Bayside Historical Society introduces summer CSA

By Tom Momberg

The Bayside Historical Society is breaking in the new season with its very first Community-Supported Agriculture program, to bring fresh organic produce to at least 50 families in the Bayside area.

CSAs, as they are called, are a partnership between a community and a farmer. Each individual or family that enrolls in the program buys a share in the CSA for an entire season.

Then, during an assigned day and time, shareholders can make weekly pickups of several pounds of fresh produce at the Fort Totten castle, averaging out to about $30 a week.

The society was initially looking for at least 50 shareholders by April 15, but there are still plenty of shares left. BHS trustee Frannie Budynek said it is a big commitment, because each shareholder has to pay for the season up front, so there has been a little uncertainty among those who have been interested.

CSA will likely run its program from the first week of June through Thanksgiving for about 26 pickups and $780 in total. That exact price is still yet to be determined, said Budynek, but the farmer’s price goes directly toward the costs associated with buying the seeds and setting up a plot for the CSA.

“We haven’t been matched with a farmer yet, but we are very close,” she said. “So we’ll have a meeting with the farmer to make a good match. Then we’ll know exactly the amount per pickup.”

But the farmer will be within 250 miles in the state of New York and Budynek said she is looking in the Hudson area for an organic farmer.

“They are the small, ma and pop, family-owned businesses,” Budynek said. “Because these are often the same farmers that grow for restaurants and farmers markets, the price (per pound of produce) really is comparable and often less than what you can get in the stores or the farmers markets.”

Budynek said the new CSA may grow in the future, but this summer will be a test run. She said the program fits within BHS’ mission to serve the community, as well as to contribute to a healthy environment and help to conserve farmland.

“We thought this would be really nice for the community, because we don’t have anything like this in the area. I know a lot of families would like some fresh organic local produce. This is helping small family-owned farms to remain small, family-owned operations,” she said.

Budynek is going to administer the CSA with fellow trustee Grace Kelly. Call 718-352-1548 and ask for one of them to express interest in joining the CSA.

Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomberg@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.