The Complete Guide to Fairfield County CSAs

Note: If you are looking for 2011 CSAs that serve Fairfield County, you can find them here: CSAs

What is CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a means for consumers to buy a share in a farm’s seasonal production directly from the farmer. Consumers benefit from buying local, farm fresh, high quality produce at an attractive price and farmers benefit from pre-selling the harvest. CSA members pick up their weekly shares either at the farm or a location in their community. Community pick up locations generally involve a small volunteer commitment, perhaps two hours per season, during which the site is readied and broken down for weekly share distribution. CSA membership is not for everyone because in such a partnership arrangement, the consumer shares both the bounty of the farm’s harvest and some of the risks inherent in farming.

I am proud and pleased to offer you the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide available to Fairfield County CSA programs. The great news is there are shares available and the number of choices available to consumers grows each year as farms expand their production and add new locations. I urge you to act swiftly if you are interested in purchasing a CSA share because they go quickly!

Stoneledge Farm Certified Organic CSA (New Location in Southport!)

Locations: Stamford, Wilton and Southport

Status: Southport Is Open, Stamford Is Almost Closed, Wilton Is Wait List Only

Web Site: http://www.stoneledgefarmny.org/locations/

If you live in Stamford call Rachel right away at 917-216-7630 and you might be lucky enough to snag one of the last remaining shares of the Stamford CSA. Pick up is at Zion Lutheran Church, 132 Glenbrook Road on Wednesdays, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Visit the site for a brochure describing the program or just keep reading below.

Thanks to the dedication and passion for local, organic food of Sarah Bollman and Leann Weaver of Fairfield, we now have a new organic CSA available in Southport. Last year Sarah and Leann bought shares in the Wilton CSA of Stoneledge Farm, a 90 acre, NOFA-NY certified organic farm located in South Cairo, New York in the foothills of the Northern Catskills. Last year the owners asked Sarah and Leann to set a CSA up further east in Fairfield County and they worked in tandem to create this new CSA location for all of us to enjoy.

About 22 vegetable shares and 36 fruit shares are still available. The cost is $485 for 24 weeks, June through November. That’s $20.20 a week for fresh, local, organic produce! Fruit shares are available to vegetable share members for $225 and run for 20 weeks. Berries are grown at Stoneledge Farm and orchard fruit is grown by Stoneledge Farm’s neighbors, who take a light approach in protecting their crops. Pickup for the Southport CSA is Wednesdays, time TBD (probably be 4-6 or 5-7 pm), at Trinity Church, Southport on Pequot Avenue.

Visit their web site to register online by credit card or check. Click here to sign up online. The farmer keeps members very involved, emailing about crop yields and what’s included in the current week’s share. Every week at least one or two herbs are included in the share. Any unclaimed shares will be donated to programs including Operation Hope and the Connecticut Food Bank. Members share recipes and the Fairfield Green Food Guide will post them too because I bought a share!

Location co-founder Sarah Bollman generously contributed the following to this article: “After two years on various local waiting lists, my family was accepted in 2008 as members of a CSA out of Stoneledge Farm in South Cairo, New York.  This farm currently services over 700 families in 14 metropolitan locations or drop points. From May to November last year we received weekly shares of fresh, local, organic produce.  At the end of last season, The farm asked a couple of us to form a new location further east than the Wilton one. Enthusiastically, Lee Ann Weaver and I spent months researching/negotiating our new location, both driven by the desire to offer this great opportunity to 40 additional families. From our perspective, it has been educational, economical, and healthy and makes us feel we are nurturing the earth and helping local farmers prosper.”

Stone Gardens Farm CSA, Shelton

Location: Shelton

Status: Open, Half Shares Available

Web site: www.stonegardensfarm.com

This family-owned farm uses integrated pest management growing practices (IPM), which means they only spray when necessary and try to use organic spray. The CSA runs for 22 weeks from June through October and pick up is at the farm, located at 83 Sawmill City Road, on either Tuesday or Friday from 10-6. The program cost per share is $600 or $300 per half share. Half payment is due with completed application and the second half is due before first pick up. Please register online at their site. Their CSA description will state that they have a Westport CSA available but it is pending zoning approval. Please see  The Green Garage CSA below for more information.

Gazy Brothers Farm CSA, Oxford

Locations: New Canaan, Darien, Fairfield, Westport, Greenwich, Monroe, Stratford, Bridgeport, Norwalk, Shelton, Danbury, Stamford, Trumbull and Westport

Status: Open, Please Contact the Farm for Drop Points in Each Town

Web Site: www.gazybrothersfarm.net

Gazy Brothers Farm is a fourth generation family farm in Oxford using integrated pest management (IPM) growing practices, which means they only spray when absolutely necessary to save a crop. They offer different pick ups and deliveries for each community, so contact the farm directly for that information. Click here to download the Gazy Brothers 2009 CSA registration form. Spring CSA: Vegetable/herb shares are available for $160 for 8 weeks and include 5-6 items per week. The CSA runs from April 1-June 1 and the sign up deadline is Feb 15 (contact the farm to see if this is firm). Summer CSA: The cost is $350 for a vegetable/herb share, $100 for a flower share, and $100 for a fruit share from Glastonbury orchards. The summer CSA runs from June 21-October 31 and the sign up deadline is April 1. Winter CSA: The cost is $150 for a vegetable/herb share for 8 weeks and includes 5-6 items per week. The winter season runs from November 1-December 20 and the sign up deadline Sept 15.

Farm Share Ltd. Organic Summer/Fall CSA Delivered to Your Doorstep

Locations: Home delivery to Stamford and Greenwich only

Status: Closed to Connecticut until a distribution agreement is arranged, probably later this month

Web site: http://www.myfarmshare.com

Farm Share Ltd. is still working out details with a distributor for Connecticut and is hoping to be able to take Greenwich and Stamford residents by the end of the month. Check their web site for updates any time! The CSA shares are for New York grown Certified Organic vegetables and naturally grown fruit and cost $600 for a vegetable share, including home delivery, from mid June to mid November (22 weeks for veggies, 20 weeks for fruit). Fruit share price TBD. The CSA is delivered to your door, but no condos, gated communities, townhouses or apartment buildings are accepted unless there’s a 24-hour doorman to accept the delivery. Deliveries are made Wednesday through Friday very early in the morning, as early as 2 am, so leave a cooler with ice on your doorstep. I’ll be sure to send a news alert when Connecticut comes online.

The Green Garage CSA at Gilbertie’s of Westport

Sponsor: Westport Green Village Initiative (GVI)

Location: Westport

Status: Pending Zoning Approval

Web Site: www.westportgvi.org

Westport GVI has arranged to rent a garage, dubbed The Green Garage, at Gilbertie’s of Westport to house a green food initiative. According to Westport GVI member Rebecca Howe, plans include year-round CSAs supplied by local farms. Stay tuned to the Fairfield Green Food Guide to be alerted once they obtain the necessary zoning approvals to offer the CSAs. Thanks Westport GVI!

The Hickories CSA, Redding – Tripled Size From Last Year to Serve Waiting List Families

Location: Redding

Status: Closed, Wait List Recommended for Next Year

Web Site: www.thehickories.org

The New York Times spotlighted The Hickories in its February 15 article about CSAs entitled “In a Downturn, a Growth Opportunity?” The article went on to discuss how CSA are more popular than ever in the tri-state area and farms like The Hickories are expanding to meet that growing demand. Owner Dina Brewster told me that her CSA served 50 families last year and she encouraged families to put their names on her waiting list for this year. She was able to triple her production this year to serve about 100 families from that waiting list for a total of 150 CSAs this year! Dina recommends that anyone interested in purchasing a CSA from The Hickories next year get on the waiting list now because they will expand again next year. Please visit the web site to register and join the waiting list. Another way to buy their produce is at their farm stand and at the Ridgefield farmers’ market. The stand is on Lounsbury Road is open seven days a week from 10:30 am to 7pm beginning late June. The Hickories will be participating in the new Ridgefield Farmers’ Market held Fridays from 3-6pm on Route 35 in the center of Ridgefield during June through November. Please come by to visit the Hickories and meet other local farmers.

Sport Hill Farm Organic CSA, Easton

Location: Easton

Status: Full, a Farm Visit Is Recommended for Anyone Interested in Securing a CSA Next Year

Web Site: www.sporthillfarm.com

Well the CSA is full but the Summer Farm Camp The Unquowa School runs will give your children a chance to experience the farm hands on. Check it out on The Unquowa School’s site. Sport Hill Farm owner Patti Popp told me “This is my third season providing a CSA program. I had originally started slow, beginning with 22 CSAs in 2007, 2008 moved to 42 CSAs and for the 2009 season I have 75 CSAs.  I do plan on expanding once again for the 2010 season at least 125 plus families. The issue our particular farm runs into is space for growing the produce. Since our farmland was once woods, we have a lot of expensive land clearing and preparing that needs to be done. CSA is a relatively new alternative food program for our area. Having such programs help to create a sense of community by allowing people to see where and how their food is grown and by helping to keep the carbon footprint down. Easton is a town rich in agriculture and I’m happy to be a part of that.” I encourage you to visit the farm in person if you are interested in securing a CSA share next year.

Fort Hill Farm Organic CSA, New Milford

Locations: Serving Many Locations in Fairfield County

Status: Full, No Waiting List

Web Site: www.forthillfarm.com

This CSA has been serving towns in Fairfield County for many years and is not only full, but is not accepting any wait list applicants. Owner Paul Bucciaglia asked me to share the following with my readers. “The key to more local food in our state is FARMLAND PRESERVATION.  The limiting factor to more local farms is that our state has the highest rate of farmland loss in the nation.   We need to preserve prime farmland, increase access to this land by new farmers, and support them with low cost loans or grants, and of course buy their food at a fair price. The Working Lands Alliance (www.workinglandsalliance.org), a project of American Farmland Trust, was formed with the sole purpose of preserving Connecticut’s most precious natural resource – its farmland. This organization is a great way to get involved in this important issue.  There is a rally on March 18 from 9-10 am on the Capital Steps to support farmland preservation efforts.” Please click on March 18 on the Fairfield Green Food Guide’s event calendar for complete information.

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