What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
A CSA offers the opportunity to challenge the current food system—food that is processed, packaged, synthetically fertilized, shipped across distances, and sometimes genetically modified. A CSA allows us to buy and eat food that was grown by a locally based farmer, minimally-packaged, and is grown in ways that support the health of the planet.
To join a CSA individuals or families commit in advance to buy (mostly organic) produce from a local farm over the growing season. The members’ advance payment helps to support the farmer’s season start up costs, which are usually significant. In return, produce is delivered once a week to a central pick-up location, where members rotate as volunteers to set it out for pickup. Produce that is left-over is usually given to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
A CSA is a small-scale but effective way to confront some of the global challenges of pollution, land degradation and poor nutrition. And by their nature, CSAs are platforms for strengthening community and for volunteer leadership development.
What makes Tuv Ha’Aretz a Jewish CSA?
Tuv Ha’Aretz is a national CSA program through Hazon, a Jewish environmental organization. Tuv Ha’Aretz follows the traditional CSA structure with regards to weekly vegetable delivery and a strong commitment to supporting local agriculture. And like other CSAs, Tuv Ha’Aretz works to build community and educate its members about food, nourishment, and small-scale organic agriculture.
What makes Tuv Ha’Aretz different is that it is a CSA that incorporates Jewish teachings and values into its program. The intersection of Judaism and contemporary food issues provides an exciting opportunity for learning and growth. Through Tuv Ha’Aretz members can expand their understanding of what it means for food to be kosher – food that is not only “fit” for us, but “fit” for the Earth.
What does the name Tuv Ha’Aretz mean?
The name Tuv Ha’Aretz suggests a double meaning: Tuv Ha’Aretz is both good for the land and the best of the land: good for the land because it encourages and supports small organic farmers who grow their crops using non-destructive methods on agricultural land near the city that would otherwise be threatened with development, andgood of the land because the produce–often picked the morning of or the day prior to delivery!–is fresh, green, sweet, pesticide and chemical free, healthy, beautiful and delicious.
Do you have to be a member of Forest Hills Jewish Center to join? If I’m not Jewish, can I participate in Tuv Ha’Aretz?
Tuv Ha’Aretz is open to the entire community. Though there is a small administrative fee for non-synagogue members, anyone can join. Tuv Ha’Aretz warmly welcomes both Jewish and non-Jewish members.
How do the prices of CSA, supermarkets and health-food stores compare?
One question that consistently comes up among new CSA members is, “well, is it a good deal?” In some respects, this is not the best question to ask, because purchasing a CSA share is about so much more than saving money. It’s also about supporting and enabling a local family farmer, feeding yourself and family pesticide-free food, and making food choices that help change the world. But on the other hand, how could the question not come up? Tuv Ha’Aretz member at Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side, Rande Bryzelak took the share lists from three different distribution weeks, and priced out the equivalent produce at Fresh Direct, The Food Emporium, and Fairway Market in New York City. The results he found were that the weekly price of Tuv Ha’Aretz cost less than comparable vegetables at the other supermarkets, which ranged from $24-$33 for the equivalent produce.
Where will our produce come from?
Golden Earthworm Organic Farm located on Long Island’s North Fork. The farm was started in 1996, by chef turned farmer Matthew Kurek. Today he runs the farm with his wife Maggie Wood. Golden Earthworm is a certified organic farm with 80 acres of land in active production. They primarily sell their produce through CSAs in Long Island and Queens, as well as to the public at farmers’ markets in Long Island. More information about the farm, as well as beautiful photos of the farm taken by Maggie, can be found on their website www.goldenearthworm.com. Read more about their organic farming certification and policies here: www.goldenearthworm.com/farming-practices/
Is there an option for a fruit share?
Yes, Golden Earthworm Organic Farm partners with Briermere Farms, owned by Clark McComb and his brothers, who will offer fruit shares.
Over the course of the season, the fruit share is likely to include primarily peaches and apples, along with apricots, nectarines, and a few other fruits.
Since Long Island weather conditions do not make it possible for completely organic tree-fruit to grow, Briermere is not certified organic. The tree-fruit is low-spray and responsibly grown.
A fruit share is optional. However, it is not possible to sign up for a fruit share without signing up for a vegetable share as well.
The fruit season is shorter than the vegetable season. The fruit share will be between 14 and 22 weeks, depending on availability from the farm. The overall quantity of fruit that you will receive will be the same, regardless of the length of the fruit season. You will either receive less fruit per week for more weeks, or more fruit per week for fewer weeks. The schedule will be announced in the newsletter.
What are some sample vegetables we may receive?
A SAMPLE OF THE SHARES
SPRING SHARE | Sample #1
1 bunch RED RADISHES
1/4 lb. BABY ARUGULA
1 head BOSTON LETTUCE
1 bunch BABY SALAD TURNIPS
1 bunch SPINACH
1 bunch RHUBARB
EARLY SUMMER SHARE | Sample #2
1 bunch SWISS CHARD
1 bunch TOSCANO KALE
1 head ROMAINE LETTUCE
1 pint STRAWBERRIES
1 bag BABY ARUGULA
3 pc. GARLIC SCAPES
1 pint SUGAR SNAP PEAS
1 bunch CILANTRO
2 pc. KOHLRABI
MID SUMMER SHARE | Sample #3
3lb. RED NORLAND POTATOES
1 bunch PURSLANE
3 pc. LONG GREEN PEPPERS
1 bunch CARROTS
5 pc. RED TOMATOES
1 pint CHERRY TOMATOES
1 lb. GREEN BEANS
1 pc. EGGPLANT
3 pc. ZUCCHINI
2 pc. CUCUMBERS
LATE SUMMER SHARE | Sample #4
4 pc. RED TOMATOES
1 bunch TOSCANO KALE
1 bunch CARROTS
1 head LETTUCE
1 head GREEN CABBAGE
1 bunch BROCCOLI
1 pc. CANTALOPE MELON
2 pc. ZUCCHINI
1 bunch BASIL
AUTUMN SHARE | Sample #5
1 pc. RUTABAGA
1 bunch CARROTS
1 bunch SALAD TURNIPS
1 lb FINGERLING POTATOES
1 pc. CELERY ROOT
1 bunch BEETS
1 bunch GUY LON
1 bunch KALE
1 stalk BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 pc. BUTTERNUT SQUASH
What are the dates of the CSA?
The Tuv Ha’aretz season will be 26 weeks long, from May 24th through November 15th.
What types of shares are available?
A “FULL SHARE” is the full amount picked up once a week.
According to Golden Earthworm, a “Full Share” feeds two to three people, though it can vary depending on a family’s vegetable consumption.
A “HALF SHARE” is recommended for one or two people. It is one of two options:
Option 1: You will be assigned to pick up the full amount every other week on a designated “A” or “B” week.
– OR –
Option 2: A HALF SHARE is recommended for smaller households. There are two ways to do a half share: HALF SHARE OPTION: You will be assigned to pick up the full amount EVERY OTHER WEEK on a designated “A” or “B” week. OTHER HALF SHARE OPTION: You may coordinate with another family to split a FULL SHARE on a weekly basis. One family will sign up and you and your partner coordinate who will pick up the box and how the vegetables will be divided. You can both come to the pickup and divide the box there.
What is the cost?
- FULL Vegetable Share, non-members: $555
- FULL Vegetable Share, FHJC members: $550/ EARLY BIRD $545
- HALF Vegetable Share, non-members: $285
- HALF Vegetable Share, FHJC members: $280
FULL Fruit Share: $98
Half Fruit Share: $50FRUIT
- Full fruit share – $98
- Half fruit share – $50
GRAIN, BEAN, FLOUR:
- BEAN Share: $28 / GRAIN Share: $28 / FLOUR Share: $28
When and where can I pick up my share?
Forest Hills Jewish Center Crystal Room between 5:00pm and 8:00pm on Tuesdays from May 24th through November 22nd.. If you cannot pick up your share, you may arrange for someone to pick it up for you. If that is not possible, your share will be donated to a charity.
Is volunteering for the CSA required?
Yes, your membership in this volunteer-run organization requires you to volunteer for a minimum of 1 shift. Shifts are on Tuesdays from 4:45pm to 8:15pm during the Tuv Ha’Aretz season. Volunteering consists of setting up the pickup and distributing the boxes to the members. There are other volunteer options as well.
Please make the necessary arrangements to volunteer—our organization depends on it! If, however, you have a legitimate reason why you cannot volunteer at a pick up, please indicate this on your application. You will be assigned to another job for a comparable number of hours.