Farm fresh eggs

What is a CSA?
A CSA is a community partnership with one or more farms that supply shareholders with a weekly assortment of fresh, in-season produce and other regional farm products.  Members purchase CSA shares in the winter and early spring. Because there is no middleman, the full purchase price goes directly to the farm. The advance capital allows the farmer to purchase seeds, hire labor, and start farming without relying on high interest loans.

The CSA is run by and for our members

On the city-side, CSA members  handle the administration tasks required to operate smoothly: collecting payments on behalf of the farm, working shifts at distribution, planning the annual farm trip and publishing the weekly newsletter — so our farmers can focus on doing what they do best — farming!

The Turtle Bay CSA is not a “service” — we are run by and for our members, who work together to keep our unique produce distribution channel functioning year after year.

Visiting the farm


What does CSA membership entail?
A CSA involves some responsibility on the shareholder’s part – to pay upfront for the food, pick up products on the assigned day and share in the inherent risk of a farm’s growing season (such as poor weather, crop failure, and early frost) as well as the season’s bounty.  Our CSA also requires that members contribute at least 2 hours of time to the community over the course of the season. Because we operate entirely on members’ labor, your commitment to participate fully is vital.


Distribution at the YMCA

What is the work shift requirement?
Just two hours! Each share must commit to work one 2-hour shift at distribution. The requirement is per membership. A single person with one share must do a shift, just like two neighbors splitting a share are responsible to send one person to do a shift.  If you only order poultry or eggs and no veggies you are still required to work a shift.

Making new friends at distribution

The early shift is from 4:30PM-6:30PM, and the late shift is from 6:15PM-8:15PM.  If we have more members than we need to fill each shift, we may offer alternative ways to fulfill your work shift commitment, such as organizing an event (potluck, happy hour, cooking demo, etc.), writing an article for the Newsletter, or proposing another way to contribute.

The work shift is fun and easy!

The work shift is not optional — we are a community and rely on the participation of all members.  Please carefully consider whether you will be able to contribute 2 hours of your time before committing to join the CSA.


When and where do I pick up the share?  
Pick up is Tuesdays from 5-8PM at the Vanderbilt YMCA, 2nd Floor (244 E 47th btwn 2nd and 3rd).


Little helpers are always welcome at distribution!

If I can’t pick up or go on vacation, do I need to let you know?
No need to let us know.  If you are on vacation, working late or for any reason can’t pick up your share, have a friend pick it up. Tell your friend which share items you have, remind them to bring bags, and they can sign in under your name. If your share is not picked up, it will be donated to Vanderbilt YMCA staff.

Picking up the share is part of your commitment

Can you hold my share for pick up on another day/time?
No. Picking up your share is part of your member commitment.  Everything that remains after 8PM is donated to Vanderbilt YMCA staff.  Your food will not go to waste if you do not pick it up.

Leftovers get donated to the YMCA


Why are leftovers donated to the YMCA?
YMCA staff perform essential functions such as loading/unloading the farm’s truck in the middle of the work day, setting up the distribution room and breaking down — tasks that in other CSAs, the members would be responsible for. We are lucky to have the Y perform these tasks, and this is one way we are able to say, “Thank you!”

Farmer Ken eating strawberries in the fields


Is the share certified organic?
Unlike a number of city CSA’s, all of the vegetables from Free Bird Farm are certified organic. Most of the fruit share is sourced from other local farms, only some of which are certified organic.  Others are low-spray orchards, such as Maynard Farms, that practice integrated pest management.  (The Northeast climate makes it nearly impossible for commercial orchards to grow fruit organically.)  We feel the fruit is as close to organic as is possible while still remaining local. Any fruit that comes from Free Bird Farm (sometimes the farm sends melons and strawberries) is certified organic.

Picking up at distribution


Can you choose your share?
 But if there’s something you don’t want, we have a swap box. If you don’t know what to do with some of the items, we have a newsletter that publishes weekly recipes and tips; members also have the opportunity to exchange tips informally at distribution and community events.

A CSA member pets a baby chick during a farm trip


Are there community events?
Yes. CSA members plan several community events over the course of the season.  Previous events have included trips to the farm, potlucks, happy hours, a book club, cocktail demonstrations using CSA fruits and veggies, Q&A sessions with our farmer, and gardening in a neighborhood park.  Coordinating a community event is another option to fulfill your work shift obligation.

The Turtle Bay CSA is part of the Just Food CSA Network

What is the admin fee for?
$5 of the $20 is donated to Just Food, for their ongoing support and our CSA’s participation in the Just Food CSA Network.  Just Food supports the development of CSAs by offering training, farmer matching, technical assistance, tools and resources to help CSAs start right and thrive.

The remaining $15 is used to purchase supplies for the CSA and community events (food/drinks, paper plates, etc.) as well as to subsidize a limited number of shares for qualifying low-income members.  Any excess funds are donated to the Vanderbilt YMCA for their annual support of our CSA.

All members contribute to help the CSA function

Who runs the CSA?
The Turtle Bay CSA is administered by volunteers from its community of members.

Please contact us at info@turtlebaycsa.com with any inquiries.