FAQs

Thanks for your interest in the Forest Hills CSA! We hope these FAQS answer your questions!

What is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) consists of a community of individuals who commit to supporting a local farm by purchasing its produce for an entire growing season. In the spring, CSA members buy “shares” of the farm’s yield which helps cover anticipated operation costs and pay the farmer a living wage. In return, members receive farm-fresh vegetables and fruits each week. Locally grown crops are taste better, are more nutritious, and are better for the environment because they are delivered immediately after harvesting (in contrast to produce sold in grocery stores which travels on average 1,500 miles and take two weeks to reach you).

When and where can I pick up my share?
On Tuesdays between the hours of 4 and 8pm at the Church-in-the-Gardens on Ascan Avenue. Please try to bring your own bag(s) for picking up your produce.

What happens if I don’t pick up my share?
If you’ll be away and can’t pick up your share, you may have someone else pick it up for you. If a share isn’t picked up during the distribution time, it will be donated to a local charity.

How long do your seasons last?

The main season always runs for 26 weeks from the last week in May or the first week in June until late November. We also have a winter season which will be several deliveries 3-4 weeks apart. We do not yet know the specifics of this coming winter shares.

Are the fruits and vegetables organic?
Vegetables come from Golden Earthworm Organic Farm, which is nestled on two parcels of pristine farmland on the North Fork of Long Island. Its acreage protected by a land preservation program, Golden Earthworm has 80 acres currently in production.
Fruit shares come from Briermere Farms, located just a short drive away from Golden Earthworm. Briermere produces a wide variety of tree fruit and berries. Although not certified organic, some of Briermere’s crops, including raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are grown in a way which would fulfill organic standards.

Long Island is a difficult region for tree fruit production because of the high humidity levels which contribute to fungus disease pressure, and can decimate fruit quality (and sometimes the whole tree). At Briermere Farms, insecticides and fungicides are used only when needed to produce marketable fruit. The tree fruit is sprayed with 1 or 2 synthetic insecticides and fungicides at some point typically earlier in the season. No herbicides are used underneath the trees, and on-farm produced compost from leaves is the only fertilizer/nutrient source for their fruit crops.

How much produce will I get each week?

Golden Earthworm typically provides between 6 and 10 items each week. During the summer and autumn months, boxes are much fuller than during the first few weeks in the spring.  Please see Golden Earthworm’s sample vegetable guide for further information.

Briermere Farms will keep track of the dollar amount per share as deliveries are made each week. Fruit will be delivered until the total dollar amount of the fruit share is reached.  For further information, please see the Golden Earthworm guide to fruit shares.
Can I “share” a share?
While the Forest Hills CSA does not offer half-shares, you may contact us and we’ll do our best to match you to someone else who is interested in a half share. The details of sharing the share will be left up to the individual members.

What’s involved in volunteering?
In order to keep the group running, all members need to volunteer at least six hours during the season. This mostly involves staffing the pickups each week, but can also include other activities such as administrative support.

The Core Group will approve all distribution site shifts as well as alternative volunteer arrangements.  Some members fulfill their volunteer obligation by delivering leftover produce to local charities, assisting with member communication (electronic, making telephone calls, etc.) or administrative work and organizing special events such as lectures, potluck dinners or other things appropriate and of interest to the members of the CSA.
All volunteering sign-up will be online. You will receive the link once your application is received and accepted.
 How much does a share cost?  
In 2013our prices will be: $586.04 for the vegetable share, $154 for the fruit share, and $54 for the herb share.  There will also be a tomato share offered during tomato season.

 

What other shares do you offer?
We are very pleased to have Lewis Waite Farm provide our CSA with additional products  again this year. Nancy and Alan Brown, the farmers at Lewis Waite Farm, have organized several farms near them in Washington and Delaware counties in upstate New York to deliver their products to CSAs in NYC.

Some of the things they offer:
• Pastured Poultry (Chicken, Duck, Goose and Turkey) and Eggs
• Pastured, Grass-fed & Grass-finished Beef, Lamb & Goat
• Pastured Pigs
• Cow, Goat, and Sheep Cheese, Yogurt and Kefir (raw & pasteurized)
• Maple Syrup processed by reverse osmosis
• Wildflower Honey low heat processed and raw, Jams and Sauces
• Bread, handmade & hearth-baked

You place your order by the Thursday before each delivery and pay Lewis Waite farm directly via check or PayPal. You may also place a standard order for each delivery, such as 2 dozen eggs, if you know you will always want certain staples.  Lewis Waite Farms deliveries are made on Tuesdays like your vegetable share, only not weekly.  The delivery dates will be released as soon as we have received them from Lewis Waite.Please go to www.csalewiswaitefarm.com for more information and links to participating farms. You may also call them at (518)692-3120 or (518)692-9208.

How do I get on your mailing list?

Please join our Mailing List to receive future CSA share information when it is released.

What shares will you offer in future seasons?
We can not know for sure what will be offered in the future, but it will probably be similar to current and past seasons. Here is information about our 2016 season:

General Information

Community Supported Agriculture
We started the spring of 2002. At that time we were the only Community Supported Agriculture group [CSA] in all of Queens. Our vision is to support local food production and consumption and make it accessible to all people. By building both consumer/farmer relationships and community awareness of the benefits and responsibilities of choosing fresh, seasonal, organic food, we are increasing our connection to the earth and each other.  CSA is a relationship of mutual support and commitment between farmers and members. It implies a willingness to share both the bounty from the land and some of the risks involved in the unpredictability of the harvest. Joining the CSA is the next best thing to having your own backyard garden – and your farmers do all the gardening! You get to experience the fluctuations of the season together with your farmers, and are rewarded for your up-front payment by receiving your share of the season’s bounty.

Members pay for the season before it starts, which enables our farmer to plan for the season, purchase new seed, make equipment repairs, and more. In return for paying for a share and volunteering, CSA members receive a weekly vegetable share of Golden Earthworm Organic Farm‘s harvest. Our members may also buy a fruit share, which is grown through IPM at Briermere Farm, and may also order additional products from the Lewis Waite Farm CSA Extras Program.
All Members Volunteer

Yes. Our CSA is entirely volunteer-run. All core group members pay for their shares, just as everyone else does. Some members volunteer more than the minimum requirement in order to get certain jobs done, and we gratefully appreciate those who do. For the past several years, we have a 6 hour minimum volunteer requirement for all members. Due to the new truck unloading job requested by our farmers and in the event that we have fewer than 120 members, we may need to increase the amount of the volunteering requirement this year.

To clarify, the volunteer requirement is per member unit that shares one vegetable share. Most shares are shared by two or more adults. One adult may perform all the volunteering for their share, or they may split it up however they desire. However, all adults eating the share are responsible for making sure that their share’s volunteering commitment is fulfilled. If you have extenuating circumstances, please email our volunteer co-ordinator at fhcsavolunteers@foresthillscsa.com .
Volunteer Sign-up Process  Forest Hills CSA uses VolunteerSpot, an online signup system, to schedule distribution and surplus delivery volunteers and backups. You will receive email with a link to VolunteerSpot to sign up on line. This link is generally sent 2-3 weeks before the first distribution. This email, as well as others with information about volunteering, will come from FHCSAvolunteers@foresthillscsa.com so please make sure that you have this address in your address book so it will not end up in your spam folder.
Jobs at distribution site scheduled via VolunteerSpot

POSITION TIME CREDIT
Shift supervisor
(only designated supervisors may sign up for this)
3:30pm – 8:30pm special
Early shift (experienced member) 3:30pm – 6:05pm 3 hours
Early shift (new member) 3:30pm – 6:05pm 3 hours
Early shift backup (2 positions) 3:30pm – 6:05pm 1.5 hours
Late shift (experienced member) 5:55pm – 8:30pm 3 hours
Late shift (new member) 5:55pm – 8:30pm 3 hours
Late shift backup (2 positions) 5:55pm – 8:30pm 1.5 hours
Surplus delivery 8:00 pm until delivered 1.5 hours
Surplus delivery backup 8:00 pm until delivered .75 hours
Truck unloading early afternoon, time TBD by GEOF 1 hour

Non-distribution VolunteeringWe have several non-distribution jobs. We have several members who have already committed to organizing the volunteering. If we have enough members, we can offer credit for jobs such as composting with the Compost Collective, blogging on our web site, organizing the Just Food Smackdown, organizing member events, and more. We also welcome members to do these activities without credit. We will discuss non-distribution volunteering at our pre-season meetings.
Just FoodWe are a Just Food Network CSA. Just Food is an organization that empowers and supports community leaders to advocate for and increase access to healthy, locally-grown food, especially in underserved NYC neighborhoods. They provide education and resources to CSAs and farmers and others. We donate $3 per member and Golden Earthworm donates $2 per member to Just Food.
If you would like to get on Just Food’s mailing list to receive information about Just Food programs and events, please click here
CSA SeasonThe CSA will run from May 24th through November 15th, 2016.
Distribution TimesDistribution is on Tuesdays, from 4-8PM.
Distribution LocationAt the Church-in-the-Gardens, 50 Ascan Avenue in Forest Hills.
PricesFull Paying Vegetable Share: $548.08 (GEOF receives $548)
Middle Income Vegetable Share: $411.06 (GEOF receives $548)
Low-Income Vegetable Share: $274.04 (GEOF receives $548)
Fruit Share: $96.20 (We pay GEOF $96)

The amounts for the shares are odd, because Farmigo (our online sign-up and payment system) requires that each share price be divided by the number of distributions, and charge us per distribution.

This year, we have not added on member fees because we have enough money from prior years. Member fees are used to pay for: subsidized shares, meeting room rentals, Farmigo and VolunteerSpot fees, Just Food CSA Network membership, and incidentals. Our farmers also give us one free vegetable share for every 30 shares. We use that money to help pay for subsidized shares.

Payment

This year we are using Farmigo, as we have done for the past several years.

Farmigo/Payment reminders:
  • Please use your current Farmigo account.  (Please do NOT create a new one.)
  • Please take a minute to review your routing and checking account numbers to make sure they are correct.
  • Payment is only with electronic check, as that is the cheapest payment option.
  • As we did last year, we are offering members the option to pay in two installments. With the installment plan, Farmigo will make up two echecks: one for 50%, dated the date of your registration, and the second for 50% with a post-dated check, dated April 1st, 2014.  We are very happy to be offering this option, as we know it is very helpful to many members.  Of course, members may also pay in full at registration.  The Farmigo system will do all the calculations for you, as you will see when you apply.
  • Please make sure you have sufficient funds in your checking account before you register, as well as on May 1st, if you choose the installment option.  Please double check that you have correctly typed you bank account and routing numbers. Any payments that do not go through will be charged a $15 administrative fee.  People who choose the option to pay in two installments will have half deducted immediately and half May 1st.  The second payment will be automatic.
  • If your contact information changes, please log in to your account to update it yourself, and also email info@foresthillscsa.com.
  • To log out of your Farmigo account, click on “Welcome [your name]” on the upper right hand corner and scroll down to “log out.”
  • Once you have an account, you may log on anytime at https://csa.farmigo.com/account/foresthillscsa

2016 Main Season SharesOUR VEGETABLE SHARES

Our Vegetable Farm
Our vegetables are grown on Golden Earthworm Organic Farm, which is located in Jamesport, on the North Fork of Long Island. The farm was started in 1996 by Matthew Kurek, a chef turned farmer with a passion for vegetables and for sustainable agriculture. Matthew’s wife, architect/designer Maggie Wood, joined him in 2002. Matthew and Maggie live on the farm with their two sons, Galen and Zinn. Together with a skilled and dedicated farm team, they grow over one hundred varieties of vegetables for over 2,000 CSA member families of Long Island and Queens.
Vegetable Season

Vegetables Shares are distributed every Tuesday for 26 weeks, May 24th through November 15th, 2016.

Vegetables in the share

Produce is picked fresh from the farm fields the day before distribution, boxed up, and delivered to us. This share contains 6 to 10 vegetables each week, depending on the season and availability. The “vegetable” share also includes some watermelon, and possibly also some strawberries, which are organic, as they are grown on Golden Earthworm Organic Farm. The share typically feeds a family of 3-4, but we have anywhere from 1 to 8 members who eat one share. Read last season’s newsletterssample shares and the harvest schedule to get a better idea of what’s in each week’s shares. Read vegetables guides and recipes for more on how to store and cook the vegetables that may be in your share.
Golden Earthworm’s Farming Practices  

Read more about Golden Earthworm’s farming practices.Golden Earthworm is certified organic through NOFA – NY. They have been farming using organic practices for 20 years.
Half shares

We do not offer half shares, but you may split a share with someone.
If you feel that one share is too much for you or your family, we encourage you to find someone who can split it with you. Our recommendation is for share partners to alternate picking up the full share every other week. If you prefer to divide each week’s share in half, we ask that you do so at home, and have one person pick up the whole share, as we do not have the room to keep half shares at distribution. If you do not know anyone to share with, you may post on our Facebook page to find someone.

For those who are splitting a share, all members who are involved in splitting the share are responsible for the share’s volunteering obligation. If a share partner does not fulfill volunteering responsibilities, another share partner can make up for this with extra volunteering; otherwise none of the share partners will be able to be members in future seasons. Each share is responsible for working those hours; for shares with multiple people, you are responsible for deciding amongst yourselves how the work will be divided.
Subsidized SharesLow and middle income shares are given out on an as-needed basis, to the extent that we can afford to subsidize them. Family size and income are calculated by the number of people eating the share (whether or not they are related) and those people’s total pre-tax income from all sources, not just salary. Subsidized shares are are funded by fellow members and are given out on the honor system, although the core group reserves the right to request supporting documents.

Family Size Middle Income Share
Income Less than
Low Income Share
Income less than
1 $32,000 $20,000
2 $44,000 $27,000
3 $55,000 $34,000
4 $66,000 $41,000
5 $77,000 $48,000
6 $88,000 $55,000

Vegetable Share PricesFull Paying Vegetable Share: $548.08 (GEOF receives $548)
Middle Income Vegetable Share: $411.06 (GEOF receives $548)
Low-Income Vegetable Share: $274.04 (GEOF receives $548)

Note: The amounts for the shares are not whole numbers, because Farmigo (our online sign-up and payment system) requires that each share price be divided by the number of distributions, and charge us per distribution.

OUR FRUIT SHARES

Our Fruit Farm Our fruit is grown on Briermere Farm, in Riverhead, on the North Fork of Long Island. A short drive from Golden Earthworm. The McCombe family have been farming that land since the 1960’s. They
are well known for their pies, but we get to enjoy their fruit fresh and make our own pies, if we want.
Fruit Season
Lasts for 15 weeks from July through October.
Fruit in the Share
Approximate fruit season:
End of July – mid-September: Peaches
September – November: Apples & Pears
It is primarily an Apple, Peach & Pear Share, with a few other varieties of fruit mixed in.
Our fruit share distribution is not a traditional CSA share-of-the-harvest model, but is based on the “Spend-Down Method”. With the spend-down method, CSA members pay a set amount of money at the beginning of the season. When the fruit starts to come into season (usually the first week of July), the fruit farm starts giving a reasonable weekly quantity of fruit. This may be 1 or 2 portions, depending on what’s ripe to harvest. The fruit farmer continues to deliver fruit until the original payment is spent down. This is what Briermere farm prefers.3-4 lb bag of fruit per week.

Briermere’s Farming Practices  Briermere Farm practices Integrated Pest Management, in consultation with the Cornell Cooperative Extension. The tree fruit is sprayed with insecticides and fungicides at various points through the season. To reduce the use of chemical insecticides the orchards are close monitored and other pest control measures are used, such as insect pheromone mating disruption. Herbicides have not been used in many years. However, sometimes the weeds get out of control and a rescue treatment has been considered. So far this has been avoided. Briermere Farm’s own leaf compost is the only fertilizer/nutrient source for their fruit crops. No chemical fertilizer is used.

Fruit Share Price: $96.20 (We pay GEOF $96)

note: The amounts for the shares are odd, because Farmigo (our online sign-up and payment system) requires that each share price be divided by the number of distributions, and charge us per distribution.

Our Lewis Waite Farm CSA Extras Program

What it is  The Lewis Waite Farm CSA Extras program is run by Alan and Nancy Brown, of Lewis Waite Farm. Along with Colin Brown, they raise grass-fed and grass-finished beef and pasture raised, GMO free pork on land that is Certified Organic by NOFA-NY. They partner with a number of other farms and small family-run businesses in upstate New York and Vermont to offer a wide array of products fresh from small farms. You may read more about farms and producers and their farms or operations on their website. Their deliveries are year round, but more frequently in the summer, ranging from once a month to twice a month. Each CSA member may order whatever items they like from their wide range of products. Members can also ask them to pre-select items for them in several share type packages. All FHCSA member will receive regular emails from LWF during the season with ordering information. We do not yet have the 2016 season delivery dates, but when we do, we will notify members.

LWF Offerings

  • Bread
  • Dairy (milk, cheese and yogurt from cows, goats and sheep)
  • Drinks (coffee, herbal teas, kefir, sparkling cider, and probiotic drinks)
  • Eggs
  • Frozen berries
  • Meats (beef, buffalo, chevron, chicken, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, pork, rabbit, and turkey)
  • Pantry items (apple sauce, dried beans, chutney, dried grains, energy bars, fresh ground flour, granola, herbal infusions and syrups, honey, jams and spreads, maple syrup, trail mix, mushroom products)

Membership Agreement

As a FHCSA member

  • I understand that it is my responsibility to attend one of the pre-season meetings, and to read the Members’ Handbook in its entirety before the season begins, so that I understand how distribution and the CSA works. The dates of the meetings will be emailed some time in April, along with the Members’ Handbook.
  • I understand that this is a community project and as such, I agree to fulfill the minimum volunteering requirement for the CSA set by the Core Group (which will be at least 6 hours or may be more, as decided by the core group), working at the distribution site or the equivalent, as approved by the Core Group.
  • I understand that it is my responsibility to sign up for volunteer slots on VolunteerSpot or arrange for other approved duties; otherwise, in the future I will no longer be eligible for FHCSA membership. Non-distribution volunteers must have made a detailed proposal to the core group with-in one week of the pre-season meetings. If you do not do so, it is assumed that you wish to volunteer at the distribution site and can make the scheduled times.
  • I understand that if I do not pick up my share it will be donated appropriately; I do not expect to have my share saved.
  • I agree to keep my membership account information up to date and to promptly notify info@foresthillscsa.com of any changes.
  • I understand that the CSA’s primary means of communication is via email, and I will read FHCSA emails and respond appropriately
  • If I sign up for a low or middle income share, I truthfully meet the income guidelines.
  • I understand that I am only a member when my full payment is received.
If you have any further questions, you are welcome to email info@foresthillscsa.com or call (718) 459-1037.