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Resources: Buffalo / WNY 2016 CSA Guide



 

Who can resist early produce when the Western New York weather breaks? The joy of eating fresh green asparagus or red-flecked rhubarb in May may only be matched by the enthusiasm one feels for June’s first strawberries.

Much goes on behind the scenes before local produce makes its way into the hands of consumers. A farmer must plant and then faithfully tend crops before he can pluck them from the ground. Now picture that farmer selecting the best from his fields for your enjoyment, and carefully packaging it for you to savor at home. This is a reality that many Western New Yorkers have made part of their lifestyle thanks to the CSA (community supported agriculture) business model.

The premise of a CSA is simple. A farmer offers shares of produce to the public in exchange for a flat fee. Most often, members receive a bag or box of vegetables weekly through the summer and fall months. Members enjoy many benefits from participation in a CSA, beginning with cost-effective access to fresh, local, and often sustainably raised produce. The cost savings may be significant. For example, Porter Farms estimates that members will pay, on average, less than $1.80 per pound for the local organic produce they receive through their CSA shares.

Perhaps most importantly, CSAs make us think about the sources of our food. Individuals and families develop a relationship with farmers and learn more about how their food is grown. Some members pick up their shares on-site at the farm, while others use delivery and alternative pickup locations. Members often visit their CSA farm to take part in events like u-pick specials and potluck dinners.

Farmers benefit from this arrangement as well. With commitments in hand before the harvest begins, farms are able to focus on raising the best crops possible, rather than trying to find buyers for their goods after the harvest. Data collected in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that 12,617 farms in the United States reported marketing products through a CSA arrangement. This number reflects steady growth since records have been kept. Clearly, both consumers and farmers see the positive results of this mutually beneficial relationship.

Every CSA is different—farms carry a variety of crops, sell their shares in different sizes, and provide different drop-off and pick-up options. It’s wise to evaluate your family’s produce consumption before picking a CSA that is best for you. To that end, here is Spree’s 2016 roadmap to the area’s CSA farms.

 

Arden Farm—East Aurora

2016 share schedule: June 7–October 18

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup; city drop off in Buffalo on Tuesdays, 5–7 p.m.

Share size/cost: Large share: $790; small share: $590

Sign-up information: Via mail, telephone, email

Crop details: Sustainably grown, with a variety of vegetables and fruits; orchestration of weekly offerings focuses on helping create complete meals.

Owner: Daniel Roelofs

Contact: 341-1268; ardenfarmer@gmail.com; theardenfarm.com

 

Becker Farms—Gasport

2016 share schedule: June 15- last week of October

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup Fridays and drop offs in North Tonawanda, Niagara Falls, and Lewiston 4–6 p.m.; drop offs in East Amherst and Lockport on Thursdays 4–6 p.m.; drop offs in Buffalo, Amherst, and Tonawanda 4–6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Share size/cost: Large share $800; small share $420; 10 deliveries of large share $420; 10 deliveries of small share $240

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: CSA members receive a mix of produce and can upgrade their share by adding on baked goods, jams, beer, and wine from the Vizcarra Vineyards portion of the farm.

Owner: The Vizcarra family

Contact:  772-2211; beckerfarms.com  

 

Canticle Farm—Allegany

2016 share schedule: Begins June 14

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays, 2–6 p.m.

Share size/cost: Varies; small share $345; large share $645

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: A wide selection of naturally and sustainably raised produce

Owner: Franciscan Sisters of Allegany

Contact: 373-0200, ext. 3358; office@canticlefarm.org; canticlefarm.org 

 

Farm This Way—Brant

2016 share schedule: Begins May 25

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.; drop offs in Blasdell on Wednesdays.

Share size/cost: Price varies depending on the size and length of membership, $495–935

Sign-up information: Visit website or call

Crop details: As commercial growers, the farm offers a great deal of variety, including vegetables, some fruit, and flowers.

Owner: Marty and Carolyn Rosiek

Contact: 549-1038; farmthisway.com

 

Fenton’s Produce—Batavia

2016 share schedule: June 14–November 3

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2–7 p.m.

Share size/cost: Full share $425; half share $250

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: A variety of vegetables and blueberries with options to select what you would like.

Owner: Paul and Gail Fenton

Contact: 585-343-9491; fentonfarm@aol.com; fentonsproduce.com 

 

Harvest Patch—Sheldon

2016 share schedule: Begins mid-July

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; drop off in East Aurora on Thursdays, 5–7 p.m.

Share size/Cost: $375; see website for details and other options

Sign-up Information: Visit website

Crop Details: In addition to vegetable shares, members may add on chicken, egg, and flower shares.

Owner: Joseph and Amy Meyer, Ashley Meyer Howe

Contact: 585-322-3106; mrsashleyhowe@gmail.com; harvestpatch.com

 

Native Offerings—Little Valley

2016 share schedule: June–October

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, Wednesdays, 3–7 p.m.; drop offs in Buffalo on Thursdays, 4–7 p.m., in Orchard Park on Tuesdays, 3:30–6:30 p.m., and in Amherst on Wednesdays, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

Share size/cost: Full summer share $660; small share $440; individual share $310; see website for details and other options

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: A huge variety of fresh root vegetables, greens, herbs, squash, and more; fruit shares, beef, and pork are also available.

Owner: Stew and Deb Ritchie

Contact: 257-3006; csa@nativeofferings.com; nativeofferings.com

 

Plato Dale Farm—Arcade

2016 share schedule: May-October

Share pick-up information: Drop offs take place at farmers markets located around Erie and Niagara Counties on Thursdays 3 - 7 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Share size/cost: Shares range from $100–$600; email or contact with questions

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: A wide variety of vegetables and fruits; beef and poultry are also available.

Owner: Kent and Laura Miller

Contact: 913-1351; platodalefarm.org

 

Porter Farms—Elba

2016 share schedule: Begin mid-June

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup from 9–11 a.m. on Saturdays plus drop off at various locations in and around Buffalo and Rochester.

Share size/cost: Pick-up: $400; delivery $425

Sign-up information: No deadline, accepts check by mail; visit website for information

Crop details: A wide variety of organic seasonal vegetables, with a focus on keeping prices affordable for members

Owner: The Porter family

Contact: 585-757-6823; porterfarmscsa@gmail.com; porterfarms.org

 

Promised Land—Corfu

2016 share schedule: May–October

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup on Thursdays from 4 - 6:30 p.m., plus drop off on Tuesdays in Snyder, 3–5:30 p.m; Depew and E. Amherst, 4–6 p.m.; and in Lancaster, 6–8 p.m.; also Thursdays in Buffalo, 4–6 p.m.

Share size/cost: $550 per season

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: Promised Land offers a wide variety of sustainably raised produce, as well as add-ons for egg and tree fruit shares.  Meat shares are not available at this time, but meat is available for purchase via email.

Owner: Daniel and Jane Oles and the Oles family

Contact: 585-599-3462; promisedlandcsa@gmail.com; promisedlandcsa.com

 

Root Down Farm—Clarence 

2016 share schedule: June to early November

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, Mondays or Thursdays, 2–6:30 p.m.

Share size/cost: Large share $575; small share $325. Sign-up for 2016 season is full, but you can still be added to the 2016 waiting list.

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: Sustainable practices are in place for over 200 varieties of produce; spring greens, fruit, and juicing shares also available.

Owner: Steve Blabac and Erin Grimley

Contact: 949-1204; csa@therootdownfarm.com; therootdownfarm.com

 

Sinemus Farms—Elba

2016 share schedule: Begins in late June and runs until November

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup Thursdays after 3 p.m., or drop off locations, which include Town of Tonawanda, City of Tonawanda, and Wheatfield

Share size/cost: Pick-up: $395

Sign-up information: Via mail, telephone, or online

Crop details: A wide variety of organic seasonal vegetables and organic heirloom sweet cherries

Owner: Sinemus Family

Contact: 940-1386; support@sinemusfarms.com; sinemusfarms.com

 

Thorpe’s Organic—East Aurora

2016 share schedule: Begins in June runs until late October/early November depending on weather.

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

Share size/cost: Varies depending on when shareholders join (average for large $650; small $515)

Sign-up information: Visit website

Crop details: Growing organic certified vegetables; shares have the bonus of citrus from the family’s grove in Florida; fruit shares, chicken, pork, grains, organic raw cane sugar, maple syrup, baked goods, and more available.

Owner: The Thorpe family

Contact: 655-4486; thorpesorganicfamilyfarm.com

 

Wildwood CSA at McCollum Orchard—Lockport

2016 share schedule: 20 weeks; mid-June–late October

Share pick-up information: On-farm pickup, Thursdays, 2–7 p.m.

Share size/cost: Full share $535; half share $310; extra greens $75

Sign-up information: Visit website, application by mail. Sign-up for 2016 season is full, but sign-up for a priority list for the 2017 season is open.  

Crop details: Seventy varieties of vegetables and fruit. Farming without use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Local fruit, bread, and meat for sale during pickup.

Owner: Rich and Bree Woodbridge

Contact: 730-0703; mccollumorcahrds@gmail.com; oldfarmnewlife.com

 

 

Nina Barone is a freelance writer and the blogger behind BuffaloFoodie.com.

Starting a CSA or know of one in WNY we missed? We update this guide online, so please email details to yum@buffalospree.com.

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