There are many joys associated with being a CSA member: the thrill of receiving a box full of farm-fresh produce, the happy challenge of figuring out what to do with it, the satisfying sense that you’re supporting local farmers. For some of us, though, there’s also a CSA-specific anxiety—something like “that awkward moment when your kitchen is suddenly overtaken by 10 pounds of bok choy and you’re about to go away on vacation.”
The Farm Beyond on the North Fork of Long Island—a certified organic farm rightfully renowned for its cultivation of wild edibles—is looking to change that. Now in their second season of production, the farm’s founders Melissa and Edward Henrey are launching a farm share program ($26/week, $650/season) that will allow members to customize the selection of produce they receive each week—and, yes, they’re delivering to Brooklyn.
“Let’s say you’re having a dinner party and all you want that week is a really beautiful mesclun mix with edible flowers mixed in,” says Melissa Henrey, “we can make that happen. And then someone else might come to us and say, ‘I’m doing a ratatouille; I want eggplant and zucchini.’ We can make that happen, too, and for you, our member, it’s a really high value.”
The program is a natural extension of the tiny pilot program, open to just 20 locals, that the Farm Beyond offered last year. All 20 of the original members are renewing their membership, says Melissa, leaving just 130 shares available for newcomers this year.
“This program is possible because we keep it small,” Melissa says. “We really like to spoil our shareholders and members. Having been on both sides of the transaction now—of both delivering and receiving the fruits of a CSA—we’re looking to offer people what we would want to have ourselves.”
For the Farm Beyond, though, it’s not just about what their members want; it’s about where their members want it.
“There’s a great connection between the North Fork and Brooklyn,” says Melissa. “A lot of people come out to the North Fork for the summer. Last year, people would come to the farm and say to us, ‘I’m only here for x-amount of time. I’d love if I could get this back home.’ And it just kind of dawned on us: why can’t they?”
The answer, apparently, was “no reason why not,”—because starting this May, the Farm Beyond will offer pick-up sites in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, Bushwick, Bed-Stuy and Red Hook (with specific addresses available upon sign-up).
And if the summer brings Brooklyn-based farm share members to the North Fork: no problem. Members can suspend their Brooklyn delivery and pick up their produce right on the farm.
“Our farm share program definitely isn’t a traditional CSA,” says Melissa. “We’re just trying to best serve the community we’re building. It’s really, really fun.”
For more information, or to become a member of the Farm Beyond’s farm share program, please visit their website.