Farmer Carlos Morente, of Brentwood, brings peppers from the field...

Farmer Carlos Morente, of Brentwood, brings peppers from the field to the farm stand at Thera Farms, a family-run organic farm, in Brentwood on Saturday. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Crocuses are peeking through the soil, the trees are beginning to bud--and now's the time to earmark your haul of the bounty that's coming from Long Island farms that offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs. Members of a CSA pay in advance for a portion of the harvest at a particular farm; in return, the farm provides a box of whatever it reaps that week. More than a dozen local farms will attend the second annual CSA fair in Brentwood on Saturday, March 26, and visitors can decide which farm, and which plan, is best for them.

CSAs are great for folks who want a steady and value-priced stream of local produce, and they are great for farmers because they provide much-needed capital at the beginning of the growing season. Some plans are weekly, others biweekly. Some allow you to customize your box, others include options for "add-ons" such as flowers, eggs, meat, fish or cheese. Most farms set up drop-off points throughout the Island for members’ convenience. Plan on spending $500 to $900 for the season.

The fair's 16 participating farms include Thera, Napolitano and Red Fox farms (all of which are located on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood), Garden of Eve and Herricks Lane farms in Riverhead, Goodale Farms in Jamesport, Restoration Farm in Old Bethpage, HOG (Hamlet Organic Garden) Farm in Brookhaven and Hawthorne Valley, a biodynamic farm in the Hudson Valley that also raises beef, chicken and pork.

Most CSA deliveries get underway in May, with salad greens and perhaps with asparagus. Then it’s off to the races, with spinach and strawberries in June, beans, corn, zucchini and peppers in July, tomatoes and broccoli in August, cauliflower and cabbage in September, collards and winter squash in October.

Even if you’re not interested in joining a CSA, the event holds appeal. First, the setting is the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, a convent-school-community center whose glorious 200-acre campus comprises farms, meadows, woodland, a meditation labyrinth, and stunning architecture.

Green Street Food Truck will be providing vegan / gluten-free smoothies, bowls, tacos and more; Wood Fire Pizza Truck will be plying pies: Tend Coffee will be there with brewed coffee and Shirley-roasted beans. And if all that isn’t inducement enough, Mike & Son knife-sharpening truck will be on site, so bring all your dull knives.

The CSA fair is presented by Slow Food North Shore, NOFA-NY, iEat Green and Deep Roots Farmers Market. It runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 26 (rain date March 27) at the Sisters of St. Joseph (behind Building #4), 1725 Brentwood Rd., Brentwood. Details at or contact Bahvani Jaroff at or 516-238-3616.

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