By Analiese Paik. April Guilbault contributed to the guide.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are one of the most powerful ways for consumers to support local farms and source fresh, organically grown food more economically. Early each season, farmers offer shares in their CSA programs to the public for a fixed fee and invest the proceeds in preparing the land, buying seeds, sowing seeds, and tending crops. CSA members register for and pre-pay for a season’s worth of farm-grown food that they pick up each week on a set day and time, either at the farm or another pick up site. A few CSAs have a volunteer obligation where each registered family is required to either set up or break down one week’s pick up. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know your CSA community members and swap recipes and other cooking ideas.
Farmers typically email CSA members a list of vegetables that will be in their share each week, sometimes with recipes. This is very helpful in planning the week’s meals and other food shopping. Be patient; each vegetable shows up in our shares when it’s ready for harvest. Early in the season, leafy greens will abound so plan for lots of salads and lettuce wraps. Corn begins to show up by mid-July and by mid-late summer tomatoes, peppers, garlic and eggplants are plentiful and canners should think about putting some up for the winter. By early fall pumpkins and several varieties of squash will invite us to turn our ovens back on.
Sometimes nature throws our farmers a curve ball and crops we love never show up. They’ve succumbed to rain, hail, blight, pests, drought or extreme heat. A blighted tomato crop is a nightmare for farmers because they take a long time to grow and are one of their best cash crops. Know that the farmer is just as disappointed as you are, but also recognize that for every crop that fails, another crop usually flourishes under the same adverse conditions and will fill your share.
Spring/Summer 2014 Organic CSAs
Sport Hill Farm, Easton – Choose from the seasonal CSA or “Crop Cash” program , a farm credit you use to buy anything at the farm stand during the season. CSA pick up is also available at Wakeman Town Farm, Westport and Black Rock Farm Stand. Email farmer Patti Popp at: email@example.com for applications and details regarding both programs. Sport Hill Farm follows organic practices. The deadline for registration for Wakeman Town Farm and Black Rock Farm Stand pick up locations has been extended to 3/31/14.
The Hickories Farm, Ridgefield – Sign-ups began February 10, and are processed first come, first served. Spring, summer and fall shares are available for pick up at the farm only. Register online at http://www.thehickories.org/our_csa. Certified Organic.
Simpaug Farms – Serves Ridgefield, Redding and Suffield through pick up locations and home delivery is also available in Ridgefield for an additional fee. Visit their site for more information and to register. Follows organic practices.
Belta’s Farm, Westport – Spaces are now available for the coming season and applications due March 1. Visit their website to learn more and email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a sign-up form. Follows organic practices.
Farm Share – Offering home delivery of a Certified Organic CSA in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk and Stamford. Currently accepting sign-ups for the new season. Go to : http://www.myfarmshare.com/OrderProcess/ProductList.aspx for more information and to register.
Garden of Ideas, Ridgefield -Spaces available now and filling fast! Offering spring, summer and fall shares for pick up each
Thursday at the farm. Visit the website for details and email email@example.com to join.
Farah’s Farm CSA – Flexible CSA options available: labor CSA, learn on the farm programs, children’s CSA, and a CSA for winter preservation. Email farmer Farah Masani at firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on a the wait list and find a program suitable for you. Follows organic practices.
Stoneledge Farm CSA – Accepting applications for 2014 season now! Pick up locations in Stamford, Wilton and Southport/Fairfield. Add-ons include fruit, coffee and mushroom shares plus online marketplace ordering. Go to www.stoneledgefarmny.org to learn more and register.
Chubby Bunny Farm in Falls Village makes weekly CSA drops to Darien, New Canaan, Fairfield Center, Fairfield East, Westport, Norwalk and Stamford. Visit the website for more information and online registration. The farmers are strongly committed to sustainable agriculture practices and never apply chemical herbicides, pesticides or toxic fertilizers to the land.
Hubbard Heights Farm, Stamford – Full and half shares are available for registration at this wonderful urban farm right in the heart of Stamford. Read our feature story about the farm here. Visit the site for more information and to download a registration form.
Warrup’s Farm, Redding – no CSA offered this season.
Grass- Fed Meat CSAs:
Laurel Ridge Farm: 100% grass fed beef CSA. No GMOs are planted or fed to the animals and no pesticides or herbicides are used on the farm according to farmer John Morosani (pictured moving his herd). Read our feature article to learn more about their farm practices and how to register for the CSA.
Saugatuck Craft Butchery: Whole animal CSAs (fully broken down) sourced from small NY and CT farms. Due to the ever-changing nature of their offerings, we recommend you inquire directly by phone at 203.226.6328.
Visit our Guide to Grass-Fed Beef for other retail options.