So, we’ve been trying to join a neighborhood CSA ever since moving in together; we didn’t succeed until now because we never managed to get off the waiting list to buy a share. Brooklyn takes its community-supported agriculture seriously, and shares get snapped up almost immediately.
The solution presented itself when Anthony joined up with some other people in the neighborhood to start a new CSA, which they’ve named the Prospect Park CSA. Prospect Park CSA members will receive a share of produce grown at Windflower Farms in upstate New York.
Last weekend, CSA core members Anthony, Elena, and Becca went upstate for a weekend visit to Windflower Farms, and I was lucky enough to be able to tag along as well.
Windflower Farms is a small (38 acres) family farm near Saratoga Springs, NY and the Vermont border. Owned by Ted and Jan Blomgren, the farm produces a range of organic vegetables, fruits, and flowers. It’s a four hour drive from the city, though we managed to add another hour or so by getting hopelessly lost on the winding rural roads, arriving at the farm very late on Friday night.
The next morning, after meeting the Blomgren family (Ted, Jan, and their two teenaged sons Nate and Jake), Ted took us for a tour of the family farm.
The beginning of April is still too early in upstate New York for much to be growing (the last of winter’s snow cover had only recently melted). However, we did see a few shoots of garlic popping out of the ground:
Ted and Jan then put us to work in the greenhouse transplanting flower and pepper seedlings into larger beds.
Ted helped too. A Cornell agronomy researcher with deep roots in the sustainable agriculture and rural community development movements, I took advantage of working next to Ted to pepper him with questions about agricultural policy, sustainable farming, and the economics of conventional vs. organic farming.
After lunch, Ted and Jan took us on a hike up a nearby hill, where we took in views of the farm and the surrounding Taconic Hills farm country.
In the evening, the Blomgrens invited some of their farm workers over for a potluck. We ate, drank homebrewed beer, played cards, and generally made merry.
The Blomgrens are an amazing family, and their warm hospitality made me genuinely sad to leave for Brooklyn early Sunday morning.
After visiting Windflower, I am even more excited to purchase our farm share and eat their produce for the rest of the year.
I should mention another awesome aspect of the Prospect Park CSA: the graduated pricing scheme. Members pay according to household income, which means that the CSA can subsidize below-cost shares for low-income community members, and the CSA is set up to accept food stamps.
If you live in the Prospect Park/Crown Heights area and are interested in joining, sign up on the website. From past experience, I can say that these shares will probably go very quickly.