What is a Farm Share?
A Farm Share is a way for communities to access fresh, seasonal produce from local farms. Each season, Corbin Hill makes regular deliveries of fresh vegetables and fruit to sites throughout the Bronx, Washington Heights and Harlem. Shareholders (our term for members) pay in advance to receive a selection of freshly harvested produce (a “Share”). The Farm Share is designed to meet the needs of low-income communities by offering fresh produce at affordable prices, produce that reflects the cultures and communities we serve, and flexible membership terms. However, it is open to anyone.
Where do the vegetables come from?
Corbin Hill Road Farm was founded in 2009 by a group of Harlem-based citizens (72 percent African-Americans and Latinos, and 51 percent women) who wanted to bring better vegetables and fruit to their neighborhood. The farm is located in Schoharie County (about 40 miles west of Albany), and serves as the hub of our operations and educational programming. To create your Shares, we buy produce from a growing network of farmers in and around Schoharie County. We support farms big and small — therefore contributing not only to the economic and physical health of our downstate communities, but upstate revitalization of farmland as well.
Is the produce organic?
Much of the produce we buy and all of the produce we grow is grown organically but has not been certified as such. An organic certification is a very costly process and would increase the price of our crops. When our farmers are unable to rely on a fully organic system, they use Integrated Pest Management. This means that if more than 30 percent of a crop is threatened, water-soluble chemicals such as copper (far less harmful than industrial-scale pesticides) are used to treat the plants. Email us if you’d like to know more.
Can I choose what’s in my Share?
You cannot pick what vegetables and fruit are included because the Share composition is based on what’s in season and being harvested on our farms. For a calendar of what to expect, see here. If there’s an item you’re not a fan of, we do offer a “Swap Box” at every pick-up location, which allows you to switch an item that you don’t want for another one.
Do I have to volunteer?
No, we do not have a volunteer requirement, but we always welcome a helping hand. If you are interested, send us an email.
How much produce do you get?
Our Summer Share comes in two sizes, Medium and Large. Each Share includes between 8 and 11 different types of vegetables and fruit. (Most of the items are vegetables, with fruit for snacks.) The Medium and Large Shares receive all the same items, except the Large Share receives a greater quantity. On average, the Medium Share is intended to feed 1-2 people per week, and the Large, households of 3-4.
Is it all vegetables? How about fruit?
We try to include at least one fruit item along with the vegetables in our produce Shares as soon as fruit becomes available. This could be, for example, 3 peaches in the Medium Share and 5 peaches in the Large Share. Since most fruit is ready for harvest later in the season than most vegetables are, you can expect to start seeing peaches, cantaloupes, watermelons and more in your produce Share by mid-July.
My household eats a lot of fruit! Is there any way to get more of it?
Yes! In Summer 2013, for the first time ever, we are offering the option to purchase an extra Fruit Share that will be delivered to your pick-up site along with your regular produce Share for an additional cost. To give you additional variety, this Fruit Share will consist of two fruit items per week that will generally be different than the fruit that comes in your regular produce Share. The Fruit Share will run for 20 weeks, starting July 9 (three weeks after the produce Shares begin) and will continue through our last delivery in November.
Does Corbin Hill sell eggs?
Yes! We partner with our friends at Hidden Camp Farm and Sparks Emerald Acres to offer Egg Shares that will be delivered to your pick-up site along with your regular produce Share for an additional cost. The eggs are brown and come a dozen per week. They are free of antibiotics and free of hormones, and laid by free-range chickens. We are happy to announce that, in Summer 2013, Egg Shares will be available at all our locations, and for all 23 weeks of the season.
How about meat?
For the past two Winters, we have partnered with Crem Ledge Farm and the animal husbandry program at SUNY Cobleskill to offer whole and half lambs. This Summer, for the first time ever, we will also be delivering turkeys just in time for Thanksgiving. Raised by our friends at Black Willow Pond Farm, the turkeys are cage-free Broad-Breasted Whites and are free of antibiotics and hormones. You have the option of choosing a weight of 12-18 pounds, or 19-25 pounds. Reserve yours now in our Web Store, as a limited number are available! Purchase of our Thanksgiving turkeys is open to non-Shareholders over the phone, so if you have a friend who would like one, tell them to give us a call.
That sounds like too much food for my household!
We encourage you to split a Share with a friend if you think that it is too much for you. You also have the option of putting your Share on “vacation” should your refrigerator ever get overwhelmed. See below and our Membership Terms page for more details.
That sounds like too little. What if I need more?
If you’d like even more produce than what our Medium and Large Shares include, consider buying a second Share or shopping Wholesale. In Summer 2013, for the first time ever, we are offering Wholesale buying options to all our Shareholders. Need a bushel of peaches for jam, or a peck of cucumbers for pickles? Check out our Web Store. Whenever we have produce available for Wholesale purchase, you will see it displayed. Your Wholesale order will be delivered along with your Share(s) to your pick-up site.
What should I do if I don’t know how to cook some of the produce in the Share?
We offer new recipes at every distribution. Recipes are also archived on our blog, and Shareholders often post tips on our Facebook page. In addition, when you come to pick-up, you will frequently find a Corbin Hill Community Cook on hand to offer you food tastings and hands-on tips. Community Cooks are always happy to answer questions. If you have a question between pick-ups, send us an email!
What does it cost?
For the 2013 Summer Season, the cost of produce Shares are $18/week for the Medium and $27/week for the Large. The extra Fruit Share is $6/week, and the extra Egg Share is $3.50/week. For Thanksgiving turkeys, pay a $30 deposit now, then the remainder upon delivery; the turkeys are $6.50 per pound, and you have the option of requesting the weight of your bird. For more information, see our “Join Us” page.
What is a “Money Match?”
Whenever grant funding becomes available to us, we offer a reduced-rate “Money Match” program to all Shareholders paying with SNAP (food stamps) or whose income is within 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. To apply for the “Money Match,” please see here or call our office.
How can I join?
You can either sign up online or fill out a paper membership form. In order for us to process your membership, the deadline is the Tuesday before you want to receive your first Tuesday delivery (one week in advance). To sign up online now, please see our “Join Us” page. To enroll via a paper form, please contact our office or stop by one of our sites on any distribution day during the season. If you would like to apply for the “Money Match” program, please apply here or call our office.
How should I pay?
You can pay in person with cash, check, SNAP (food stamps), or online with a debit or credit card. We offer two different payment plans: Weekly and Season-In-Full. Should you choose to pay for the season in full, you will receive a 5 percent discount on the total cost of your Share(s). Should you choose to pay weekly, you have the option to use your debit/credit card to enroll in automatic billing — so you never have to think about making your next payment! Please see our Membership Terms page for more details.
When do I pay?
We need to receive your first payment when you first register. If you choose the Weekly payment plan, we need to receive each following week’s payment by the Tuesday before the Tuesday you want to receive your next Share (one week in advance). This is because the farmers who grow our vegetables and fruit need our “pick count” (how much of what to pick) well in advance of each Tuesday’s delivery, and we need to know the number of Shareholders to include in this count. Please see our Membership Terms page for more details.
How do I pay with SNAP (food stamps)?
According to government regulations, we can accept SNAP/food stamps starting with your second payment; initial payments must be made with cash, check or debit/credit card. Please bring your SNAP card with you to your distribution site to make your second payment and payment for each week following, as we are able to process SNAP payments only in person, not online or over the phone. (The person whose name is on the SNAP card must be present.) SNAP vouchers can process a maximum of $40 at a time. When grant funding becomes available, SNAP payers are eligible for a reduced-price “Money Match.” Please see our Membership Terms page for more details.
What if I need to miss a delivery?
We know that sometimes you need to go out of town, or that life circumstances otherwise change. Corbin Hill Farm Share is different from some CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) groups because you have the option of putting your Share on “vacation.” Members are not charged or may receive credits for “vacation” weeks as long as they notify us by the Tuesday before the Tuesday that the “vacation” begins (one week in advance of delivery). Please see our Membership Terms page for more details.
What if I pay by the week and miss a payment?
If we do not receive your payment by the Tuesday before the next delivery day (one week in advance), we will assume you do not want a Share and put your account on “vacation” until your next payment is made. In other words – if you don’t pay, we don’t pick! If you know in advance that you will be unable to make a payment, please tell the Community Organizer at your site or contact our office. You can put your Share(s) on “vacation” in advance — and save both yourself and our office staff from trying to contact you! Please see our Membership Terms page for more details.
How long are your seasons?
Our 2013 Summer season offers deliveries once a week for 23 weeks, from Tuesday, June 18, to Tuesday, November 19. Our Medium and Large produce Shares and extra Egg Shares will be delivered for each of these 23 weeks, and our extra Fruit Share will be delivered for 20 weeks (starting Tuesday, July 9). Thanksgiving turkeys will be delivered on the two Tuesdays before Thanksgiving (Tuesday, November 12, and Tuesday, November 19). For more information, see our “Join Us” page and our Event Calendar. We’ll also be offering a Winter Share that will be delivered once monthly over the Winter months — stay tuned.
Can I join once a season has begun?
Absolutely! Just make sure to enroll by the Tuesday payment deadline described above so that our farmers can pick a Share for you. Please see our Membership Terms page for more details.
What if I need to quit? Do you offer refunds?
We hope you won’t drop out! But should you need to and should you have funds left in your account, refunds will be issued back to your debit/credit card (for those on automatic billing), or you will be issued a check for the amount you are owed. Refunds will be issued within one week of cancellation. Please see our Membership Terms page for more details.
When/how do I get my Share? Where do you deliver?
You can pick up your Share at any of our distribution locations in the Bronx, Washington Heights or Harlem. Take a look here for our list of locations. If your preferred site is listed as “waitlisted,” don’t worry — it will be opened either in the Fall or as soon as the minimum number of Shareholders is met. If you would like, you can enroll at an active site and then we will transfer you to the waitlisted site once it opens its doors. (In the meantime, recruit your friends! Your preferred site will open faster.)
What can I expect when I come to pick up my Share?
When you arrive at the distribution site you will be greeted by your Community Organizer (a Corbin Hill staff member) and/or your fellow Shareholders who are serving as volunteers. They will check your name on the sign-in sheet, collect your payment for the next delivery (unless you paid for the season, or online or via mail), and answer any questions about your account. New recipes and tip sheets will be available, and on some weeks, a Community Cook (another member of Corbin Hill staff) will be on hand to offer tastings and produce tips.
Do I have to bring my own bag (or cart)?
Yes. During the Summer, the produce is displayed in green bins with a sign indicating how much of each item you should take. To keep costs down and to discourage use of plastic bags, we ask that Shareholders bring their own (preferably) reusable bag to collect their produce.
What’s the “Swap Box?”
If there’s any item in your Share you don’t want, you can use the “Swap Box” to exchange it for another item. (The motto of the Swap Box is “take one, leave one”— it’s not meant to be a source of extra items.)
What happens if I miss picking up my Share? Can you save it until the next day?
If you are going to be unable to pick up one of your deliveries, you can have a friend or neighbor pick up your Share. Due to concerns about refrigeration and imposing on our distribution hosts, we cannot hold your Share at your distribution site. Don’t worry, though — the produce isn’t wasted. All leftovers are delivered to a nearby food pantry or non-profit. For a list of our sites and their affiliated donation locations, see here.
Can I start a pick-up site in my neighborhood?
Absolutely! The best way to start is to talk to people in your community and post flyers. If you can find a point person, a distribution location and get a certain minimum number of people to sign up, we can start delivering. Send us an email if you are interested — especially if you live in a Bronx, Washington Heights or Harlem neighborhood where a Corbin Hill site is not on the map!
Can I donate toward the cause?
That would be great. Thanks! To make a financial donation, please contribute through the Open Space Institute, our financial sponsor. Go to their website here, enter the amount you’d like to donate, specify “Corbin Hill” in the box where it asks for the name of the “Citizen Action group,” and then enter your personal information. Any and all funds collected will go toward our “Money Match” program, which makes Shares available to members of our community at a reduced price. For details on the “Money Match” program, see here.
Can I visit the farm?
Of course! Once you join Corbin Hill as a Shareholder, Corbin Hill Road Farm is “your” farm, and we want you to get to know it. Each year, hundreds of our Shareholders pile in buses and cars for our annual trip upstate. You’ll get tours of the land from our farmers, eat the most delicious vegetarian lunch, and get to know your fellow Shareholders. The trip is usually planned for a Saturday in late August. Be on the lookout for flyers, or check our Event Calendar to find out when we schedule this year’s. To see photos from our 2012 trip, check out our Facebook page.