Suggestions and advice on local CSAs?

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

Carrie emails:

Wondering if you guys could do another post on CSA's this year...? I know you did one in 2009, I remember every time I search for updates and that comes up. And the Times Union did something in 2013. But this seems like a growing thing, and (I hope) there have been some new ones and some changes to old ones?

CSA stands for "community supported agriculture" (people also refer to them as farm shares). The way they basically work: People the farm upfront at the start of the growing season and then they get a batch of farm produce at some interval (usually weekly) throughout the season.

This is currently prime time for CSA signs-ups, and many of them fill up.

As those links above indicate, there are a bunch of CSA options in the Capital Region. So... have one you'd recommend? Any advice on picking one that's a good fit for a household? Tips on working through all that produce each week? Thoughts on sharing a share with another household?

If you have suggestions for any of those questions, please share! And as always, a sentence or two about why're suggesting something can be a big help.

Comments

Great topic. I'd also be interested in whether there are any CSAs that deliver within a reasonable range for an additional fee if necessary.

We have loved our CSA from Lansing Farm in Niskayuna for years. Al, the owner, is always generous and accommodating. They offer both half and full shares, and you can add on eggs or milk too. Fruit is included!

Unfortunately and fortunately, we won't have a Lansing Farm CSA this year since we moved to Clifton Park. We will miss them, but we are already so thrilled with our new CSA - Denison Farm. We haven't started the season with them yet, but we did get a winter box - A-MAZ-ING. Justine is so nice, and they have a ton of pick up locations. Very convenient. Can't wait for June!

We've enjoyed The Alleged Farm for a few years now. Great produce and lots of pickup locations. http://www.theallegedfarm.com/

This is not a CSA suggestion, but a reminder that if you want to grow your own, this is the month to sign up for a community garden plot with Capital Roots. 51 gardens around the Capital Region with plots for the low, low price of $30 ($60 for unusually large plots). This map shows locations and the green symbol indicates where there are available plots.
http://www.capitalroots.org/programs/community/map-of-gardens/

Lots of support for new gardeners -- free classes, seeds. Here is how to sign up: http://www.capitalroots.org/programs/community/how-to-get-a-garden-plot/

Still big fans of Roxbury Farm. That said, the quantity of food during the harvest season really required us to eat at home pretty much every night. So we made the decision last year to split the share with another family.

Instead of trying to split each week's bounty in two, we looked at the calendar and divided the weeks.

Regrettably, my CSA parter had planned a move out of town for the 2016 season. But it was such a successful experiment that I found a new partner, and am once again eagerly awaiting the first local produce of the season.

My office subscribes to Field Goods, which delivers local produce on a weekly basis. There are also several public drop off locations if you don't work at an office with enough interest.

We used Denison Farm for several years before doing a community garden plot. They are so nice, they give you helpful tips for produce you may not be familiar with, and they at least used to have some payment options.

Suggestions for dealing with all that stuff: plan to triage your produce as soon as you get home with the box. I used to take out all the lettuces, herbs, and greens right away and either blanch and freeze or bag and store in the fridge. I also used to wait to do any other grocery shopping until after I saw what was in the box, that way I could meal plan around the produce and make sure I didn't waste anything.

It can be overwhelming but if you take some time to make a plan you will have so much good food!

We had a great experience with Red Oak Farm. We loved the ability to select our options from what they had available!

http://www.redoakfarmny.com/Home.php

Great people as well!

Homestead Farm was sold (Rich & Linda are taking a well-deserved retirement!) and is now called Laughing Earth with Zach and Annie.

http://www.laughingearth.farm/

My neighbor was subscribing to FieldGoods so that's how I ended up with them and I think they're great.

You can select a public location to pick up from~ they have various public locations that they drop off at during the week. Depending on the area you select, your pick up could be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, etc. The Friday before they send an email that lists the produce that will be in your bag the next week (sometimes there are non-produce items like honey, maple syrup, oils, apple cider, which are so great!). Your bag comes with a paper that lists a few recipe ideas for the produce and their website also list recipes. They have a range of subscriptions, starting from a "single" subscription, which has worked for my partner and I. And if you know that you'll be on vacation, you have the option in your online account to select certain weeks you want to skip your order.

My husband and I have been doing a CSA with Fox Creek Farm for the past few years, and we couldn't be happier! The produce is amazing, they have several pickup locations (we meet them at the Co-op), and Raymond and Sara are great people. They send an email on Monday night to let you know what to expect in your share that week and also to update you on events during the season, like the garlic festival which we love to participate in! We also love that they have a U-Pick at the farm full of herbs, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, flowers and other small things that you can enjoy anytime you get out to the farm.
http://www.foxcreekfarmcsa.com/

We're also trying R'eisen Shine's meat CSA this year for the first time. Nothing to report yet, but we have high hopes! http://reisenshinefarm.blogspot.com/?_sm_au_=iVVDMsJS6FvVPZ6T

We follow the same route as Daniel B - Roxbury Farms has been great. Easy walkable pickup location in the Helderberg neighborhood. Plentiful enough that we split it with another family on alternating weeks.

A bit further afield, but I also meant to mention Schoharie Fresh for those in Schoharie County. You select/order products online by Wednesday for pickup on Friday in Cobleskill, Central Bridge, or Schoharie. There are a wide variety of farm goods, including meat, honey, yarn, baked goods, and holiday specials.

http://www.schohariefresh.com/index.php

Homestead Farms has an excellent variety, plus flowers pasture raised meats all grown/raised on their farm in Cropseyville (just east of Troy).

http://www.homesteadfarms.info/products

I'll second Jennifer's recommendation for Fox Creek Farm. They're great on all levels: convenience of pick-ups, quality/quanity/variety of food each week, the U-pick farm is awesome, etc. etc. And Raymond is one funny dude.

I am also having a great experience with Field Goods. I appreciate the many, easy, options to personalize a subscription, with several different sizes of bags available; the option to add on a number of different items (one time only, or on an ongoing basis); and the option to place the subscription on hold.

I love Foxtail Community Farm--been with them for more than 3 years now. They have shares year round, including fruit, fresh eggs (and duck eggs), chickens, and other goodies from the farm stand. Pickup is in and around Albany and convenient.

http://www.foxtailcommunityfarm.com/

Homestead Farms CSA in Cropseyville has transitioned to Laughing Earth Farm CSA. Zack and Annie, the new generation farmers, are great and their produce is wonderful. Plus great pasture raised chickens.

Another vote for Roxbury. They are consistent, generous, and responsive to members.

We've participated in The Alleged Farm CSA (http://www.theallegedfarm.com/) for 12 years, living in both the Hudson/Park and Pine Hills neighborhoods of Albany. Great pick-up locations, a weekly letter with the vegetable list, recipes/cooking suggestions, and an essay by the farmer (which is one of my favorite things to read each week).

We've gone back and forth between keeping the entire share and splitting it with another family. Our family of 5 wanted a bit more when we split last year, so we're going back to our own share this year. It's been great and made our kids love all kinds of vegetables they otherwise wouldn't have tried (like kohlrabi).

I joined the CSA offered by the Regional Food Bank a few years ago, and I love it because they have half shares, and the veggies are always great - added bonus is that unclaimed shares are donated to the food bank.

SoulFire Farm is a great option! They have a fantastic CSA and do incredible work to end food apartheid (known to some as food desserts) in the Capital Region. You will also have a lot of opportunities to directly interact with the people who grow your food by way of work days, solstice parties and educational immersion opportunities. To summarize, they are AWESOME! Their website is www.soulfirefarm.com

Here's their mission statement from their website:

"Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. We raise life-giving food and act in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination."

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + We gave away tickets for this year's Champagne on the Park by asking:... (more)

Today's moment of spring

Pretty sweet... for a crabapple.... (more)

Go see the tulips, don't wait

Important news: The Washington Park tulip beds are blooming. As of Friday afternoon we'd say about 65 percent of the tulips were in bloom, and... (more)

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Troy Music Hall

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will be at the Troy Music Hall October 7 for a show. Tickets go on sale... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

On your marks. Get set. Weekend. Before you go out, be sure and have rain boots, sun screen, and a heavy sweater handy -- this... (more)

Recent Comments

I feel that when people don't confront inappropriate behavior it sends a signal that it is tolerated. I often speak up in situations like these, depending on my reading of the situation. If we consider ourselves part of a community we all have a role to play in signaling what is and isn't appropriate behavior.

Thinking about affordable housing in Albany

...has 6 comments, most recently from Jeff D

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 3 comments, most recently from KGB

The Fort Orange General Store is re-opening

...has 5 comments, most recently from Rich

Today's moment of spring

...has 1 comment, most recently from jsc

Old trees out, new trees soon

...has 1 comment, most recently from jsc