Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Merchants' Gate CSA?
Why do I pay for the entire season before I receive any produce?
Who runs the Merchants' Gate CSA?
What is expected of CSA members?
How long is the harvest season?
What if I need to sell/transfer my CSA share before the end of the season?
How often will I receive produce?
How much produce will I get?
Can I split a share?
What if I cannot pick up my share?
Besides produce, what else can I get through the CSA?
How do I join? How much does it cost?
How can I get more involved in the CSA?
What/where is Merchants' Gate?
More questions?

 

What is the Merchants' Gate CSA?

We are a cooperative of community members committed to bringing seasonal, local, organic produce to the Hell's Kitchen and Lincoln Square area. We partner with Zaid Kurdieh of NOFA-NY certified Norwich Meadows Farm which has locations in Norwich, New York, approximately 3.5 hours north of New York City and Lebanon, New Jersey, approximately 1.5 hours southwest of New York City. During the harvest season, which runs approximately mid-June through mid-November, our membership receives and distributes a weekly delivery of freshly harvested produce at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Read more about community supported agriculture on the Just Food website.

In addition to supplying produce to CSAs around the city, Zaid and his crew set up stands at local Greenmarket farmers markets throughout Manhattan. Visit him on Saturdays at the Union Square Greenmarket, or Sundays at Tompkins Square (7th Street and Avenue A).

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Why do I pay for the entire season before I receive any produce?

Your advance payment helps the farmer purchase seeds and equipment for the upcoming season without having to rely on high-interest loans. Members invest in a "share" of the harvest, and accept to take on both the risks and rewards of the growing season. Your support keeps organic farmers in business, and organic produce accessible to city residents.

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Who runs the Merchants' Gate CSA?

You do! The CSA is a member-run, volunteer-based organization: we couldn't exist without your support and participation. A core group within the membership has been designated to facilitate logistics; CSA members meet and unload the produce truck, set up the site weekly, and help distribute produce and products for their fellow members. Your core group members for the Summer 2016 season are:

 

Vanessa Ip
Rima Douglas and Allie Perodeau (volunteers)
Wendy Lui (technology)

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What is expected of CSA members?

Members sign on for the entire harvest season: mid-June through mid-November. As the CSA is a community endeavor and entirely volunteer run, members must commit four to six hours of their time per season to the CSA, either by meeting and unloading the delivery truck (midday Wednesday, one-hour shifts) or working at the weekly site distributions (in two-hour shifts scheduled around distribution hours, Wednesdays 3:45 to 7:15 p.m.).

Click on the "Volunteer" tab to view the current member volunteer schedule.

Members who fail to complete their required volunteer hours by the end of the season will have future CSA membership privileges revoked.

In addition, CSA members are required to join the Merchants' Gate CSA Google Group, which is our primary means of distributing information to our members and the easiest way for members to communicate with one another. You may set your preferences to receive new messages as soon as they are posted to Group, once daily, or not at all. However, if you'd prefer not to receive any email from the Google Group, you must proactively log in to the Group once a week (at least) for information about your weekly share, and to be kept up to date on any CSA developments and announcements.

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How long is the harvest season?

Our 2016 Fall season will run for 10 weeks.

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What if I need to sell/transfer my CSA share before the end of the season?

The CSA allows shares to be transferred mid-season: members must make their own arrangements and notify the core group of the share ownership change. This ensures that we have an accurate CSA membership list and that only authorized individuals are picking up items at the site. Please note that all outstanding volunteer requirements are transferred along with shares.

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How often will I receive produce?

Members pick up their produce and optional egg and fruit shares each week on a regular distribution day at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. For Summer 2016, the distribution day is Wednesdays, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.  

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How much produce will I get?

The amount of produce received each week will vary, but typically a share will be comprised of enough organic produce to feed 1-2 people for the week. Each share contains 5-8 different items, which will vary by season. While the exact crops may change from year to year, we have prepared downloadable excel charts for each of the 20092010, 2011, and 2015 seasons' vegetable and fruit deliveries which you may review as a reference.  Also:

Early to Mid-summer: cooking greens, lettuce, corn, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, squash, radishes, fava beans, Japanese eggplant, kohlrabi, Napa cabbage, scallions, garlic scapes, cardoon

Mid-summer to Fall: tomatoes (cherry, red and green), potatoes, swiss chard, onions, beets, carrots, celery, bok choy, peppers, squash, garlic, fennel, turnips, watermelon

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Can I split a share?

Yes. It your responsibility to notify the CSA with the name and contact information of your share partner. The number of volunteer hours required remains four to six per share. You may also double a share if you are purchasing for a family (or just want more organic produce!) with the same four-to-six-hour volunteer requirement.   For those who split a share, please note that the entire contents of your share must be retrieved at one time.  We cannot hold produce for your partner to retrieve later.

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What if I cannot pick up my share?

We encourage all members to be diligent about picking up their weekly share, or to make their own alternate arrangements for a designee to pick up their shares if they will be unable to get to the site before closing time on pick-up day. Absolutely no produce or products can be held after site closing; all unclaimed produce or products are donated to John Jay College at shift's end.

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Besides produce, what else can I get through the CSA?

The Merchants' Gate CSA offers optional fruit and egg shares.

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How do I join? How much does it cost?


Registration for our Fall CSA is now open.
Fall CSA: Wednesday 9/6/17 thru 11/8/17
Payment deadline is 8/4/17

All orders must be paid in full at the time of placement and must be received on or by date.

Orders not accompanied by full payment will not be accepted. Please make check or money order payable to Merchants Gate CSA. Send signed and completed form with full payment to: Merchants Gate CSA, Ansonia Station, P.O. Box 230888, New York, NY 10023

Click to download application.

For questions regarding Summer/Fall season or Merchants Gate CSA, please send an e-mail to merchantsgatecsa@gmail.com

What is Winter CSA?

Our partnership with Norwich Meadows Farm doesn't end with the close of our Summer/Fall share. By enrolling in our Winter Share program, you can continue to receive organic produce and products throughout the Winter and Spring while supporting our farms and farmers through the lean, cold Winter months.

Winter shares are bundled differently from our Summer/Fall shares. Instead of offering supplemental subscriptions of eggs and dairy in addition to produce, we offer two types of all-in-one shares -- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian or Ominivore -- at $315 each (including CSA administration fee) for six monthly distributions from December 2010 through May 2011. Both types of shares are of roughly equal market value. There is no vegetables-only share option at this time.

Members are required to volunteer two to four hours on site during the Winter season. For your reference, we have prepared spreadsheets listing the contents of the 2008/2009 season, the 2009/2010 season and the 2010/2011 season.  We urge you to review these spreadsheets for a sense of the type and quantity of items that can be expected for our Winter share. Naturally, this is not a guarantee, but a guide.

If you are interested in a Winter share for next season, please check back in Summer 2016 for additional information.   

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How can I get more involved in the CSA?

We invite you to reach out to a core group member with your ideas and to inquire about other opportunities. We will be planning a series of community building and educational events throughout the season.

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What/where is Merchants' Gate?

Merchants' Gate is the southwest entrance to Central Park, located at the intersection of Central Park South and Central Park West, directly across from Columbus Circle.

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More questions?

Send us an email: merchantsgatecsa(at)gmail.com

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