Do you like fresh, local, in-season vegetables at an affordable price? Then do we have a deal for you!
Fresh Food Box @ Uptown Grand Central is a food-justice initiative at our community plaza at East 125th Street & Park Avenue that sells weekly selections of produce from area farmers at the low, low price of $12 per week. Fresh Food Box participants take advantage of the cost benefits of buying in a group and enjoy the quality and variety of a Community Supported Agriculture (C.S.A.) share -- with the flexibility of week-to-week purchasing. We run year-round -- so you never, ever have to miss out on your vegetables!
Some commonly asked questions and answers:
What comes in a Fresh Food Box selection?
Each week's vegetables and fruit are selected based on what local farms are currently harvesting -- meaning greens, asparagus and berries in the spring; then corn, tomatoes and peaches in the summer; followed by collards, sweet potatoes, squash and apples in the fall and winter. Check out the GrowNYC calendar to get an idea of what may be coming.
We pick each week's items with your meal-planning in mind, so you'll always get a good mix of seasonal vegetable items, lettuce greens, cooking greens, herbs or aromatic vegetables, and fruit. Each week's mix usually includes 6-8 different varieties.
Where does the produce come from?
All of our produce comes from local farmers who sell their crops through GrowNYC's Greenmarket Co. GrowNYC is the organization that many older New Yorkers call "Greenmarket," since it has organized farmers markets across the city for more than 40 years. Greenmarket Co. is a new branch of GrowNYC that sources produce from area farmers to supply programs such as Fresh Food Box, Youthmarkets and institutions and restaurants.
All GrowNYC farmers are located within 350 miles of New York City. Some of the produce is sourced from certified organic farmers, and other items are sourced from small and mid-sized conventional farms.
In the winter, when local farms are not in production, GrowNYC sources some items from partner farms in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
How do I sign up?
Fresh Food Box takes place each Wednesday from 3-7 p.m., at the Uptown Grand Central plaza at 125th Street & Park Avenue. To sign up, just drop by or send a friend. Sign up one week, then get your bag of produce the next!
Can I get a bag the same day that I sign up?
Fresh Food Box functions like a buying club -- i.e., produce is purchased for each week using money collected from sign-ups the previous week. Most people who are picking up a bag each week have signed up for that bag the week before. However, we do order a number of extra bags to sell the "day of," and each week we sell those "day of" bags until they run out. If you want a "day-of" bag, come early -- they sell out fast!
How much does it cost? What types of payments do you accept?
The basic Fresh Food Box selection is $12. We accept cash, check, credit, EBT/SNAP (food stamps), Greenmarket Bucks & Health Bucks.
Do you sell anything in addition to vegetables?
Yes! We've also got pasture-raised eggs from Handsome Brook Farm ($4), honey from Tremblay Apiaries ($6), Greenmarket's Bronx Hot Sauce ($6), sunflower oil from Full Sun ($6.50) and maple syrup from Platte Creek Maple Farm ($20). The maple syrup is Grade A Very Dark (the rich variety formerly classified as "Grade B").
Over the winter, we also sell fresh breads baked by East Harlem's own Hot Bread Kitchen.
What if I don't know what to do with one of the items? And what is a "Greenmarket Buck" and "Health Buck?"
Have no fear! Each week you can look forward to recipe demonstrations at the plaza from our friends at Learn It Grow It Eat It. You'll get to sample our recipe of the week and ask questions -- and if you win the nutrition quiz, you may just get a $2 Greenmarket Buck coupon to use toward your next purchase! We'll also always have a printed newsletter and recipes that you can take home with you.
In the summer and fall, we also partner with the Farm To Preschool program at the Association to Benefit Children on East 126th Street near Park Avenue. Farm To Preschool also does outdoor public cooking demonstrations on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. using Fresh Food Box produce. If you participate in a cooking demonstration at the Farm To Preschool tent, you can earn a $2 Health Buck coupon that you can also apply to Fresh Food Box purchases.
What's that "Buy Two, Get Two" deal?
Thanks to support from the Fortune Society, we are able to offer a "Buy One, Get One" deal to anyone paying with an EBT/SNAP (food stamp) card. Pay for one bag with your EBT card, and then you can schedule the dates you want to pick up two bags for you and your family. Either get both bags at once or distribute them over a longer pick-up period. Since our site runs year-round, that's a lot of dates to choose from!
I can’t pick up my bag! Can someone else pick up for me?
Yes! Tell a friend or family member to come to the site to pick up your produce; all they need to do is give your name. If you want them to sign you up for the following week, make sure they understand that they have to order and pay for you.
What happens to produce that is not distributed?
Produce not picked up will be donated to a local nonprofit or food pantry. Recent recipients include Picture the Homeless and the food pantry at Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church.
I love Fresh Food Box and now I have lots of vegetable peels. Help!
Have no fear: As of July 2016, we have added a GrowNYC Compost tent and now can accept your food scraps for recycling. Simply keep your scraps in the fridge or freezer, then bring them back each week to dump in the compost bin. For more information on GrowNYC Compost, click here.
Who can participate?
Everyone! Everyone is welcome.
How can I help?
Spread the word! If you would like to volunteer any Wednesday, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I have a question?
Contact us at email@example.com.