Farm-Fresh Local Food: CSAs get flexible with new features like choose-your-own produce, special add-ons and sliding-scale prices.

 

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Education Manager Ellie Limpert in one of three high tunnels at Poughkeepsie Farm Project

When people join a CSA (community supported agriculture) program—paying a local farm up-front for a season-long supply of produce—everybody wins. The farm benefits from the early investment. Members benefit from the nutritious produce (typically fresh picked and chemical free). The local economy benefits, and so does the environment (no toxic pesticides or long-haul trucks).

Buying produce through a CSA can also be cost-effective, especially now that many farms offer flexible plans that allow customers to buy just what they need. Best of all, CSAs build relationships between farmers and the neighbors they feed. CSAs are about community above all else.

Planting season is here, which means CSA signups have begun. Here are a few local farms that offer CSA programs.

 

Fable: From Farm to Table
fableLocated in historic Ossining, Fable is a farm and food hub dedicated to sustainable agriculture. The farm grows produce using organic practices and has pasture-raised chickens its CSA members can meet and feed.

“We believe that through dedication, hard work and modern technological advancements in agriculture, we can provide the freshest produce all year round without the use of harmful pesticides,” says owner Tom Deacon.

Last year Fable introduced its new CSA Farm Card, “with great reviews,” Deacon says. CSA members purchase a Farm Card that they can spend like cash throughout the year in the farm’s market, choosing their own produce—as much or as little as they’d like—over the course of the growing season. Weekly selections are simply subtracted from their credit balance.

A CSA membership helps support the farm during the colder months, and allows us to prepare for an abundant spring and summer harvest,” Deacon says.

Cost: $250-$1,000 for a CSA Farm Card.

What’s included? With the Farm Card, CSA members can purchase any item in Fable’s Market, including produce, eggs, honey and milk. The market is open on weekends year-round, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fable: From Farm to Table, 1311 Kitchawan Rd., Ossining, NY. Info: FableFoods.com.

 

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
harvest20moonHarvest Moon Farm and Orchard, a family-owned and -operated apple orchard in North Salem, grows a variety of stone fruits and vegetables that it sells in its Farm Store and through its CSA. The owners, first-generation farmers, have expanded their harvest every year since opening for business in 2011.

“We are passionate about what we do,” says CSA Manager Todd Stevens. “Simply put, our goal is to supply our community with the freshest produce possible, directly from the farmer.” Harvest Moon grows its food using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, which means that organic fertilizers and pest controls are used whenever possible. All of Harvest Moon’s produce is planted and harvested by hand.

Cost: $325-$810. Customers can choose between 13-week and 18-week seasons, and half- or full-bushel shares.

What’s included? Produce typically available includes lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, melons, peppers, beets, corn, onions, squashes, apples, eggplant and potatoes. Each box includes a dozen farm-fresh eggs, and fresh-pressed sweet cider as available. CSA add-ons include milk, cheese and/or beef shares. A flower add-on includes a fresh, farm-grown bouquet every week for 12 weeks.

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, 130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem, NY. Info: 914.485.1210, HarvestMoonFarmAndOrchard.com.

 

Poughkeepsie Farm Project
projectPoughkeepsie Farm Project—a 12-acre organic farm whose produce is Certified Naturally Grown—has been connecting food, farm and community for 20 years.

“Not only are we a CSA operating on an urban farm, but we also annually donate 20 percent of our harvest to emergency food providers in the Hudson Valley,” says Ray Armater, executive director. “So in addition to supporting local, small-scale farming, our CSA members are also supporting the organization’s greater mission in the region.”

The farm’s flexible CSA model allows members to select their share size and the items in their share. They can also work with the farm crew for a discounted share, and go out into the fields to pick their own flowers, berries, cherry tomatoes, herbs, hot peppers and other produce. “Pick-your-own allows members and their families to engage with the farm, and it’s a great way for kids to get hands-on with helping to harvest and taste,” Armater says.

The CSA is unique in the amount of flexibility and choice it offers while still staying true to a traditional CSA model, he adds. Members can select 5 or 10 items from a choice of 14 to 20 different items each week. Produce is arranged farmers market-style, and is always harvested fresh and at peak ripeness for maximum nutrition and flavor.

Cost: $445-$885 for a weekly whole or half share (generally 12 to 18 pounds) for a 23-week season. Discounts for work share option.

What’s included? Produce throughout the season, with fruit shares available July through November and the option to purchase locally raised, grass-fed beef from Back Paddock Farm.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project, 51 Vassar Farm Ln., Poughkeepsie, NY. Info: 845.516.1100, FarmProject.org.

 

Ryder Farm
ryderCSA members at Ryder Farm, in Brewster, are helping support one of the oldest organic farms on the East Coast, as well as the larger mission of SPACE on Ryder Farm, a residency program for artists and activists. SPACE, which now oversees farm operations, will host a special “happy hour” pickup party for the first pickup of each month at the farm, where CSA members can mingle with each other and SPACE’s resident artists. A new, sliding-scale CSA has been introduced to ensure memberships are accessible to everyone in the community.

“We recognize that not everyone has access to the monetary resources to receive good, fresh food, but together with our CSA members, we have the capacity to make this possible,” says Farm Manager Doug DeCandia. “So starting this year, with our sliding scale membership, folks who can pay more do, while folks who cannot, pay what they can.”

Cost: $320-$1,150 for weekly or every other week shares, which can be picked up at Ryder Farm or in New York City. Sliding-scale price options available.

What’s included? Organic herbs and vegetables “from A to Z,” plus art created by friends and alumni of SPACE’s artist residency programs.

Ryder Farm, 406 Starr Ridge Rd., Brewster, NY. Info: 646.833.8159, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/farm.

 

 

 

Ryder Farm Changes Management: SPACE assumes operations as Betsey Ryder retires

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SPACE on Ryder Farm interns with organic produce and plants to be sold starting in May

SPACE on Ryder Farm, the residency program for artists and activists, has assumed management of the organic farming operations at Ryder Farm, succeeding Betsey Ryder of Ryder Farm Cottage Industries, who retired at the end of the 2018 growing season after 40 years of farming. As part of the management shift, SPACE has launched a sliding-scale CSA (community supported agriculture) program.

Located on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster, Ryder Farm is one of the oldest family farms in the Northeast, first established by Eleazer Ryder in 1795. It was an early adopter in the organic movement. Betsey Ryder has been growing organic vegetables, herbs and flowers on the farm since 1978, following in the footsteps of her cousin Hall Gibson and five generations of Ryders before her. Betsey maintained the farm’s presence at the local Brewster market, as well as a robust CSA program, and worked to keep the farm’s 127 acres from being sold for development.

Keeping a Legacy Alive
Emily Simoness, a seventh-generation Ryder, co-founded SPACE in 2011 along with Susan Goodwillie. They created the nonprofit with the two-fold mission of providing time and space for artists and innovators to develop new work, while contributing to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of Ryder Farm.

Located on the grounds of the 224-year-old family homestead, SPACE creates an environment singular in its ability to invigorate artists and innovators and their work, says Simoness, its executive director. Each year, SPACE welcomes nearly 150 artists and activists to the farm for fully subsidized residencies of one to five weeks.

“Since SPACE’s founding, art and agriculture have been in concert on Ryder Farm,” she says. “At a time when family farms are being lost across the country due to economic pressures and the lack of succession plans, SPACE is deeply committed to ensuring Ryder Farm is still farming in another 224 years.”

“Emily arrived to the farm and saw the inspiration inherent in this land and created a vehicle for others to engage in the nurturing and cultivation of their craft,” says Betsey Ryder. “I am lifted by the enthusiasm of SPACE for taking on our agricultural legacy. I am confident that SPACE will grow upon the agricultural base and carry Ryder Farm to new heights.”

What’s New on the Farm
Farmers Jason McCartney and Doug DeCandia will lead farm operations at SPACE. As director of farming, McCartney brings nearly a decade of experience from across the East Coast, including Brookwood Community Farm in Massachusetts and Matunuck Farm in Rhode Island. Farm Manager DeCandia has worked extensively with the Food Bank for Westchester (now known as Feeding Westchester) as both a farmer and a food justice activist. He also previously worked at Ryder Farm in 2010, and says he’s happy to be returning now to work with SPACE.

In addition to stocking SPACE’s residency kitchen, produce from Ryder Farm will be available via sliding-scale CSA memberships. Weekly shares of vegetables and herbs will be available for pickup at the farm and in New York City from June to October. SPACE also will sell produce weekly at Ryder Farm’s roadside stand on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster.

To sign up for a 2019 CSA membership, visit SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/farm or, en Español, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/granja. For more info, visit SpaceOnRyderFarm.org.

 

 

Circle of Poison, Showing in Katonah on August 2, 2017

static1.squarespace.comOn August 2, the Katonah Village Library will host a free screening of Circle of Poison, the second in a series of documentaries demonstrating the connection between our food and the natural world. The goal of the library’s Food on Film series is to explore the importance of biodiverse, sustainable farming and the effects of industrial and ecological agriculture on the health of people and the planet.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the accessible lower-level Garden Room. There will be an introduction, light refreshments and “meet the farmers” session before the screening, and a Q&A session afterward.

Guest speakers will include Doug Decandia of Bionutrient Food and Farming Group, food growing project coordinator at the Food Bank of Westchester; Deb Taft of Mobius Fields; and Jeff Cordulack, director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. The series coordinator is Michele Durivage.

The third movie in the series, Queen of the Sun: What the Bees Are Telling Us, will be shown September 13.

Katonah Village Library is located at 26 Bedford Rd., Katonah, NY. For more info, call 914.232.3508, email katref@wlsmail.org or visit KatonahLibrary.org.