As the saying goes, you reap what you sow. And as the name suggests, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a joint effort. Not only is it a relatively easy way to get access to tons of fresh, local products at least once a week, it’s an extremely easy way to keep the local agriculture here on the East End alive and well.
The process is simple: pick a farm, pick a share, glean majorly bountiful benefits all summer long. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved and gives these South Fork farmers a major upfront financial boost well before they’re in the throes of summertime craziness. Here’s where you can subscribe to a CSA for the soon-to-be high season to keep your localism game, and gains, strong.
367 Main St., Amagansett, 631-267-5664
With about 30 acres scattered across fields in Amagansett and East Hampton, Amber Waves heads into its 15th season of providing South Forkers with gorgeous local goods.
Led by owners Katie Baldwin and Amanda Merrow, this farm’s CSA membership offerings include two differently sized shares (small and full) along with the option to add on extras, like bread and cheese, from local purveyors as well as fresh flowers grown on the farm.
Everything from those highly sought-after summertime tomatoes to everyday kitchen staples like garlic and grains are included in CSA shares. Pick-ups are four days a week, with most shares available from Memorial Day through October. Prices for shares are as low as a couple hundred bucks to upwards of about $1,400. Click here or email [email protected] to get started.
In addition to a weekly box of produce, CSA subscribers will have access to special “pick-your-own” areas of the field when your membership is active. Pick-your-own fields are expected to be open by mid-July. CSA members will also receive a 10 percent discount at the Amber Waves Market. The market includes a café and full-service kitchen, serving up meals with freshly harvested ingredients a mere few steps away. Truly a field-to-plate experience.
829 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 631-726-1900
Situated directly on Route 27, Green Thumb’s been run by the Halsey family since the 1970s. Certified organic through the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York since 1989, multi-generational Green Thumb Farm grows over 500 different varieties of produce, herbs and flowers on about 100 acres of farmland. Green Thumb offers both spring and summer CSA subscriptions. For $145, the spring CSA runs for six weeks beginning April 29th. Items are pre-selected and packed for members with pick-up on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m..
For summer CSAs, its $525 for 25 weeks beginning on June 6th. Members pay in and can then personally select $20 worth of produce, flowers and plants each week at the Water Mill farmstand, with the opportunity to save an additional 10 percent each week. Pick-ups can be any day of the week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Among the perfectly pretty produce available at Green Thumb, there’s also products from Southampton Soap Co., baked goods from Junda’s and Tate’s, cheese from Mecox Bay Dairy and Catapano Farm, and organic coffee roasted by Tend Coffee in Shirley.
80 N. Ferry Road, Shelter Island, 631-749-0626
The multi-use historic Sylvester Manor Educational Farm includes 200-plus acres on Shelter Island. Since their CSA began in 2009, it has expanded to include over 150 families, with a portion of shares donated to local food pantries.
The Manor’s CSA subscriptions run for 21 weeks (mid June through Halloween) and cost about $30 a week. With a base cost of $635, this year’s shares are slated to feature flowers, fruit, a rotation of vegetables and unlimited herbs. These include but aren’t limited to dark leafy greens, cucumbers, blackberries, eggplant and turnips. In addition, the Manor will also feature shares for pork, eggs and bread.
Although it’s encouraged to pay more than the base cost, Sylvester Manor has a sliding scale model to help better accommodate more participants. Pick-ups are designed “market style” and are first come, first served. Weekly share contents will be laid out with instructions so members can select the produce themselves behind the farmstand on Manwaring Road on Saturdays beginning in the middle of June. Email [email protected] for more information.
660 Old Stone Hwy., Amagansett, 631-267-8492
This Amagansett-based community farm is the OG. As one of the original CSA farms in the country, it’s grown to 35 acres since it was established in 1990 and serves over 250 families each year. As a stewardship project of the Peconic Land Trust, it not only provides residents and visitors with pristine produce, it continues to operate as the location for educational and recreational events put on by the Trust throughout the year.
Summer CSA pickups start in June and continue through October. “Single” shares are for one-person households, “Family” shares are for two or more households, while “Box” shares contain eight to 14 items, averaging enough food for three or four people per week. Prices range from about $300 to over $1,600.
For the single and family share options, participants are welcome to go to the farm up to two days a week and physically pick what they want straight from the fields, with a bonus of unlimited flowers.
“Quail Hill is a little different than most other places,” says Yvette Salsedo, vice president of Peconic Land Trust. “I don’t know of many places that do a harvest share.”
Additionally, the folks at Quail Hill are offering CSA shares on a sliding scale, allowing more people to participate from a variety of different incomes.
Can’t afford a set share price? The folks at Quail Hill will work with you. Shoot an email to the farm’s director, Layton Guenther, [email protected]. They’ll hook you up.
293 Town Lane, Amagansett, 631-267-5635
Founded by Alex Balsam in 2003, Balsam Farms operates out of its Amagansett farm stand, offering vegetables, herbs, local baked goods, dairy, meat and ready-to-eat foods. They grow hundreds of different varieties of produce during the season, starting with spring asparagus and snap peas, moving into summer tomatoes and that oh-so-delicious corn.
For all their crops the farmers at Balsam use grow methods approved for production by the Organic Materials Review Institute. They’ve also partnered with Briermere Farms in Riverhead as well as The Milk Pail in Water Mill, providing its visitors and members with some of the East End’s finest seasonal fruits.
Summer season CSAs at this farm go from May until September or November, depending on which option participants choose. With pick-ups at their Amagansett-based farmstand or Montauk market (662 Montauk Hwy.) locations, weekly subscriptions range from $570 to about $1,000 for full shares. Partial shares are designed for individuals or smaller families and range from $400 to just over $700. Click here to subscribe. Sign up by March 31st and receive a Balsam Farms canvas bag. They also deliver on Fridays to locations east of the Shinnecock Canal.
698 Main Street, Sagaponack, 631-537-0070
Sixth generation Sagaponack farmer Marilee Foster’s efforts are no small potatoes. For decades now, the Foster family has been the name associated with locally grown spuds, harvesting their 200 plus acres year after year.
Marilee’s Farmstand offers CSA programs beginning April 14th, typically running between 10 and 15 weeks. Each week, participants can enjoy a basket containing $50 worth of assorted veggies, designed for a family of four. Customers can buy for the full season ahead of time, where they will get the perk of a week for free, or can do it on a week-by-week basis. Pick-ups are every Friday and Saturday, with delivery between Southampton and East Hampton villages. Got questions? Email [email protected].