By Analiese Paik
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are one of the most important ways for consumers to economically purchase fresh, organically grown food while supporting local farms.
What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are a contract buying agreement between a supplying farm and the consumer. Early each season, farmers offer shares (full and half) 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 the farm’s food that they pick up each week on a set day and time, either at the farm or another pick up site. Some CSAs programs deliver while others have a volunteer obligation where each registered family is required to either set up or break down one week’s pick up. A few CSAs offer one-of-a kind experiences, like the pick-your-own organic strawberry field at The Hickories in Ridgefield. The newest twist on CSAs is offered by Sport Hill Farm and it allows buyers to swap out a least favorite vegetable for another and enjoy a discount of partner products. Which CSA is right for you?
Spring/Summer 2015 Organic CSAs
Dancing Dog Farm, Ridgefield – Dancing Dog Farm’s biodynamic CSA is available for 21 weeks for $700 and half shares are $375. If you’re new to CSAs, or plan to be away for during the 21 weeks that begin in June, consider a 7-week spring, summer or fall program, also available in full and half shares. Deposits are due by April 1, or full payment in the case of half shares. Please click here to download a CSA application form containing all the details. Read our feature article here.
Sport Hill Farm, Easton – The Harvest to Home (CSA with a twist) program is fully subscribed (see our article from Jan. 29). The Crop Cash Choice program, a farm credit you use to buy anything at the farm stand during the season (May-Dec) is open for registration through March 1, 2015. If you like to buy from the farm stand, this is an economical and convenient way to buy since you don’t have to carry cash around. Prepay $250 and receive a $275 farm credit; other increments are available. Click here for more information and to register. Sport Hill Farm follows organic practices.
The Hickories, Ridgefield – Sign-ups have begun and are processed first come, first served. Spring (May), summer (June) and fall shares (October) are available for pick up at the farm and include vegetables and fruit. Shareholders are eligible for event discounts and may purchase eggs and pastured, heritage meat at the farm stand. Register online at http://www.thehickories.org/our_csa. Certified Organic.
Simpaug Farms – The communities of Ridgefield and Norwalk are served through pick up locations and home delivery is also available in Ridgefield for an additional fee. Choose from 16-week summer shares or 8 week fall shares, either full or half. Visit their site for more information and to register. Follows organic practices.
Belta’s Farm, Westport – Summer shares run for 20 weeks, from June through October, and the waiting list is open. 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 to Stamford, Greenwich, Old Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside, Darien, New Canaan, and Norwalk. Sign-up now for the 22-week summer season that begins in June. Shares start at $748 for a vegetable share; shares with eggs or fruit added are more. Visit the website for more information and to register.
Garden of Ideas, Ridgefield – Spring, summer and fall shares are available thanks to a recent expansion at the farm. Be prepared to pick up your share each Thursday at the farm. Visit the website for details and email email@example.com to join. Follows organic practices.
Stoneledge Farm CSA – Now accepting applications for 2015 season, this popular NY farm has pick up locations in Darien, Stamford, Wilton/Norwalk 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. Note: This program has a volunteer requirement. Certified organic.
Hubbard Heights Farm, Stamford – Sadly, this property is being developed by the owner.
Shortt’s Farm and Garden Center, Sandy Hook – This Certified Organic farm offers both full and half shares for 21 weeks beginning in June. Pick up at the farm or at the New Canaan Farmers’ Market on Saturdays between 10 am and 2 pm. Non-organic corn and fruit from other CT farms is added to shares; please request more farm produce as a substitute if you eat strictly organic. Sign up for the farm’s newsletter to receive registration dates and CSA news.