Thanks to the help of many of our friends throughout the country, we learn about some of the people, places and organizations we feature on Growing a Greener World. We knew we’d be doing an episode on community supported agricultural (CSA) co-ops this season. The challenge was in deciding on which to feature. Thanks to our friend, Laura Brandt, we discovered Honey Brook Organic Farms, New Jersey’s largest and one of the oldest certified organic CSA’s in the country.
Another challenge for this episode was in deciding what to leave out. CSAs are a fascinating concept for both the member and the farmer and when it works, it really works. In addition, there are lesser-known variations on the traditional CSA that we wanted to feature as well. With only 16 minutes to tell our story, and three different locations, we had our work cut out for us.
Our first stop was Honey Brook. Husband and wife owners, Jim Kinsel and Sherry Dudas manage their 3,000 plus member CSA like a well-oiled machine. The membership numbers are staggering, but after 20 years of practice, it’s clear they have it down to a science. What was so impressive to me during our visit to Honey Brook was the sheer amount of produce you walk away with each and every week during the growing season. Even though we weren’t even at the peak of tomato season, an average weekly haul ranges between eight and twelve pounds. Add to that the melons, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, herbs, flowers, etc and you’re easily set for the week.
Sherry tells me the average cost to belong to their CSA is about 35% of what a similar purchase would be at the grocery store; and that’s assuming you could even find it all as certified organic. Not only is it unlikely, but you can be sure anything from the store wasn’t harvested that morning, as we witnessed upon our sunrise arrival to the farm. Produce still wet with dew began filling the tables for the flood of members that would start arriving within the hour. While Sherry manages the members and organizes the store for pick-up each day, as farm manager, Jim keeps the crops growing strong and healthy. And on pick-up days, the members flood the market stand and moms with kids of all ages roam the you-pick and cutting fields to add to the bounty.
As much as I loved spending time on the farm, the real highlight for me was the lunch! You don’t have to know me long to learn that the way to my heart is through my stomach. And today, thanks to Will Mooney, the Chef and owner at The Brothers Moon, a nearby restaurant featuring local, organic cuisine, I was in heaven. In the near decade of eating lunch on the road during shooting days, this was without a doubt, the best day of eating yet. Will brought enough food to feed a crew twice our size. The only thing missing from this event was a place to take a nap after such a feast! If you’re ever in the area, Honey Brook and The Brothers Moon should be two places you just have to visit.
Martha Ollis says
Where is the csa list for local areas that you mentioned?
Joe Lamp'l says
The link is in the show notes for the episode we did on CSA’s. If you scroll down towards the bottom, you’ll find what you’re looking for: https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/episode120/
Where is my local CSA for 54457
Joe Lamp'l says
use this link and scroll down to find the link to a CSA near you: https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/episode120/
Virginia Johnson says
Hello – we are senior farmers in Silver springs Nevada with a small 2.5 acre produce farm with CSa and on-farm green market on summer Saturdays. We understand you have a comprehensive registry for people to list their farm and people to find same? Please advise us on how to register our farm. We have been serving western NV families since 1988.
JT Palauski says
show mentioned a comprehensive link to CSA farms across the country on their website. Can someone help direct me to that?
kathleen beech says
I,m a 53 year old lady who has invested everything I have in the last 3 years to turn a run down farm place into a running farm with my dream to be the groceries for 20 families on my ten acres have sheep, chickens, pigs, ducks, geese and a 84×35 foot that isn’t up yet I Ihave planted 100’s of fruiting trees and bushes Its been hard and noone believes in my dream so its good to see it actually working
Rosemary Bean says
Is there a CSA in my area? Charlevoix, MI 49720
OK Screwed up the last comment. joe, no sleeping on the job. Got ya.
Have a great day.
OK Joe: No sleeping on the job. Got ya.
Have a great sleep.
The Farm of Minnesota says
As a relatively small and new CSA owner, it is always impressive to see the heights to which these operations can be groomed! 3000 members!! Jim and Sherry have an amazing thing on their hands.
If you’re ever in the area, you should be sure to stop by and see their operation. Plus they are delightful people! Good luck to you and kudos for one more CSA!
Mike Lieberman says
I used to love my CSA when I was in NYC. Got a few people to join theirs as well. Now that I’m in LA there really isn’t a need for me to join one because of the farmers markets. Would definitely recommend them though.
I experienced that Mike when we were there for our urban homesteading show. Farmers markets abound and they were so awesome. You may know, our resident GGW chef, Nathan Lyon spends a great deal of time at his fav LA FM and we did a segment on this episode at the El Segundo FM. You’re very fortunate to have such resources in your backyard.