CSA INFO – CSA Program

CSA Info

NEW! Winter CSA Information
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We are very excited to offer a winter CSA program for the first time ever! Like our main season CSA, members pay up front and in return receive a weekly share of Balsam Farms’ produce. Because of the differences in the seasons, the items that you’ll receive in the winter share will be different from those of the summer, but we have a surprisingly large selection of items available throughout the winter months.

Because Long Island’s climate is generally temperate, we are typically able to harvest crops from the field well into January. These crops include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, kale, herbs, and more. Members will also receive crops that we’ve stored at their peak, including carrots, beets, winter squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Additionally, because we have four-season greenhouses on our farm, we’re able to include farm fresh greens throughout the winter, when they otherwise would not be available locally. These include arugula, salad mixes, lettuce, kale, and more.

We are also offering many new items specially for our winter CSA! We are particularly excited to offer products from our new grain program, which include wheat, rye, oats, popcorn, polenta and corn meal, and several varieties of dry beans. Another new project we’ve been working on in partnership with the East End Food Institute is prepping and freezing our produce in season, including our World Famous Corn! This way, we can distribute it to our winter CSA members. When appropriate, we will also include some of our jarred items and prepared foods to round out and enhance your weekly share. Items may include salsas, sauces, jams, pickles, soups, and pestos.

For those looking  to enjoy an even fuller local winter bounty, we are offering several share add-on options including fruit (mostly apples), bread, eggs, cheese, and grass-fed beef.

Another thing to note about our winter CSA is that we deliver on Fridays which coincides with our Balsam Farms weekly Delivery Service. That means that you can order many other products from our farm & other local producers a la carte, in addition to what you are receiving in your CSA. We will also waive the minimum order for this service since we will already be coming to you with your CSA share.

We hope you’ll join us and see all that the winter has to offer!

What is a CSA?
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CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is one of the most direct relationships between our farm and our customers. When you join our CSA Program, you are helping to support our farm, and in return, you get a weekly “share” of in-season produce and other farm products. Your membership fee helps the farmer to do things like buy seeds and fertilizer, fuel their tractors, and pay employees for their hard work planting and harvesting. When its working capital comes directly from its customers, the farm is less dependent on bank loans to help cover the costs of farming in the early season.

We offer a Main season CSA which goes from May until September or November, depending on which option you choose. Our winter CSA Begins on December 3rd, and lasts either 5 weeks or 8 weeks, depending on which option you choose.

How does a CSA work?
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Each week we harvest a selection of the freshest available produce grown on our farm for our CSA Members. Our farmers and vendor-partners also pick the freshest available add-ons for our members each week.

How do I get my share each week?
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For your winter CSA, we offer You can pick up your weekly CSA share at our Farm Stand in Amagansett (see map below) anytime during our designated pickup times, which are 2-6 pm on Thursdays, 12-4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. We also offer a delivery option on Fridays. You can choose which pickup day works best for your schedule when you sign up. We use these set pickup times to ensure that our Members receive the freshest available produce that we harvest just for you! We do not currently offer any other pickup times or locations.

How big is an average weekly share? What's in it?
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We grow hundreds of varieties of vegetables and try our best to keep each week’s share different and interesting. You’ll see the progression of the seasons and taste their flavors as they arrive.

In spring we have asparagus, sugar snap peas, many salad and sautéing greens, and we begin to see root vegetables like radishes, baby beets, and new potatoes. Summer is high season and brings corn, tomatoes, eggplant, and melons. Fall gives us hearty foods like winter squash, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Depending on the size of your family, you might use your whole share in a weekend, especially if you love vegetables and cooking. If you eat out often or use vegetables more sparingly in your meals you might find it difficult to finish your share in a week. Some Members enjoy juicing with their share.

Our Members are also invited to take advantage of the bounties of our season. We often find ourselves with a bumper crop, and make these items available to you as an additional “optional bonus” to your weekly share.

Can I get a half share? Or split it with a friend?
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Unfortunately, we do not sell half shares. You may of course split a share with someone, though we do not keep an official list of those who might be interested, nor do we pack half shares. You and your friend may consider alternating pickup weeks, or dividing shares amongst yourselves, either at the time of pickup or after.

Do you offer a California style, or à la carte CSA option?
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California style or à la carte CSA Programs offer a less structured style of CSA. They are a kind of pay-as-you-go program, allowing you to decide when you pick up and what goes into your share.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, we encourage you to check out our Balsam Farms Gift Cards. They can be used to purchase anything we sell at our Farm Stand and farmer’s markets, and can be a great alternative to our CSA Program. If Membership isn’t quite right for you, but you’d still like to support the farm and save money on food, our Gift Cards are a flexible way for you to receive some of the benefits of our CSA Program without becoming a Member. Similar to our CSA Program, our Gift Cards provide greater value than the cost of purchase. It’s our way of thanking you for paying in advance, and the more you spend the more you save! Gift Cards can be purchased through our website or in season at our Farm Stand or Montauk Market.

What if I don't like something in my share? Can I make substitutions?
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Diversity is important at Balsam Farms. We’re fortunate to farm in the growing region that we do, as it affords us the ability to grow a wide variety of crops all season long, many of which you won’t find in grocery stores. Trying new things is part of what being in a CSA Program is all about, and we encourage you to try everything we grow! Each week we’ll include recipes to help you make the most of your share and any vegetables you might not be so familiar with. If you are on a restricted diet, or we include something that truly doesn’t agree with you, you may choose to leave it behind.

Our farm is a very busy place! We harvest daily to supply our Farm Stand, Montauk Market, farmer’s markets, many local restaurants and food pantries, as well as our CSA Members with the freshest available produce. It’s a lot to keep track of! We carefully plan our harvests well ahead of time to make sure we have enough to go around. As such, substitutions are not included with your CSA share.

What if I need to change my pick up day?
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We plan our harvests with you in mind! As such, we ask that you stick to the pickup day of your choice for the duration of your Membership. If for any reason you need to change your pickup day, or if you will miss a pickup, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate. We may be able to arrange for you to pick up your share on another one of our designated CSA pickup days during the same week, or you may choose to have a friend pick up your share for you. The week’s share cannot be picked up after 4pm on Saturday.

How much does it cost?
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Prices vary depending on the options you choose. Once you begin choosing your options, prices will be calculated automatically.

Although the value of your weekly share will vary slightly, the items included in your share over the course of the season will have a retail value far greater than the cost of your Membership fee.

We also invite our Members to a 10% discount off any additional fresh produce purchased during their CSA pickup time.

What are some benefits of buying locally grown foods?
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Fresher food, open spaces, strengthened local economy, and a thriving agricultural community, just to name a few!

When you buy from local farmers instead of grocery stores, your food is noticeably fresher. It’s been grown right in your neighborhood by your neighbors, and hasn’t spent days on the back of a truck from another state, or passed through warehouses and distribution centers to get to you. Fresher food is better for you, as it retains more of its nutrients and flavor.

When you buy local you also help build a stronger local economy, as more of your dollars stay in the community, instead of going into big corporations’ bank accounts.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits is the relationship you have with your food and the farmers that grow it. We believe knowing the farms and farmers that grow the food you feed your family has great value. It allows you to know where your food comes from and how it’s grown, and you can talk openly with your farmers about any questions you have and learn the story behind your food.

When local farms and farmers are supported by their communities, we all reap the benefits. Having working farms in the community provides food and work for friends, neighbors, and visitors, and provides the beautiful open spaces that make us all proud to call the East End our home.

Are you an organic farm?
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While Balsam Farms is not a certified organic farm, we do grow all our produce, with the exception of our sweet corn, in accordance with organic principles. That means taking care of our soils and using amendments that have been approved for organic production by the Organic Materials Review Institute.

Our sweet corn is the only conventionally grown crop we grow, in fields separate from the rest of our crops. We do not grow any genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) crops at all, including our corn varieties.

In addition to the crops we grow, we are proud to partner with other quality local growers like Briermere Farms in Riverhead and The Milk Pail in Watermill to provide you a wide selection of the East End’s finest seasonal fruits like berries, peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, and more. While most of these crops are not grown organically, they are grown conscientiously with no excessive spraying, and sometimes none at all. After all, it requires valuable resources like time and money to spray, and no farmer wants to do it more often than is absolutely necessary. We stand by the quality and safety of all the produce we sell that is grown on other farms. If we didn’t have full confidence in these growers, we wouldn’t offer their produce.

Is the produce washed?
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Most of the produce grown on our farm is washed or rinsed, but we do encourage our customers to wash it again before consumption. We do our best to make sure your food is free from any foreign matter like excess soil, weeds, and insects, but we’re only human, and occasionally some things slip past us. We encourage you to inspect your food prior to purchase and at home. If you do happen to find a little dirt, consider it a feature of the authenticity of your food!

Can I pick my own vegetable or flowers?
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Unfortunately, we do not offer any pick-your-own harvesting. Much of the land we farm is leased to us by private landowners or preservation trusts. As such, we cannot invite the public into our fields for safety and legal reasons.

A 2018 Balsam Farms CSA basket