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.

Members pick up their portion of the bounty each week at the farm or, in most cases, neighborhood drop-off points stretching from Bay Shore to Rockville Centre and Sea Cliff.

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

Biophilia

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.

Green Thumb

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).

Restoration Farmers

Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, 631-383-1050, visitrestorationfarm.com

Cost: $425 for half shares, picked up every other week.

Sophia Garden

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.

Waldorf School

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).

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