Offering a Winter Share
For those that are interested in extending their CSA season, a winter share is a great way to continually get great tasting vegetables, and also a good way for CSA members to stay connected during the off-season. Not every CSA vegetable farmer provides a winter share; however, your additional product provider may continue to deliver during the off-season so it is important to ask before you search for a winter additional product provider. In the case that your vegetable farmer does not provide a winter share, see our list of winter share providers on our website or ask your vegetable farmer for suggestions. Farms offering winter shares do not always source their vegetables locally. Be sure to talk to your winter share provider about where the produce they are providing was grown.
Offering a Winter Share
There are four main ways that winter shares are distributed in New York City. The price, quantity, and duration of the season for Winter CSAs vary for each CSA and which method your Winter Share farmer decides to use.
1. Regular Distributions Through the Winter – The farmer drops off a large share of storage crops, such as root vegetables, winter squash, greens (weather permitting), and sometimes fruit (mostly apples), eggs, meat, dried herbs/peppers, and prepared foods like tomato sauce. Shares are dropped off periodically (once a month or every 3 weeks) throughout the winter.
2. Extended Season – Some vegetable farmers provide an option of extending the CSA season by a few weeks. Members receive shares similar in size to those during the CSA season, and receive vegetables that are still in season. Ask your farmer which vegetables they would provide.
3. Surplus Share – With this option, the vegetable farmer provides one large share at the end of the CSA season. The share contains storage crops and members are expected to store them properly so as to maintain an extended shelf life.
4. Frozen Shares – This share consists mostly of produce purchased from local farms throughout the season and then frozen, stored vegetables, and some fresh produce. The monthly share consists of a variety of vegetables grown throughout the summer CSA season. Produce is packaged in individual plastic bags.
Winter CSAs can be organized either by the community group or the farmer. Organizing a winter CSA is less work than a summer CSA, but some responsibilities are similar: groups are responsible for finding a distribution location and ensuring distribution goes smoothly (checking members in at distribution, ensuring the site has scales, coolers, etc). However, because there are fewer members that partake in the Winter CSA, the core group, in a sense, has less work to do in the winter time.
Winter share distribution sites are not always at the same location as the summer season distribution site. Some CSAs are able to keep their distribution location all year round. However, those that have sites that can only be used in the summer time (outdoor sites, schools, etc.) must find another distribution location for the wintertime. Confirm with your summer distribution location that it is okay to still have your CSA distribute in the winter time before making assumptions. This will avoid complications and allow you time to find a Winter CSA distribution location. If a winter share farmer provides to many different CSAs, they may have only one central distribution location for all the CSAs.
Volunteer time commitments vary depending on the CSA and method of distribution. If the farmer coordinates distribution, fewer volunteer hours may be needed and there may not be volunteer times required of members. In the case of a regular distribution throughout the winter, 1-2 members are requested to volunteer at distribution.