Veggie lovers, rejoice.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ditmas Park Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is entering its 13th year of bringing fresh vegetables to the local community.
However, Ditmas Park CSA will make changes due to the novel coronavirus, such as new pickup routines to protect volunteers and members as the circumstances require.
The group wants to minimize person-to-person contact during pickup and will be giving out prepacked bags to all members, based on the shares they have purchased.
All members and volunteers will be required to wear masks at pickup. Volunteers will also wear disposable gloves. In order to get the prepacked bags ready, pickup will begin later in the afternoon, at 5 p.m., and last until 8 p.m. Social distancing will be enforced.
“We are really excited to be able to do the CSA, despite the challenges posed by coronavirus,” said a core group member. “These days, when people are having some degree of difficulty getting good food, to have a weekly source of farm-fresh, local vegetables is really wonderful. I have been a member since the inception of the CSA. Our farmer is amazing, and we get incredible shares each week. I love the produce. It’s incredibly fresh and flavorful, and we get so much of it. The farmer is not certified organic (which is costly), but he uses organic methods.”
The bountiful produce, which includes an array of seasonal vegetables and melons grown using traditional and sustainable methods, will be supplied by farmer Jorge Carmona of Amantai Farms in Pennsylvania.
Carmona sells at the Cortelyou Road Greenmarket on Sundays beginning in mid-May. There will be optional add-ons this season, including eggs from him and fruit that he gets from a neighboring farm.
“The produce varies as the season changes,” added the member. “We begin with lots of greens, though there are almost always some tomatoes and other veggies (maybe 9 or 10 different items each week), and as the heat of summer intensifies, we get peppers and cucumbers and zucchini, fresh heads of garlic, then melons. With fall comes an increase in root vegetables and lots of winter squash, as well as other stuff (again, at least 9 or 10 different items each week).”
As for pickup, if the group is unable to use the Flatbush-Tompkins Church location at East 19th Street and Dorchester Road, they will use a core group member’s front yard, either farther south in the Victorian Flatbush area, at East 19th Street and Avenue H, or closer to the church, on East 19th near Dorchester Road.
Pickup will take place on Tuesday, with the goal of beginning the season in mid-June.
“Because of coronavirus, we are doing distribution differently this year,” added the member. “We will be enforcing social distancing; all volunteers assisting at distribution will be wearing masks and gloves, and we will require all members picking up to wear a mask. We will prepackage each week’s share into paper bags so members will be checked in and then receive their veggies.”
Full shares, picked up weekly, will cost $850 not including any add-ons.
Partial shares picked up weekly will cost $600 and full shares picked up every other week will cost $445.
All prices include an administrative fee of $35 to cover the expenses of running the CSA. Pick-ups will take place on Tuesday, from 5-8 p.m.
The deadline for signing up is June 8. For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/view/ditmas-park-csa/home, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.