The ABCs of CSA - community supported agriculture
If you have always dreamed of owning a farm, a CSA is your chance.
CSA stands for community supported agriculture, sometimes also known as subscription farming. Shareholders pay for a share in winter or spring, before the growing season starts, and get vegetables (and sometimes fruit) every week. Sometimes it's like a home garden, with too much kale or too few tomatoes. Many CSA farms are certified organic and others use organic practices.
WHAT IT COSTS
Most shares range from $400 to more than $700 for 22 to 27 weeks, late May into October. Some farms offer half shares (pickup every other week) and fall or winter shares, too. A few already have sold out, but you may be able to get on a waiting list.
At other farms, such as Hamlet Organic Garden in Brookhaven hamlet, shareholders can pay for part of their share with work (15 hours buys a $100 discount). At Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, shareholders harvest their own shares.
Find a farm share
Manor Lane north of Route25, Jamesport, 631-722-2299
Cost: $475 for a 20-week share, running June 4 to Oct. 17; $300 half shares. This is a tiny CSA, but a few shares are still available.
Garden of Eve
Sound Avenue and Northville Turnpike, Riverhead, 631-722-8777, gardenofevefarm.com
Cost: $510 for 24 weeks ($265 half share). Fruit ($140-$260), eggs ($35-$65) and flower ($85-$155) shares also available.
Other pickups: Bayport, Roslyn and Mt. Sinai.
Golden Earthworm Farm
652 Peconic Bay Blvd., South Jamesport, 631-722-3302, goldenearthworm.com
Cost: $515-$530 for 26 weeks
Other pickups: Holbrook, Huntington, Manhasset, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Port Jefferson, Port Washington, Ridge, Rockville Centre, Sea Cliff, Smithtown, Stony Brook and Valley Stream.
Route 27, Water Mill, 631-726-1900
Cost: Averages $14-$17 a week, depending on the start date members choose.
Other pickups: East Quogue, Huntington
Hamlet Organic Garden
319 Beaver Dam Rd., Brookhaven, 631-286-7068, hamletorganicgarden.org
Cost: $575-$675 voluntary sliding scale (members pay what they can) for a full share.
Other pickups: Bay Shore and Setauket.
Quail Hill Community Farm
Deep Lane, Amagansett, 631-267-8492, peconiclandtrust.org
Cost: $390 for a 25-week share suitable for a single person ($775 for family-size share).
Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, 631-383-1050, visitrestorationfarm.com
Cost: $425 for half shares, picked up every other week.
555 Albany Ave., Amityville, 631-842-6000, homecomingearth.org
Cost: $700 ($350 for half shares). Members are asked to put in at least 15 work hours during the season or pay an additional $100.
225 Cambridge Ave., Garden City, 518-672-4465, hawthornevalleyfarm.com
Cost: $500 for vegetables, $660 for vegetables and fruit. Produce supplied by Hawthorne Valley Farm.
For more: Cheese share
Sang Lee Farms, 25180 County Rd. 48, Peconic, 631-734-7001, sangleefarms.com
Cost: $175 for 26 weeks
New this year, Sang Lee Farms is introducing cheese shares, with a mix of fresh feta, chèvre, and a variety of herbed chèvre (lemon-pepper, basil-parsley, and garlic) cheese from Catapano Dairy.
Also available: Fruit shares ($160 for 16 weeks) from Briermere Farms, as well as Sang Lee's regular 23-week vegetable share ($575 full, $345 partial).