There’s nothing better than a summer tomato. Or freshly-picked baby lettuces. I’ve been known to nibble an ear of white corn raw, especially if it came from a local farm stand.
So I’ve been looking to buy shares in an upstate CSA, or a community supported agriculture farm share program, like the one offered by Stoneledge Farm (shown above). Here’s how most CSAs work: You pay a farmer a flat fee at the beginning of the growing season, and in return, the farmer will deliver freshly picked fruits and veggies to you weekly. In essence, you’re buying a share of the farm’s harvest. In June, you might get pints of sweet strawberries and bunches of fragrant garlic scapes. In August comes a box of so many zucchinis, you’ll be making zucchini fritters, zucchini breads, zucchini salads and just about any other zucchini-inspired recipe you come across for days.
Some CSAs deliver to you; others require you to pickup at a convenient nearby location. Buying a share in a CSA can be economical. To figure out if it makes sense for your grocery bill, divide the cost by the number of weeks you’re receiving produce — it’s often less than $30 a week for a box designed for a small family; some farmers send their eggs too. Buying shares in a CSA is also a way to support local farmers directly since every share you buy goes straight back into the farm that grew it.
Interested? Here are three local farms offering CSA programs.
Founded by a family in Larchmont in 2006 to bring farm fresh produce to Westchester, Farm Share sources 100 percent organic veggies from Norwich Meadows Farm, located near the Adirondack Mountains. (Norwich Meadows provides veggies to Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe.) Veggies shares are currently $695 for 22 weeks (about $30 a week); eggs and fruit are available as add ons for additional fees. All produce is delivered to your front door June through November. In your boxes, expect lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts on the stalk, eggplant, squash, mint, garlic, fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, shallots, napa cabbage, among many others. To apply for a share of the CSA, fill out the application here. They deliver to most Westchester towns, north and south, and several in Connecticut. For questions, call 914-315-1851 or e-mail Gail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center
Join Hilltop Hanover Farm’s CSA and it’s a quick hop to see where your produce is grown. The Yorktown Heights farm has a very unique CSA. For a $650 for 20 weeks, you’ll head to Hilltop Hanover Farm weekly to fill up your bag “farm stand style.” In other words, you get to choose your items — purple carrots or orange ones — unlike other CSAs that deliver a box of produce they picked. Pick up day is Tuesdays from 2pm to 7pm or Wednesday until noon. For more information, visit the CSA application. Serves anyone in Westchester that is willing to pick-up. 914-962-2368
Located in the foothills of the Catskills, Stoneledge Farm is a 200 acre organic family farm, and they’ve been offering Manhattan and Westchester residents a CSA for years. Here’s an idea of an early summer sample you might get from Stoneledge: 2 pounds of zucchini, 2 pounds of cukes, 1 bunch of swiss chard, 1 bunch of cilantro, 1 head of Wakefield cabbage,1 head of butter crunch lettuce and a bunch of scallions. Yum. Fruit, coffee and/or mushroom shares are add-ons. Stoneledge won’t deliver to your door, but there are several convenient pick-up locations throughout the county in Rye, Hastings, White Plains, Buchanan (northern Westchester), and Stamford. Vegetable shares are about $519 for 24 weeks, June through November ; $235 extra for fruit shares. Register online for the 2013 CSA share program here.