The 10 best CSAs in New York

Find the best community-supported agriculture (CSAs), where you can get fresh veggies, fruit and eggs from nearby farms
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Will Sable Courtney |
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If there’s one downside to living in NYC (beyond the sky-high rent), it’s that many virtues of the country—fresh air, open roads, food straight off the farm—often seem so far out of reach. Luckily, CSAs are changing that last one by connecting farmers and city residents, giving the former a steady, direct source for their products and the latter easy access to the bounty of the land. This means no more dealing with those color-coded lines at Whole Foods or other grocery stores. Much of the food CSAs provide is organic and almost all of it is from small, (fairly) local farms—so while you may pay a little more for this food than you might at Key Food, you can be sure your dollars are doing a lot more good, and your dishes are becoming a bit more delicious.

Best CSAs in New York

Photograph: Shutterstock

Chelsea CSA

Serving the area since the year 2000, Chelsea CSA believes that low-income households should be able to access farm-fresh produce as easily as the Starbucks-sipping classes do. As a result, they offer a three-tiered membership plan: low-income folks pay $405 for a 24-week vegetable share (and can pay with food stamps, too); middle-class folks pay $555 for their weekly June through November boxes of vegetables; and those with a little extra to give can pay $615 for the same, in order to sponsor the subsidized plan. No matter what you pay, each vegetable share provides enough veggies for a family of two or three for a week; there are also fruit shares available for $205 to $295, an organic mushroom share for $120 and an organic fair-trade coffee share for $126.

Volunteer Service Required: Yes (four hours/year)
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up
Pick-Up Location and Hours: The Elliott Center, 441 W 26th St, Tuesdays 4-7pm
Organic: Vegetables yes, fruit no
Frequency: Weekly

Farmigo
Photograph: Courtesy Farmigo

Farmigo

Think of Farmigo as FreshDirect meets community supported agriculture and you’ve basically got the idea. Instead of buying a share at the beginning of the growing season then receiving a predetermined assortment of produce, dairy or other foodstuffs, Farmigo users build their orders a la carte, choosing from a stunningly wide variety of farm-fresh foods through an online interface. They then pick up the food at a predetermined time and place in their neighborhood, just like a regular CSA. There are dozens of pick-up locations scattered across the five boroughs, but if there isn’t one close to you, fear not: You can start your own drop-off hub. You can order items one time, set them to arrive every week or mix and match as you see fit.

Volunteer Service Required: No
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up
Pick-up location and hours: Varies, see website for details
Organic: Select items
Frequency: Weekly

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Photograph: Shutterstock

Hebrew Institute of Riverdale CSA

The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is known for a wide variety of programs that support the community, including one of the borough’s few community supported agriculture programs. The 22 weeks of vegetables go for $535 a share, though there’s also a bi-weekly option for $270; a dozen farm-fresh eggs in your weekly CSA box costs $121 or $61 for bi-weekly; a weekly share of fruit costs $275, while a bi-weekly share goes for $140. All shares also include an added on $25 fee added to support HIR and Just Food, a CSA-organizing entity.

Volunteer Service Required: Yes, two two-hour shifts
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up
Pick-up location and hours: 3700 Henry Hudson Pkwy, Bronx; Wednesdays 5:30–7:30pm
Organic: Vegetables, yes
Frequency: Weekly

Photograph: Shutterstock

Inwood CSA

Miles north of midtown and bounded on one side by an old-growth forest, Inwood can already seem like part of the country—so why not embrace the feeling by feasting on farm-fresh foods? From June to November, pick up a vegetable share that arrives every week for $600. Add on one fruit share for a total of $805 or two fruit shares for $1,010. Since one vegetable share is enough to feed two vegetarians for a week, any of the options should be enough to keep you (figuratively) fat and (literally) happy. And for those who don’t spend the colder months hibernating, Inwood CSA also offers a bi-weekly winter share from December to February, with optional citrus and coffee share add-ons. Just make sure you get your food on time; anything unclaimed at the end of the weekly pickup is donated to local charity the Love Kitchen.

Volunteer Service Required: Yes, four hours
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up
Pick-up location and hours: Isham Park, Park Terrace East entrance; Thursdays 4:30–7pm
Organic: Yes
Frequency: Weekly, in winter bi-weekly

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Local Routes CSA
Photograph: Courtesy Local Roots CSA

Local Roots CSA

New Yorkers don’t like being told what to do and Local Roots gets that. That’s why instead of making every one of their members start with a vegetable share and add on other items from there, they let their shareholders decide what kinds of food they’d like to receive. Fruits and veggies come weekly while meats, starches, fish and dairy come bi-weekly. There are a handful of other specialty items, such as coffee and honey, that come even less frequently. They know New Yorkers aren’t too keen on commitment either, so instead of offering a single 20-plus-week schedule, they offer a choice of three 12-week seasons. Each order supplies enough food for one to two people for a 12-week season; since the seasons are shorter, the prices tend to be lower than other CSAs ($205 for mixed vegetables, $99 for assorted fruit, $70 for a dozen eggs every week). Local Roots also knows New Yorkers hate being inconvenienced, so they offer a wide variety of pick-up locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as home delivery in lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn for a small fee.

Volunteer Service Required: No
Pick-Up or Delivery: Both
Pick-up location and hours: Varies, see website
Organic: Varies, depending on items
Frequency: Varies, depending on items

Mid-Island CSA
Photograph: Courtesy Myk Jones/The Shot Factory

Mid Island CSA

Staten Island might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of agriculture, but the island was largely covered in farmland for centuries. (Don’t think you’ll have to eat eggplants grown on top of Fresh Kills landfill, though—Mid Island’s produce comes from New Jersey.) Based conveniently close to Hylan Boulevard and the Staten Island Railroad, Mid Island offers 22-week vegetable shares with 7 to 13 types of veggies for $630, and add-on 12-week fruit shares for $210 a share. There’s also a $120 fall extension for 40 pounds of hearty, storable veggies over three weeks after the regular season ends. Bonus: If you don’t want to fork over all that money up front, they offer a pay-as-you-go option.

Volunteer Service Required: Yes
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up
Pick-up location and hours: Christ Lutheran Church, 121 Cleveland Ave, Staten Island; Thursdays, 5:30–7:30pm
Organic: Yes
Frequency: Weekly

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Nextdoorganics

“One size fits all” is a great slogan for a sweatpants manufacturer, but it’s not a great policy for apportioning food to people in NYC. Some households eat a lot; some don’t eat much. Nextdoorganics gets that, so they offer multiple sizes of packages for different people. The basic produce subscription, called “Basic,” runs $20 per order. If you want more food or more variety, there’s a $30 small order, a $40 medium and a $50 large, each adding additional tasty, small-batch items. They also offer the ability to customize your packages through add-on subscriptions or one-time purchases on their website. There’s no commitment—you pay as you go—and you can choose from weekly, bi-weekly or monthly frequency. Pick-up locations are scattered around select parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan (some locations require a very small fee), and delivery is available for most of western Brooklyn, Manhattan south of 125th Street and Queens neighborhoods as far east as Forest Hills.

Volunteer Service Required: No
Pick-Up or Delivery: Both
Pick-up location and hours: Varies, see website
Organic: Varies, depending on item
Frequency: Weekly, bi-weekly or monthly

Photograph: Shutterstock

Quinciple

While many CSAs and their ilk simply give you a box full of produce and leave you to do what you will, Quinciple takes it a step further. Every week, they send you a box filled with a balanced mix of groceries—meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, fish, etc.—capable of making at least two meals for two people. Each box also contains recipes and ideas for the food inside, so even those with minimal culinary expertise can turn the contents into something delicious. If you live on the UES, UWS or below in Manhattan, or roughly along the G train in Brooklyn, they’ll deliver it to your door for $49.90 per week—but don’t discount the idea of picking it up, instead. Not only do you save a little money—it’s only $42.90 a week that way—but most pick-up locations are wine shops, making it that much easier to grab a bottle of booze to pair with your homemade meal.

Volunteer Service Required: No
Pick-Up or Delivery: Both
Pick-up location and hours: Varies, see website
Organic: Varies, depending on item
Frequency: Weekly

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Photograph: Shutterstock

Rustic Roots

Created by a husband-and-wife team out in Montauk, Rustic Roots offers a wide variety of weekly CSA share plans from June to October—everything from basic produce ($325 for the season) to the “Surf, Earth & Turf,” which adds in $50 of meat and $50 of fish per week (total sum $825 per season). They’re super-flexible when it comes to deliveries—they’ll prorate a share plan if you start part way through, and if you need to skip a week, they’ll roll that shipment over into the future. And if you don’t want to commit to a full CSA plan, they also deliver everything from bread to produce to meat a la carte. They’ll deliver anywhere in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens, as well as anywhere in Long Island. Give them your address and they’ll give you a two-hour delivery window.

Volunteer Service Required: No
Pick-Up or Delivery: Delivery
Delivery hours: Varies, see website
Organic: Yes
Frequency: Weekly

Photograph: Shutterstock

Sunnyside CSA

Deep in the heart of Queens—okay, not that deep, but sometimes Sunnyside can feel like that—lies an old-school CSA with an organic heart. All their produce is more than organic: certified organic. While they can’t certify all their fruits as organic as well, they strive to keep it as organic as possible. Their regular summer/fall produce share plan runs longer than most, stretching 26 weeks from the end of May through mid-November for $570; their fruit plan add-on stretches 16 weeks for just $152 more. There’s also a pair of five-week winter share packages—an organic root veggie plan that supplies you with more than 75 pounds of root veggies for $212, and a separate frozen summer vegetable plan for $127—and apple and apple cider add-on packages for $23 to $24 each. Plus, if you find your weekly box happens to contain a veggie you can’t stand (eww, broccoli?!?), Sunnyside CSA offers a “swap box” where you can parlay your produce with other folks who have different tastes.

Volunteer Service Required: Yes, two two-hour shifts
Pick-Up or Delivery: Pick-up
Pick-up location and hours: Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th St, Sunnyside; Thursdays 5–8pm
Organic: Yes, mostly
Frequency: Weekly

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