CSA shares aren't all tomatoes and potatoes. Long Island's Community Supported Agriculture programs are branching out, offering members more than a weekly crop of fresh vegetables from the farm - add-ons range from locally grown fruit and pastured poultry to organic eggs and cut flowers.
In most cases, you'll need to join the CSA's standard vegetable share to participate in the extras. But reserve early - CSA memberships often sell out before the growing season gets under way.
Sang Lee Farms' cheese share includes between 3 and 7 ounces a week of varieties such as goat cheese from Catapano Dairy in Peconic or cow's milk cheese from Mecox Bay Dairy in Bridgehampton. "The cheese you get is so absolutely fresh," says Karen Lee, co-owner of Sang Lee Farms. "They're all varieties you wouldn't usually find on your grocer's shelves." Membership in the farm's vegetable share is required ($395-$645). Contact 631-734-7001, sangleefarms.com.
Cost: $160 for 18 weeks
North Fork poultry farm Browder's Birds is partnering with three CSAs to offer members a pastured chicken share. Birds, averaging five pounds, will be cleaned, packaged and frozen. It's a healthier alternative to store-bought chickens, says owner Chris Browder. "They're outside most of their lives. They can scratch the ground and eat worms, bugs and whatever they catch." Contact 917-376-1999, e-mail email@example.com.
Cost: $125 for one bird a month, June-October
FLOWER & HERB SHARES
The Watermill-based Green Thumb Organic Farm grows its own flowers - zinnias, sunflowers, snapdragons and more. Mixed bouquets are cut weekly during the peak summer months ($70 for 10 weeks). Those who get the regular vegetable share can tack on other extras ranging from basil ($10 for four bunches), canning tomatoes ($30 a box) and fresh-cut herbs ($60 for two bunches every other week, June-November). Contact 631-726-1900, greenthumborganicfarm.com.
Garden of Eve's eggs come from free-range hens that aren't fed antibiotics or hormones. Garden of Eve also offers an organic flower share ($85-$155). For either, you'll need to join the vegetable share ($525-$540; $280-$285 for half share). Contact 631-523-6608, gardenofevefarm.com.
Cost: $65 for a half-dozen eggs for 24 weeks ($35 for 12 weeks)
At Restoration Farm in Old Bethpage, those who join the regular CSA ($850; $425 half-share) can add on an option to pick their own berries at the farm, adjacent to Old Bethpage Village Restoration. Each member's yield should include at least eight pints of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries over the season. Contact 631-842-2283, restorationfarm.com.
Cost: $40 pick-your-own, June-September
Pickup: Old Bethpage
MIXED FRUIT SHARES
A handful of CSAs offer fruit shares that include produce from local orchards and fields. Golden Earthworm's program incorporates fruit grown at neighboring Briermere Farms. "Part of belonging to a CSA is a big learning curve that you can't get [in-season] strawberries all year long," says Golden Earthworm owner Maggie Kurek. Expect berries, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears - participation in the farm's vegetable share is not necessary. Contact 631-722-3302, goldenearthworm.com.
Cost: $138 for about 16 weeks
Other CSAs: Members in Garden of Eve ($145-$270) and Sang Lee Farms ($160) can add a fruit share to their membership.
CSAS ACROSS LONG ISLAND
The following are CSAs for 2010 with contact information, prices and pickup spots.
Cost: $475 for a 20-week share starting June 3; $300 half shares.
Other pickups: Westhampton
Cost: $535-$550 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.
Cost: 2010 information not available yet.
Cost: $850 full share/$425 half-share; $40 pick-your-own berry share
Cost: $525 for vegetables, $685 for vegetables and fruit. Produce supplied by Hawthorne Valley Farm.