FAQ

What is a CSA?
CSA Stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA is an arrangement between a small farmer and a group of consumers who want fresher, healthier produce. Each CSA member buys a "share" before the beginning of the growing season and when the harvest begins the farmer delivers the fresh produce weekly.
Think of it like pitching in on a one year lease of a farm, you own a "share" of everything that the farm produces during the growing season, and it is delivered weekly to you. The vegetables are picked the day before distribution and are organically and locally grown. This insures that CSA members like you receive the fresh, healthy, and sustainable produce.

How much does it cost?
Our basic vegetable share in 2014 is $518 for 28 weeks of fresh, organic vegetables, plus an administration fee for the season of $30. Additional options that are available this season:

  • A fruit share is $230.
  • A herb share for $65
  • A basil share for $10 (4 large bunches).
  • Lewis Waite deliveries, our Meat,Dairy, Bread, Flour, Beans, Jam etc. partner,  are available to anyone, are ala carte, and the orders are delivered at least twice monthly June - November and once monthly December - May.

What is the administration fee?
The administration fee is used to pay for supplies for the distribution site, other fees such as the cost of banking and other unforeseen expenses. The administration fee is not used for labor costs (since the CSA is run entirely by volunteers), and does not benefit any one individual. In addition, if you cannot volunteer for at least one setup or distribution shift during the season, you will be assessed a fee of $50.

How do I pay for my share in the CSA?
Full payment or a deposit is due when you join and then you can pay with check or credit card (via Paypal); a payment plan is available. If you want to split a share, we suggest that you post your interest in sharing on Astoria's popular online forum, Astorians.com. We are currently placing all previous requests on a wait list for the 2013 season, please check back in the coming months to find out more information.

Checks may be mailed to:

Hellgate CSA
PO Box 5823
Woolsey Station
Astoria, NY 11105

What if I can't pay for the full share up front?
You can choose to make 3 payments over the season.

What other options are available for lower income members?
Hellgate CSA continues to explore various funding options to make CSA shares more affordable to lower income members. Many CSAs find ways to make a certain number of shares more affordable, and we ask Hellgate members to consider contributing to this effort.
We use contributions donated by members to subsidize a number of shares for low-income members.Your contributions are the base which  enable us to continue  fund a number of low-income shares every year. Any contribution you give will be used exclusively toward this effort. Please contact Hellgate CSA if you are a member and believe you may qualify.

How do I get my vegetables?
You pick up your vegetable share weekly, on Tuesdays, between 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at Fresh Start Organic Market (29-13 23rd Avenue) just west of 31st Street (walk through the store to the patio in the rear).
We encourage you to bring your own bags to pick up your vegetables. You may pick them up in person or let us know that someone else will be picking up for you. We encourage you to meet your CSA neighbors and be neighborly! Offer to pick up for someone or ask someone to pick up for you one week!

What does a weekly share look like?
The share usually includes 5 or 6 types of vegetables that have been harvested less than 24 hours before they reach your table. The share changes from week to week based upon what vegetables are in season and grown at the Green Thumb Farm. Here are a few examples of a typical share from the 2005 season:*

Share examples

* Note that the flower shares are no longer available.

Do I have to do anything else? YES! (Volunteering)
Our CSA is run on a volunteer basis - there are no paid employees. CSA members are required, as part of their commitment to the CSA, to sign up to volunteer for at least one shift per vegetable and/or fruit share (usually shifts last 2-3 hours). Volunteer shifts revolve around 1) setting up the distribution when shares are delivered by the farmer during late morning/early afternoon, or 2) helping run one distribution during the season. You'll sign people in, identify the produce for the week, and get a chance to meet people in your community!

Why do I have to volunteer?
Because the CSA has no paid employees, we ask that every member help when and how they can.

Where do the vegetables come from?
The Hellgate CSA has a relationship with Farmer Bill of Green Thumb Farm in Watermill, NY. Farmer Bill delivers the shares to our distribution site weekly for twenty-seven weeks, June through December. We also have a relationship with Hepworth Farm for our fruit share, and with Lewis Waite for our meat, flour, dried beans, preserves, dairy and other products. You can find more information on our farms on our About Hellgate CSA page.

What if I hate/am allergic to/don't want something?
Hate cucumbers? Eggplant? Just don't like tomato? If you have an aversion to asparagus, we suggest you leave it behind in the swap box and take an alternate item. Chances one person's unwanted Brussel sprouts and broccoli are another's delight!

Where do the leftovers go?
Hellgate CSA leftovers are donated to the Astoria location of the Ali Forney Center, a shelter for homeless LGBT youth.

What is the Hellgate? Why such a funny name?
The Hell Gate Bridge is Astoria's most beautiful landmark (ok, well we think so). Built in 1916 over the Hell Gate channel (named for its turbulent and deadly current), it was the largest steel-arch bridge in the world. The Hell Gate Bridge was last restored in 1996 when it was repainted "Hell Gate Red." More about the bridge and its colorful history can be found on its website -- http://www.hellgatebridge.org

Still have questions? Send us an e-mail and we'll try to answer your question as best as we can. Maybe we'll even add it to this page!