If you haven’t already committed to a seasonal Community Share Agriculture plan (in other words, a CSA box), there’s no better way to support local agriculture. Not only will you be helping sustain a farm by funding them up front with cash for their business, but you’ll also be treated to an array of farm-fresh goodies, which rotate with the seasons. You’ll receive items you may have bypassed in the market (hello, kohlrabi) and will be healthier for it—béchamel-smothered kale notwithstanding. We’re fortunate here on Long Island, where an agricultural culture makes CSAs and farm-fresh produce abundant. But which CSA is the right CSA for you? If you’re confused about which Long Island CSA best fits your lifestyle, read on for the ultimate guide to the 2018 CSA season.
Our Guide to CSAs on Long Island
The North Fork’s Sang Lee offers both full and partial shares (a full share includes 8 to 12 weekly items, whereas a partial share includes only 5 to 8). Prices range from $465 to $680 for the season. Members can either pick shares up at the farm during designated times or opt for the slightly more expensive “dropsite” option, in which the boxes are dropped off at certain predetermined spots on the North and South Forks and on Western Long Island. Add-ons include a “kitchen share” of dressings, dips, and prepared foods; a Briermere Farms fruit share; and a cheese share. For an additional cost, boxes can be dropped off directly at members’ homes.
Amber Waves offers four different CSA options, ranging from a 10-week program all the way to a 26-week program, which extends through Thanksgiving. Prices start at $550 for the share. Add-ons, like bread, fruit, and cheese, are also available. Members are also given access to the U-Pick areas of the field, where they can select their own flowers, herbs, raspberries, shishito peppers, cherry tomatoes, husk cherries, peas, and more. If an idyllic walk in the gorgeous farm fields picking sun-warm flowers isn’t incentive enough, members are also granted a 10 percent discount for use in the farm store and for all farm events, excepting the Outstanding in the Field dinner series.
This Amagansett farm has come into its own in recent years and consistently offers one of the best CSAs on the East End. Plans run from 15 to 26 weeks, with base pricing running from $500 to $860. All shares begin in May. Add-ons are plentiful: fruit share, fresh mozzarella share, prepared foods share, flower share, Iacono Farms eggs share, Catapano cheese share, Carissa’s bread share… the possibilities are nearly endless. Members are also entitled to a 10 percent discount when shopping at the farm stand. There are three designated pick-up windows at the farm stand that members must select in advance, but members can also opt for home delivery for $300 extra.
Jamesport’s Golden Earthworm offers a full-season CSA box that runs for 25 weeks, from June through November. Members can choose between a farm site pick-up or a pick-up at a separate designated Long Island site. In June, members are invited to the farm for u-pick strawberries and in October they’re invited back for the CSA harvest festival. Pick-up is available all over Long Island, as far west as Rockville Centre. There are also Queens pick-ups available, for those closer to the city. Members participating in the farm pick-up are also able to opt-in to the grass-fed meat, dairy, and pantry add-on, which means that you can finally forego those trips to the grocery store.
This North Fork farm runs its 20-week CSA from June through October. Full shares are $550 and half shares are $345. A limited number of members can pick their boxes up at the Port Jefferson Brewing Company on Friday afternoons, but the majority of boxes must be picked up during the designated on-site time slot: 3 to 7 p.m on Thursdays.
2018 will be the second year of the Sep’s Farm CSA. The program begins on June 14 and will extend for 20 weeks, through November. Members can choose between a small or large share, depending on their needs. This is a “market-style” CSA, meaning that members can choose from a menu of items each week. CSAs are picked up at the farm stand. Each week’s selection includes fruits, vegetables, and prepared goods. Small shares cost $300 and large shares cost $500, making it one of the most affordable CSAs on the Island.
Shelter Islanders, we have not forgotten you! The Island’s Sylvester Manor Educational Farm offers a 21-week CSA, beginning in June and ending in mid-October. Shares can be picked up at the farm on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Sylvester also offers some interesting options, for those considering a CSA. For those wishing for a more diverse set of choices, the Farm Stand Credit is a new option available for members. $500 buys $550 worth of farm stand goods, all of which must be purchased during the 2018 season. Those seeking a discount can opt for the volunteer share, which is less expensive than the non-volunteer option. Volunteers must commit to 10 hours of farm stand work by the end of the season. Share prices range from $481 to $1,005. Add-ons—a quarterly Acabonac Farms beef share and a bread share with breads from Blue Duck Bakery—are extra.
Green Thumb Organic Farm, run by the Halsey family since the 1970s, conducts its CSA slightly differently. Members pay in and then select $18 worth of produce and flowers each week at the Water Mill farm stand. Green Thumb also has a Huntington outpost (as well as one at Hellgate in Queens). Outposts receive deliveries once weekly from June through December. The in-house, pick-your-own CSA runs from May through November. Green Thumb is one of the oldest practicing organic farms on Long Island and their produce is, hands down, some of the best out East.
This 22-week share begins in June and ends in November and offers 8 to 14 fruit and vegetable selections in each week’s full share box. A half share is also available (prices range from $395 to $790). Rexer’s produce is all sustainably grown and volunteering is not mandatory. Shares are first-come, first-served. Members must pick their shares up at the farm, in Huntington.
Homecoming Farm gives CSA preference to previous CSA members, opening registration to them months earlier than the general registration. Members are required to volunteer for 15 hours per share. A weekly pick-up costs $950, whereas a biweekly pick-up is $475. Shares must be paid for in full by April 15. A percentage of the share cost is “used to help defray the cost of growing food for the hungry.” Shares contain organic vegetables from the farm and pick-up days, selected at sign-up, remain constant through the season.
The Hamlet Organic Garden share—which runs from May 27 through October 27—is conducted slightly differently. Members can select how many weeks, at $34 a week, that they wish to buy. Each weekly share includes 5 to 12 vegetables and access to u-pick flowers and vegetables. A fruit add-on, $11 per week, is provided via Briermere Farms and runs from June 17 until the end of October. Hamlet Organic Garden also offers an Acobonac Farm “burger box” share, which, at $126 per week, includes 9 pounds of ground beef and 3.5 pounds of artisan burgers. Members can pick up shares at the Brookhaven farm or at three other participating Long Island locations.
Quail Hill is a stunning East End farm that is part of the Peconic Land Trust. The farm offers both summer and winter shares; summer shares begin in June and run through October, while winter shares begin in November and run through February. Pick-ups are on designated days at the farm in Amagansett. Prices range from $285 to $960, depending on what you wish to include and how many you hope to feed. The most expensive box includes food for a family as well as herbs and flowers. As an added bonus, the biweekly winter share also includes farm fresh eggs.
This Riverhead farm offers a diverse range of CSA options, including a vegetable share, fruit share, winter share, egg share, meat share, beer share (from the farm’s own brewery), cheese and dairy share, sunflower share, and bread share. The traditional vegetable share costs $345 for a biweekly option and $655 for a weekly option. The share is 24 weeks, running from June through Thanksgiving. There are combination packages, larger packages for larger families, and enough options to satisfy every plant eater out there. The farm offers 21 different pick-up sites, which include locations on Eastern Long Island, Western Long Island, in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.