Our CSA produce comes from a conglomerate of amazing small, family farms in NY state with the bulk of it (vegetables and fruit) coming from Hepworth Farms. Hepworth Farms is a seventh generation family owned farm in Milton, NY on the banks of the Hudson River. The farm is lovingly run and operated by Amy Hepworth, Gail Hepworth and Gerry Greco. Hepworth's vegetables and berries are Certified Organic and they practice Integrative Pest Management when farming the rest of their fruit.
What is a CSA? A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a partnership between a city group and regional farmers. During the winter and spring, the CSA farmers sell shares in their farm's upcoming harvest to individuals, families or institutions. The share price goes toward the cost of growing and distributing a season's worth of produce and paying the farmer a living wage. By supporting the farmers, our CSA members not only get freshly picked or processed delicious food once a week at a very affordable price, they are also helping to preserve local/sustainable agriculture and farmland, and get to enjoy being part of a community of food-conscious neighbors, participate in pot-lucks, trips to the farm and other fun events. Members are required to volunteer for a minimum of 3 2 hour 'shifts' to help out at the site over the course of the season.
How much does it cost? The price for a 24 week Large Veggie share is $660 Large shares typically include 10 to 14 different items each week, generally enough for a family of 4 or a vegetarian couple. We also offer a 24 week Small Veggie share for $438 which typically equates to 1/2 the size of a large share including 8 to 11 different items and are more manageable for single person households or those who don't eat a lot of veggies. The weekly cost per share can be as low as $27.50 per week for a Large share and $18.25 per week for a Small share! This cost is much less than the cost of the same amount of food that you would purchase at your local organic grocer or farmer's market!
Please note that each week the large shares typically receive at least 1 item that the small shares do not. Because it’s sometimes difficult to divide a head of lettuce, butternut squash or the like for the small shares, we often allow small shareholders to choose between 2 similar items whereas the large share will get one of each. We find it works well, allowing the small share members the opportunity to better personalize their distribution while the large shareholders are happy because they go home with some of everything!
Where and when do we pick up our veggies each week? For the 2016 season, we will begin on in early June - likely either June 7th or 14th - and run for 24 consecutive weeks ending in mid November. Our freshly harvested produce is delivered from the farms to our distribution site in NYC, at the Church of St Paul & St Andrew, 263 W 86th St at West End Ave. Members collect their food at the site between 4:30 and 7:00 PM every Tuesday.
We also offer optional shares of fruit, pastured eggs, pasteurized non-homogenized milk, raw milk, Kosher Greek and regular yogurt, various poultry products, 100% grass-fed beef, lamb and pork products, cow and goat cheeses, artisan pasta, KOSHER milk and poultry products, and mushrooms! Yummy! Pastured turkeys are available to order for Thanksgiving.
Once the season is underway, members can have the ability to purchase a variety of other local items not available as shares on a week to week basis like honey, butter, maple syrup, pates, lamb, steaks, duck, etc.
Our Philosophy At Cream of the Crop, we work constantly to ensure that we are offering the best local produce available. What does "the best” mean? Like other CSA’s, our produce is sourced locally, but here at Cream of the Crop, we choose to work with farmers who at minimum, use sustainable farming practices. After that criteria is met, we then look for farmers that go above and beyond what is simply acceptable. Because of this, it means that a couple of our optional shares may be a bit more expensive than other CSA shares but like the saying goes, you get what you pay for!
Here are a few examples of how COTC goes above and beyond to bring our members the best produce available:
Our veggies aren’t just local they are certified organic.
Our Artisan Pasta flavors are made with only local ingredients including the wheat, so no semolina flour is used. (semolina flour is much less expensive but it isn’t grown locally in the northeast)
Our beef and lamb products are from 100% grass-fed cattle. They are never grain finished.
Year after year, COTC brings unique products to our members like artisan pastas, log grown mushrooms, raw milk etc. We also understand our community’s needs so we offer Kosher poultry and organic dairy products! All have the highest level of Kosher certification.