- What is a CSA?
- How much does it cost?
- What is the administration fee?
- How do I pay for my share in the CSA?
- What if I can’t pay for the full share up front?
- What other options are available to lower income members?
- How do I get my vegetables?
- Where does the meat/dairy come from?
- How does meat/dairy work - instructions for ordering?
- What does a weekly share look like?
- Do I have to do anything else? (Volunteering)
- Why do I have to volunteer?
- Where do the vegetables come from?
- What if I hate/am allergic to/don’t want something?
- Where do the leftovers go?
- What is the Hellgate? Why such a funny name?
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 2013 is $490 for 28 weeks of fresh, organic vegetables, plus an administration fee for the season of $30. The total cost of a basic share is around $17 per week. Additional options that have been available this season:
- A fruit share for $240.
- A herb share for $58.50.
- A basil share for $10 (4 large bunches).
- A meat/dairy share is available to anyone, 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 processing credit cards, 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:
PO Box 5823
Astoria, NY 11105
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, funding allowing, two shares for low-income members. This past year, we also applied for a grant to continue this program but were not approved. We are continuing to apply for that same grant next year as well as seeking additional grant funding options.
We envision your contributions and grants to be the base which will enable us to continue outreach and 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 who is struggling to afford your share this year, as we may have limited assistance available.
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!
Where does the meat/dairy come from?
Lewis Waite is an upstate farm that raises grass fed beef and natural pork (pastured). They have put together a collective of farms that offer extended products -- eggs, lamb, chicken, turkey, cheese -- goat and cow's milk (some raw), honey, jams, syrup, bread, dried beans, flours, etc.-- and offer delivery service to CSAs in the city once a month year round (twice a month during the summer and fall). There are so many good things in that sentence you should go read it again!
A product list is available on their website -- you'll want to read through the descriptions of all the product offerings as the product list is extensive and information specific to the production of all goods is listed next to it.
How does the meat/dairy share work?
Ordering and payment happen individually -- you'll put in an order with the farm directly, pay them, and they'll deliver to us at the CSA site at Fresh Start. Yay! Orders come frozen and packed in insulated boxes with a mid-afternoon delivery.
Lewis Waite has partnered with other local farmers to develop a larger site to place orders through that involves all of the above mentioned foodstuffs (not just pork/beef) at http://www.csapasturedmeatandpoultry.com. All ordering should happen there.
- Head to -- http://www.csapasturedmeatandpoultry.com.
- Click on CSA Member Login and Select "Astoria Hellgate" from the drop down list of CSA's.
- Hellgate CSA members have been emailed a username and password to access the meat and dairy website for the first time. If you need us to resend the password and are a current Hellgate CSA member, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you have the meat & dairy website password, use it to login the first time.
- Follow the on screen prompts to create a login.
After you create your own login, you'll use it on subsequent visits to the site in place of the temporary password. You will not be able to place an order until you've created your own login. Once you are logged in with your own username, you can page through the product lists and start making a list!
Orders must be place by the order cutoff date for distribution on the delivery date. A late fee will be accessed for orders placed after the deadline each ordering period. Please check the blog for reminders of upcoming order deadlines.
Upon placing an order, you will receive an email order acknowledgment displaying all the items ordered with estimated amount based on the average size/weight of items. If you do not get an order acknowledgment, your order was not properly placed and you should try again (or contact us for help).
If you are paying by PayPal you will not be invoiced until the order is packed. Invoices are sent out based on size/weight of items and availability (occasionally ordered items are unavailable at the time of packing in which case you will not be charged for unavailable items) usually the night before or the day of distribution. If you are paying by check, you will send your check to LWF (address provided on LWF website) made out in the amount owed to "CSA Pastured Meat and Poultry". Please mail in a timely manner, as farms count on this income.
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:*
* 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!
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!