering will begin right before the first delivery)
Lewis Waite Farms: We can also order meat, dairy, grains, and other sustainably-raised products from a consortium of local farms. The products are delivered every second week to the site; you place your order the previous week. For more info
Lewis Waite also makes monthly deliveries to the city during the winter. Deliveries are made to a member’s apartment and those who have ordered pick up from there. I’ll send info about the next delivery in the next newsleter.
Is all the food organic?
All the vegetables grown on the farm are USDA certified organic. The fruit comes from other farms. The fruit is local, and the Kavakoses look for most sustainably-grown food they can find—but it is not organic. The mushrooms are not certified organic, but mushrooms are not grown the same way and pesticides or synthetic fertilizers are not used. The farm also offers corn shares during the summer; the corn is not organic.
How many people does a full share feed?
That’s a very tricky question; it depends how hungry you are. I’m single and take a full share. I usually finish it before the weekend—but I cook for other people and I freeze/preserve some, and I eat a lot. There are families of five that take a half share and say they have too much.
How many members are in the group?
We sell about 110 full shares; some of these are divided into half shares, split shares, and alternate-week shares. There are about 150 separate families and individuals on our roster. We usually sell out months before the season starts and could sell many more shares-–we’re limited by space in the truck.
What if bad weather or another disaster makes it impossible to deliver or harms the crop?
We all sign up with the knowledge that we are accepting the ups and downs of nature, along with the farmer. When nature cooperates (which is usually the case) crops are bountiful. Sometimes, bad weather harms a crop, but there are plenty of others that make up for it. On balance, most of us feel that we get a great deal—over 60% of our members return each year (many do not return because they leave the neighborhood). Over the past twenty-five years, there were two weeks when the farm could not deliver (once on 9/11/2001 and once right after Hurricane Sandy) and we lost several weeks of deliveries during Hurricane Irene. It’s important for members to know and understand this—even though the vast majority of the time, we get beautiful, delicious shares every week.
How do I sign up? Do I have to pay for it all at once?
Just go to the farm website and click on the “new members” button. You will be given prompts to set up an account and then to purchase shares. Once you’ve purchased a vegetable share, you will be able to add fruit, mushroom, and/or coffee shares—you can’t buy the extra shares without first buying a vegetable share. You can pay by credit, either all at once or in three installments. Or, you can click “pay by check” and mail a check to the farm.
want to pick up for you. You don’t have to let us know—just ask your surrogate to give us your name. Please give surrogates all the pickup instructions.
Do I have to volunteer to run the site?
No—our dedicated volunteers are coming back. They will supervise all pickups. If you want to volunteer, let us know.
What if I come late? Can you hold my share me?
In previous years, I’ve brought shares to my building for later pickup. This year, I don’t think my building will allow it, and it’s not fair to my neighbors. We’ll see if leaving a few boxes outside near the church steps is feasible.
Can I order other products from Lewis Waite or other vendors—meat, dairy, etc.?
As of right now, Lewis Waite is not planning to make deliveries to the site; they will send orders via UPS. They are working on other solutions and we’ll keep you posted. You will be able to order from Stoneledge Marketplace–honey, maple syrup, coffee, beans, and other items.
All these boxes and labor must be a great financial burden on Stoneledge. Can I help?
At first, Stoneledge did not want to accept donations; site managers convinced them to make it easy for people to help if they wanted to—it’s totally your choice. You’ll find a link here:
The price for shares purchased after Apri““`