What does "CSA" mean?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. When you join as a member of our CSA program you’re making a commitment to local agriculture by sharing the risks and rewards of the farming season with us. Each week you'll arrive at the farm to pick up a box of fresh, seasonal produce grown by our farm crew. But it's more than just a box of veggies; by prepaying for your season's worth of fresh food, you’re helping us cover the cost of seeds and supplies we need early in the season, and in return we’ll reward you with the best variety and quality of produce we have to offer all season long!
Why should I join a CSA?
CSA’s are progressive partnerships that benefit both farmers and eaters. In return for your early-season commitment to the farm you’ll have access to local, high quality, organic produce – much of which isn’t available in stores – all season long. You’ll get to experience the story of your food by reading our weekly farm updates and feel the change of the seasons through your constantly evolving weekly box. Your weekly CSA share is beautifully arranged and is a great way to get more vegetables into your family’s diet and eat more meals with friends. By cooking with occasionally less-familiar vegetables you’ll become a better cook, and have the opportunity to try farmer-recommended recipes and share what you create with other members! CSA memberships also make a great gift – contact us about setting up a share for a friend, family member, or client.
How much does it cost?
- 4th of July - Labor Day weekend (10 weeks; $550)
- Memorial Day - Labor Day weekend (15 weeks; $750)
- Memorial Day - Columbus Day weekend (20 weeks; $875)
- Memorial - Thanksgiving week (26 weeks; $1,050)
- For a peek at last year’s boxes and recipes, click here.
Is Amber Waves Farm organic?
Although the farm is not USDA Certified Organic, we follow the organic regulations outlined in the Northeast Organic Farmers Association Farmers Pledge that dictate the application of chemicals and maintenance of healthy soils and bio-diverse systems.
Will the vegetables in my box already be washed?
Yes, your vegetables will already be harvested, washed, and packed into your box when you pick up. Although we pre-wash everything, the occasional insect or pocket of soil sneaks by us – this is one of the joys of being a part of an organic farm. Just rinse and move on!
What if I can’t pick up my box or need to change my pickup day?
We offer three weekly pickup times to try to accommodate our members' busy schedules. We ask that you do your best to make it to the farm within the pick-up window on your given pickup day. We know life gets in the way, and although your CSA membership is the center of our life at the farm, it's not necessarily the center of yours! So, here's our policy that aims to work around our members, limit food waste as much as possible, and avoid a logistical nightmare for the farmers!:
If you know you are going to miss a pickup day or need to change your pickup day: you can email us in advance to change your pickup day to another day that week (or if you'd like to change your day for the rest of the season). Please let us know by Sunday night if you won't be picking up on Tuesday, or Wednesday night if you won't be picking up on Friday or Saturday. You may always send a friend to pick up your box in your place without telling us ahead of time (many people give their box to a friend if they are out of town). If you know you won't be there to pick up at any point in the week, and also don't want to have a friend pick up in your place, you may request a "double box" for the following week. This is a special new program we are trying out, and to ensure this policy isn't abused, you may use this "double box" privilege twice throughout the season.
If you miss a pickup and don't tell us ahead of time: (try not to do this) but we know it happens. If you have missed your pickup and would like to reschedule for another day that week, we will make another box for you. However, we can't guarantee your add-on shares, which were already purchased and delivered on your behalf on your missed day. If you've missed your box and can't pick up within that week you may take advantage of the "double box" option for the following week (on two occasions), but again we cannot guarantee your add-on shares.
If you know you're going to miss your pickup, but don't necessarily want to reschedule or give it to a friend, please also let us know and we will donate the value of your share that week to the food pantry.
What are some examples of a weekly box? How big is it?
Each weekly box contains between 9-12 items with a strong mix of leafy greens and heavier solid foods. We aim to include in each box at least one of each of: a cooking green, salad green, root vegetable, allium (onion, garlic, etc.), herbs, cucumbers or zucchinis, peppers or eggplant, tomatoes as soon as they’re ready, and other specialty items. We grow nearly 300 varieties of fruits and vegetables on the farm and no two boxes throughout the season will be the same. In the spring there are plenty of luscious greens, in the summer we’re swimming in tomatoes and eggplant, and in the fall we love sweet potatoes and winter squash. If your family cooks a lot and loves vegetables you may get through the box in a weekend, but if you go out to eat often or only dabble in using vegetables in your meals you may have a hard time finishing it in a week. Some people juice nearly the entire box instead of cooking with it! No matter how you choose to use your box you’re getting a great value: the retail price of the box is higher than what our members pay – and the quality and variety is unparalleled (check out the Member Perks, and here’s a look at last year’s boxes.)
Each week we select what goes in the box based on what looks the best in the field, what we have in abundance, what we think our members will be excited about, or something new that we're excited about that we want you to get excited about (we SWEAR kohlrabi is awesome and we promise to give you less of it and give you more ideas of how to use it!). Eating seasonally can feel redundant: you're buried in greens in the spring, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers in the summer, and sweet potatoes in the fall. While making our crop plan, we have to make sure there's enough of something, (eggplant, for example) to be freshly picked for 175 families in a given week, so we plant the necessary amount to fulfill that need. But week after week...after week...there's still eggplant to be harvested and eaten! This is part of the deal when you belong to a CSA - you get more than what you pay for, but dealing with abundance and excess is sometimes more of a challenge than scarcity. Even so, how on earth could we keep 175 families happy with the very same box each week? And yet, by providing too much choice for our members, we would likely waste time and space on food that members didn't choose on any given week, and also miss the opportunity to encourage you to try something new that you might just love. We also try to balance our field efficiency and labor by growing things our members love that are very labor-intensive (tomatoes!) with our farmer favorites that are easier to grow and also so good for you (bok choy!) You see our predicament? There's so much for us to consider! This season, we'll pack boxes as we always have, but we'll include more choices of a few items for members to select from in addition to the base box. We'll get member feedback as we go and do our best to keep everyone happy. Finally, there are a few Long Island specialties that we don't grow but we carry in our store and we don't want you to miss out on, so from time to time you'll receive a special guest appearance of corn or potatoes grown by our farmer neighbors.
What if I don’t like something in my box?
We celebrate variety and biodiversity at Amber Waves Farm, which means testing new crops in our fields and sharing them with you – some of these items can’t be found in a grocery store. We offer weekly recipes for the best way to use that week’s share and the less familiar items you may encounter. We call these new and sometimes unfamiliar items “opportunity vegetables” (because you have an opportunity to learn to love it... #lovetheoneyourewith) We encourage you to try everything at least once (maybe twice?) because it might become your new favorite – and that’s the fun of being a member in a CSA! If there is a vegetable that truly doesn’t agree with you, you may leave it behind. We have been refining our crop planning for a decade, and we do our best to listen to our members through conversations and surveys to see what they like best. If you know you are a very picky eater, a CSA is probably not the best model for you, and that's okay, too!
Can I get a half-share or split a share with someone?
You are welcome to share a share with a friend – but we do not pack “half-boxes” or offer "half-shares." We suggest you find a friend and either alternate pickup weeks, divide your share with a friend after pickup, or arrive at the farm at the same time to divide the share. We don't offer half shares because of the considerable administrative work associated with managing the CSA program. In order to make the CSA model viable for the farm, the price per share has to be the full share amount. We're sorry for this inconvenience.
What if I can’t pay all at once?
We will happily work with you to figure out a payment plan that works for your family. Amber Waves Farm is a community farm, and everybody deserves access to local, high quality, healthy food. Please email us at CSA@AmberWavesFarm.org for more details.
What is there to do at the farm?
The farm is open to the public so we encourage people to walk the fields, visit the chickens, and make a stop in our farm market. On weekend mornings from 9-10am we offer Chores with a Farmer, which is free and open to the public. Here where children have the opportunity to help out with animal chores, watering, and weeding. As a member, you'll also have access to the U-Pick sections of the field as a part of your membership, where you'll have the choice to pick raspberries, herbs, flowers, cherry tomatoes, and more delicious treats!
Can I volunteer at the farm?
Yes! Throughout the season there will be pre-scheduled volunteer days. We will send reminders about upcoming volunteer days in our weekly CSA newsletters and have the dates posted on our website in the calendar of events. If you're interested in a job at the farm, please let us know, we have positions available for many ages and skill levels.
How can my kids participate at the farm?
Your family can visit the farm any day between 8-5 to walk around the fields and visit the chickens. On Saturday and Sunday mornings we offer Chores with a Farmer from 9-10am, which is free and open to the public.
I want to keep my wooden CSA box! Can I?
You can buy a new one! Let us know if you’d like a box (or a few) and we’ll build it for you! We build our CSA boxes by hand in the spring and we need you to return your box each week so we can keep up with packing shares for other members – so please remember to bring last week’s box to pickup!
New in 2018, here are some new things we're working on:
- More vegetable choice at pick-ups (see our thought process in the weekly box description above).
- More advanced-notice of what's in the box in the coming week so you can plan your shopping.
- An extra hour to pick up your box on Tuesday and Saturday mornings (8am-noon)
- Compostable "plastic" packaging; produce lasts so well in plastic, which cuts down on food waste, but we're aiming to cut our single-use plastic consumption all over the farm this year.
- Constantly evolving our crop list to reflect members' preferences and survey responses.
- New member perks (click here for the full list).
- Have another tip for us? Shoot us an email to CSA@AmberWavesFarm.org.
Still haven't found the answer you're looking for? Email us at CSA@AmberWavesFarm.org