For those looking forward to a summer filled with fresh produce from an East End farm, now is the time to sign up for a community-supported agriculture program, or C.S.A.
The C.S.A. system works by having members pay an up-front fee to cover the cost of planting and harvesting in return for receiving a weekly share of farmer-selected produce. Many farms also offer add-ons such as locally made cheeses and breads, prepared foods, and recipes.
Below are the details on what a few of the C.S.A. programs will offer this season.
In addition to supplying a weekly box of fresh vegetables, Amber Waves allows members access to areas of the farm where they can pick flowers, herbs, shishito peppers, and other produce. Add-on shares of bread, cheese, and fruit are also available. Amber Waves holds an annual orientation for new members, during which customers get a tour of the fields; over the summer, there will also be three potluck dinners featuring pizza made in the farm’s wood-burning oven.
Members receive a 10-percent discount at the market and on educational workshops, as well as a weekly newsletter that contains farmer-approved recipes. The farm’s C.S.A. offerings, which will begin the week of Memorial Day, range from a nine-week membership (July 4 through Labor Day) for $500 to 27 weeks (Memorial Day through Thanksgiving week) for $1,090. Debuting this year is a weekender option, for $450, which includes shares on holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, and Columbus Day), plus a $200 gift card for the market. Returning members who sign up and pay in full by tomorrow will lock in the same price as last year, and receive a hat or tote bag when picking up their first share.
Members are required to fetch their shares at the farm on Main Street in Amagansett on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m., or Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Full descriptions of the various share types can be found at amberwavesfarm.org.
Balsam’s C.S.A. program, which begins May 23, offers weekly shares of fresh vegetables, greens, herbs, and fruit, as well as suggested recipes. On occasion, prepared foods such as pestos, pickles, jams, and tomato sauce, are included, as well. Add-ons of cheese, bread, flowers, and fruit are available for an additional cost.
The membership prices range from $500 for 15 weeks to $890 for 27 weeks. Shares are picked up at Balsam’s farm stand on Town Lane in Amagansett on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m., or on Fridays or Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. During pickup times, members get 10 percent off additional produce at the stand. Sign up is online at balsamfarms.com.
Quail Hill Farm
The Peconic Land Trust’s venerable Quail Hill Farm, between Deep Lane and Old Stone Highway in Amagansett, is the oldest C.S.A. on the East End and one of the first in the country.
It offers both individual and family shares in its program, which will begin in early June and extend into October.
The farm, which harvests more than 500 varieties of vegetables, fruits, and flowers, allows members to choose between self-harvesting on Tuesdays and Saturdays or picking up a box share. Flowers and herbs are not included in the box shares. Prices range from $380 for an individual box share to $980 for a family summer share. There is also a $50 first-time member fee. Members will receive a handbook with harvesting tips, and a guide to the fruits and vegetables available at various stages of the summer. Sign up is online at peconiclandtrust.org.
Share the Harvest Farm
Share the Harvest Farm, which donates produce to food pantries and other nonprofits, offers a C.S.A. geared to lower-income working families. The program runs for 14 weeks, from June to September. The cost is based on income, and priority is given to lower-income families and returning members. Applicants must provide their annual household income to become a member. Weekly shares consist of at least four types of vegetables, flowers, and, when available, herbs. The farm, on Long Lane in East Hampton, also provides recipes and nutritional information.
Sang Lee Farms
The C.S.A. program at the North Fork’s Sang Lee Farms, which is located on County Road 48 in Peconic, runs from June 5 to Nov. 13. Customers can choose between a full share of vegetables, which will include 8 to 12 different items per week for $720, or a half share, which offers 5 to 8 items for $510, including delivery through Labor Day to the farm’s pickup site at the East Hampton Farmers Market (held each Friday on North Main Street). For an additional fee, the farm will also provide home delivery. A six-month share of prepared foods is also available for $315; the items, including a dip, a dressing, a jar of fermented or pickled vegetables, and a pesto, will be delivered every other week. Fruit and cheese shares, which extend over 18 weeks, are $150 and $250 respectively. Members receive a 10 percent discount on other purchases. The farm’s website is sangleefarms.com.
The Green Thumb on Montauk Highway in Water Mill, another long- time presence on the South Fork, having sold organic provide since 1989, offers a different sort of C.S.A. In the Green Thumb model, members who pay an up-front fee get to choose a weekly set amount of produce, flowers, and garden plants from the farm’s stand on Montauk Highway. More information about the program can be found online at greenthumborganicfarm.com