Summer vegetables may seem a long way away, but to guarantee sustainably grown, local produce at a good price in the warmer months, it’s a good idea to act now.
For some that might mean whiling away the hours over seed catalogues and designing a better heat lamp windowsill contraption for tomato seedlings, but if backyard gardening isn’t for you (or like me, you give it a valiant effort every damn year but don’t manage to harvest much of anything except garlic from your shady garden), you’ll be glad to know that there are still a few shares left at Restoration Farm for the summer season
Founded in 2007 by husband-and-wife team Daniel Holmes and Caroline Fanning, Restoration Farm is a five-acre farm on land leased from Nassau County at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a living history museum that recreates 19th century life on Long Island.
Restoration Farm is celebrating its tenth season of CSA (community supported agriculture) which, for the uninitiated, means that members pay upfront for a season’s worth of produce, giving the growers some capital to invest before actual planting begins and sharing in the inherent uncertainties of a growing season that depends on Mother Nature as well as human effort. During the growing season, members pick up their share each week.
My family has been with Restoration Farm for eight years and before that with Caroline and Dan at another farm, so I can vouch for their ability to produce a wide variety of high-quality vegetables from early June through October. And if you are concerned about pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers in your food, well, there’s none of that at Restoration.
“We rely on crop rotation cover-cropping and composting,” says Caroline Fanning. “We are really transparent and do everything right in front of our customers.” In fact, unlike many of the pick-up CSA services, at Restoration Farm members get right in the action, packing their own veggies, cutting their own herbs, picking their own strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, and sometimes volunteering in the fields.
“This is a real farm experience,” says Caroline. “Members get engaged with the farmers and with other CSA members.”
Fun events include the season opener with live music, farm tours and a plant sale (which might make you rethink troubling yourself with the heating contraption for those seedlings when they are so good and hardy and easy to buy) and occasional workshops. Other bonuses available are egg shares from Makinajian Poultry Farm in Huntington delivered to Restoration for your pick-up day, local honey for purchase and eggs from Restoration Farm chickens for purchase when available. Not ready for a weekly share? There are options for a flexible account that you fill at the beginning of the season at a discount and use as needed at the farm stand, or you can just visit the twice-weekly farm stand and buy a la carte.
If you do want a share, a full share is $1,020 (weekly pickups, June through October) and a half share is $510 (biweekly pickups, June through October). There is also a membership fee of $85 which covers pick-your-own herbs, flowers, & berries. If you split a share, both partners must pay the fee.
Shares are limited (there are about 200 member families) and first come first serve. For more information visit the Restoration Farm website. Hope to see you at the farm come spring!