MFF Loves Hell’s Kitchen: The CSA Edition

The MFF CSA initiative is led by guest Ninja Danielle Azoulay.


As ninjas, we are constantly striving towards maximum health and hotness.  The idea that we are constantly getting better, progressing toward our ‘best self’, reverberates in our heads on repeat.  A major contributor to our health (which is scientifically proven to lead directly to hotness*) is food.  Not just any food though, whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables.  But we are ballin’ on budgets and produce, especially of the organic persuasion, can get flippin’ expensive!  What’s a veggie-loving ninja to do?

Over the past 20 years a new agriculture business model has taken hold.  It is called Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA, for short). It is a direct-to-consumer business model, and the cheapest way for you to get fresh fruits and vegetables.  Basically what happens is, at the beginning of a growing season (which is usually now-ish), consumers purchase ‘shares’ of a local farm in exchange for a weekly veggie box during the harvest season.  Farmer’s use this up-front cash (instead of getting a loan to fund their growing season, on which they would have to pay interest), in exchange for discounted food (Did someone say discounted food?!?!).  One box, or ‘share’, is usually enough to feed a family of 4 for a week.  The farmer pre-packages the produce and meets participants weekly at a neighborhood pick-up location where members can get their box.

My favorite thing about being a CSA member is eating vegetables that are so fresh they actually have a TASTE! The veggies that appear in your box are usually harvested within 24 hours of pick-up.  Considering most of the vitamins in fruits and vegetables are lost within the first 3 days of harvest, this is a MAJOR plus.  Also you get to know the person that grows your produce by name and face.

Usually CSA Farmers farm organic produce, but due to external factors (in short, the ‘organic’ label is too costly for small scale farmers to afford) their produce cannot legally be labeled this way. But, if you know your farmer, you know your food.  Small scale farmers take a great deal of pride in the food they produce.  They take the responsibility of feeding their consumers very seriously and want to provide the foundation they need for good health and nutrition. So if you have questions about your food, all you have to do is ask them!

(This is great Danielle, but can you get to the friggin’ point already?) Enter the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project. Born from an alliance between Clinton Housing Development Project, Metro Baptist Church and Metropolitan Community Church of NY, their goal was to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of Hell’s Kitchen. They are actually located around the corner from the Clubhouse and run a food pantry out of the church, feeding local hungry people.  They also grow some veggies on the roof of the church which are donated to two local food pantries. Could they BE awesomer? (Yes, just wait until you read the next paragraph.)

This is happening around the corner from the Clubhouse…cool, right?!?!

Last year this amazing group of community organizations connected with Regelio and Yesenia Bautista, who have a farm in Goshen, NY and are graduates of Grow NYC’s New Farmer Development Project.  The aim of this incredible community development project is to help immigrant farmers find land and set up a farming business. The Bautista farm provides produce to many families in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, selling their surplus in local farmer’s markets around NY.

How cute are the Baustistas?  I mean, seriously?!?!

If you are interested in participating in the Bautistas’ CSA for the 2012 growing season (and let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you be, by now?!?!), fill out this form and give it to Michael Keeler by Friday, June 15th.  Can’t eat a full box of veggies on your own?  That’s ok!  You can get a half share! If that is still too much produce, split it with a fellow ninja or donate the rest to one of the food banks that are connected to this great community network.

Veggie boxes consist of 6-8 different items each week, along with an email newsletter with recipes so you know how to prepare your new varieties of vegetables (mustard greens, anyone?!?).  You get 22 weeks of produce for an average of $22 a week for ALL of your vegetables.  That’s a steal!  Not only are you supporting your own health and hotness by eating more veg and knowing the source of your produce, you are investing in a local farmer and in the Hell’s Kitchen community.

So, happy CSA-ing fellow ninjas!  I can remember the first time I ate carrot that came right out of the ground…it was a magical experience!  I hope I have given you the knowledge to make some magic with vegetables too! **

*no its not

** Magic in this context does not equal sexytime


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