Ramps, at Rucola CSA
What if all the difficult, somewhat inconvenient stuff about Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) disappeared? No big up-front checks, no missing out while on vacation, no mandatory volunteering, and — most importantly — no giant bags of kale when you don’t feel like eating kale soup all week.
A no-commitment CSA may sound contradictory, but Chris Muscarella, founder of just such a Brooklyn CSA, “This Batch,” is betting there are enough low-commitment Brooklynites out there to make his venture a success. The CSA is running through Rucola Brooklyn, a Northern Italian restaurant that Julian Brizzi and Henry Moynahan Rich are opening on April 28, at Dean and Bond streets in Boerum Hill.
“We are making it pretty easy for people,” Muscarella says.
Recipes and serving suggestions for each week’s haul will come from farmers and the chef at the restaurant in a weekly email. The inaugural batch of produce should be ready this week: Wild ramps picked from a secret upstate location.
The concept is simple. Sign up for the free service on the This Batch website (http://www.thisbatch.com/) and receive a weekly email with details on what’s in the upcoming week’s curated batch of produce. Those on the list can buy or not, and then gather the loot on the specified pickup day at Rucola Brooklyn.
Muscarella says individual sizes will cost $10 to $15 a batch, and family sizes will be available.
The connection to Rucola, set to open next week, isn’t accidental. Muscarella is a partner at the restaurant. Developing a produce-heavy menu has resulted in the development of relationships with area farms–spanning Pennsylvania, the Hudson River Valley and Long Island.
“We love the idea of tying it into the community and into the restaurant,” says Muscarella.
As with any new venture, the process will evolve, but Muscarella says his goal is to “create this marketplace where local farms can get to people who can’t get to them otherwise.”
Muscarella points to his growing email list as a sign that “the community aspect, knowing your food, where it comes from, but having it be easy and convenient — it’s kind of hit a nerve with a lot of people.”
More traditional Brooklyn CSAs:
Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, through Prime Meats Delikat-Essen & Provisions on Luquer Street.
Prime Meats serves as a pickup location for Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative from May through October. A full, 25-week vegetable share is $700, and half-shares are $425. A full, 20-week fruit share is $180 and must be purchased with a vegetable share. A full, 12-week community supported medicine share is $180 and must be purchased with a vegetable share. Sign up at
Cobble Hill CSA
Christ Church on Clinton Street serves as the pickup spot for the Cobble Hill CSA, which gets vegetables from Green Thumb Farm in Long Island and fruit from Wilklow Orchard in Highland, N.Y. A full vegetable share is $472.50 and runs every Tuesday from June 7 through Dec. 13, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The 27-week fruit share is $216. Flower, basil, culinary herb, heirloom tomato and cider shares are also available for additional fees. There is a $20 administrative fee. Sign up at http://www.cobblehillcsa.org/
Carroll Gardens CSA
The MTA Transit Garden at 2nd Place and Smith Street serves as the pickup spot for the Carroll Gardens CSA, which gets its vegetables from Garden of Eve on Long Island. Most of the fruit is from Briermere Farm, also on Long Island. Pickup is on Saturdays, June 11 through Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. A full 24-week vegetable share is $560.16 and a half is $294.96. A full, 24-week fruit share is $275.04 and a half-share is $150. Egg and flower share options are also available. There is a $15 administrative fee. Sign up at http://www.gardenofevefarm.com/csa_carroll.htm
For more local CSAs, check out the list at Local Harvest