What’s a 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.
We have lost so much farmland in Connecticut that less than one percent of our residents earn a living by farming. Eat well, support your local farmer and do your bit to preserve farmland by buying a CSA share in one of our precious organic or IPM (Integrated Pest Management) farms.
Back in January I announced that it was CSA registration month and shared that two organic farms were expanding and had opened their lists to new CSA families: Sport Hill Farm in Easton and The Hickories in Ridgefield. The CSAs from these two farms quickly sold out. The good news is that there are still a few CSAs open for new subscribers, but you should act quickly if you want to secure a share.
The shares from this 90 acre, NOFA-NY certified organic farm located in South Cairo, New York are varied and generous. I particularly liked all the herbs last summer because I learned to use more of them in my cooking. Each week the farm email CSA members with a list of the week’s harvest along with delicious recipes using the ingredients. If you don’t pick your own fruit during the summer, I suggest signing up for a fruit share too. The plums, cherries and other tree fruit were gorgeous and I saw varieties that were new to me.
Stamford pick up is at Zion Lutheran Church, 132 Glenbrook Road on Wednesdays, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Visit the farm’s site for a brochure describing the program or just keep reading below.
Wilton/Norwalk pick up is at 345 Belden Hill Road on Wednesdays, from 4:15 – 6:30 pm.
Thanks to the dedication and passion for local, organic food of Sarah Bollman and Leann Weaver of Fairfield, a CSA location was added last year at Trinity Southport Church, 651 Pequot Avenue on Wednesdays, from 4:30-6:30 pm.
The cost is $490 for 24 weeks, June through November. That’s $20.42 a week for an abundance of 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.
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 renewed my share!
Visit the web site to learn more, register for a share or join the waiting list.
Last year Westport Green Village Initiative (GVI) began offering summer CSA shares supplied by Stone Gardens Farm in Shelton as part of their mission to “create a new food model – a relationship between local farmers and consumers- that offers local/healthy food to people at reasonable prices.” The program has been so successful that the farm is greatly expanding their CSA program this year. Stone Gardens is not an organic farm but their growing practices are IPM, (integrated pest management) which means they only spray when necessary and try to use organic spray.
The Westport pickup location is NO LONGER at the Unitarian Church; it will be at the Wakeman Farm on 134 Cross Highway, Westport. Westport GVI Town Farm, Inc. has leased the historic Wakeman Farm from the Town of Westport to create a sustainable community farm that includes a barn to house this CSA program.
If you are interested in learning more about or signing up for the summer CSA share offered by Stone Gardens for pickup at the farm in Shelton or at Wakeman Farm in Westport, please visit the farm’s site.
How Does It Work?
For this CSA with Hidden Brook Gardens, the 2010 season will run for 15 weeks beginning on Friday, June 18th and ending Friday, September 24th. CTFFE will deliver your share directly to your door each week! The weekly pick-up fee will be $5.00 and the delivery fee will be based on the proximity of your home to our distribution center in East Haddam. To determine your specific delivery fee, please contact CTFFE at 860-873-8760. The pick up and delivery fees will be paid directly to CTFFE each week when we deliver your share.
What Will You Get?
So far Hidden Brook Gardens is planning crops ranging from beans, beets, and broccoli to carrots, collards, and cucumbers and on to squash, scallions and strawberries! For a full list of planned produce, click here and follow to request the farm’s CSA brochure. Full Shares (15 weeks) are priced at $450, and Half Shares (15 weeks) are $225. A great deal, a great way to support a local farm, and great farm-fresh produce for your table. How cool is that?!
The pick-up and delivery fees will be paid directly to CTFFE each week when they deliver your share. You can order any other products from their website to compliment that week’s CSA offering, which helps to offset the price of delivery.
Please visit the farm’s site to request a CSA brochure.
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 use a sustainable approach to managing pests. 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 2010 CSA registration form. Their spring CSA is nearly full and runs April 1- June 10 offering 10 weeks of fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, and much more. One box of 5-6 veggies per week for 10 weeks is $200. Gazy’s Summer CSA runs from July 1- September 16, giving you 12 weeks of summertime fruits, flowers and/or veggies.
Vegetable Share: 1 box of 7-8 veggies a week for 12 weeks is $250. 2 boxes of veggies per week for 12 weeks is $425.
Flower Share (starts the end of July): 1 bouquet of flowers a week for 10+ weeks is $100.
Fruit Share (starts mid-July): 8-12 pieces of fruit per week for 12+ weeks is $100.
Fall/Winter Program (October 7-December 9): Enjoy the last harvests of the season, like hearty root veggies and greens. Note that it may not be consecutive weeks due to weather conditions. 1 box of 5-6 veggies and apples for 10 weeks is $200.