CSA Member Handbook

Posted by on May 21 2008 |

What you can expect from HOG:
To get ultra-fresh, organic food, with all the vitamin and mineral benefits
To be exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
To develop a relationship with the farmers who grow your food
To have the opportunity to learn about organic farming, beekeeping, food preservation, and seasonal availability here on Long Island
To meet other members who value fresh organic produce as much as you do, and share in a new community of people devoted to preserving local farming practices.

What does CSA mean, and how does it work?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a unique agreement between a farmer and their customers. Each year, you pay up in the spring for a weekly basket of produce from the end of May through the end of October. As a member of this CSA you are joining with the farmers in both the risks (crop failure, disease, bad weather, weeds) and benefits (bountiful crops, recipes, variety, direct relationship with the farmer, and access to u-pick items) associated with farming. Your share will vary from week to week, and there is no guarantee of the amounts or content of your share. You, the community members, show your support and trust for the HOG by paying in advance for vegetables-this allows us to have a steadier income stream, money at the beginning of the season when we need it most, and a strong, personal relationship with the people buying our vegetables. In return as a member you receive the freshest, most local organic produce possible, as well as a close relationship with your farmer and the land it is grown on. You enjoy delicious food while helping to preserve open space and native wild species in Brookhaven Hamlet.

Just as we grow a diversity of vegetables, over the years we have grown in our diversity of markets. In addition to the CSA, the farm fields grow food for a variety of health food stores, restaurants, and farmer’s markets. This diversity of venues for our produce allows us to keep the cost of the CSA low, while also providing flexibility for community members who want to eat freash, local produce, but may not want to commit to the whole CSA share.

The HOG is truly a community supported farm, we have lots of potluck dinners, workdays, and seasonal festivals to help foster this community of families.

Please don’t expect all your produce to come from the HOG
Depending on the size of your family and how much you cook, you may find that you need to supplement fruits or vegetables. We encourage you to still buy local organic produce! CSA members get a 10% discount at our Bellport Farmstand (Saturdays 9am-12:30pm next to It’s Only Natural 118 South Country Road, Bellport May-October) and our stand at the Rocky Point Farmer’s Market (corner of Prince and Broadway, Rocky Point, May-November)

If you are not used to eating seasonally, do some research.
If you are not accustomed to eating seasonally, you may find that it takes a while to make a transition from eating whatever is at the grocery store (pretty much everything) to whatever is in your HOG share (what’s in season). It may surprise you to find that strawberries only last a few weeks in June, and that tomatoes do not ripen until August! You should expect the season to start off lighter (literally!) than it finishes. The HOG’s first crops will be salad greens, peas, green onions and the like. By the end of the season, your share will be much heavier, with things like winter squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli. Check out the weekly HOG Trough for a list of what produce to expect when. It’s worth reading!

What is the HOG Trough?
Every week we send out the HOG Trough, a weekly update that lets you know what’s going on at the farm, a list of what’s in the share this week, pick-your-own items and limits, work hour possibilities, and a calendar of events. In order to eliminate paper waste, we only send the newsletter out via email. It is also posted on our website www.hamletorganicgarden.org. If you have a recipe you would like to share, please send it to thehogfarmllc@gmail.com  and we will post it on our blog in the “recipe” category.

How do we get in touch with the farmers?
Jill checks phone messages at (631)286-7068 and emails at thehogfarmllc@gmail.com once per day. We usually return phone and email messages within 24 hours, however in the height of the season it may take us 2-3 days to return messages. There is no phone at the farm, so we return most messages in the evening.

When is pickup?
We harvest produce Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and have it washed and ready for pickup from 3:30-6:30pm at the farm. On Mondays we harvest and deliver produce to our Bay Shore and Setauket sites, and Fridays we deliver to Center Moriches.

How do I change my pickup day?
Members choose one day to pickup regularly, but if you need to change once in a while we can accommodate you. To change your pickup day you must call or email by Sunday evening of the week you want to make the change. You may call (631)286-7068 or email thehogfarmllc@gmail.com. Please be specific about how long you would like to switch for, be it just one week or for the rest of the season.

What if I know in advance I am going to miss pickup?
You may send anyone in your place to pickup your share if you are unable to make it to pickup. If you know by Sunday, you may switch your pickup to a different day. Lastly, if you notify us 24 hours in advance, we can pack up your share and leave it in the greenhouse for pickup later in the evening or the next day. Drop your bag(s) off at the barn in advance, labeled with your name to be sure no one mistakenly takes your share.

Oops! I missed a pickup!
If you did not call or email us in advance, your share will be donated to our local food pantries and community centers, where all our leftover produce goes.

Where are the pickups and how do I get there?
The Farm
The entrance is an unimproved driveway (aka dirt road) at 319 Beaver Dam Rd. Please note this driveway is only wide enough for one car at a time, please be courteous to other members trying to get in or out!
Bay Shore
The Bay Shore pickup is located at 425 Pine Drive in Bay Shore, NY. Pine Drive is just south of the Manor Lane exit of Sunrise Highway, behind the shopping complex. Your hosts are Rich and Lisa Richards.
Selden
The Setauket pickup is located at 46 Mallard Street, Selden, NY. This is just off Nichols Road, at Hawkins Road. Your host is Lenny Whelan
Center Moriches
The Center Moriches pickup is located at Sacred Gardens at 173 Wading River Road, Center Moriches, NY. They are just a mile south of Sunrise Highway at exit 59. Your host is Phil Altomare

What is a Briermere Farm Fruit Share?
We will be offering a fruit share in conjunction with Briermere Farm again this season! Our own strawberries, melons, etc. will still be part of the regular HOG share. Briermere Farm is located in Aquebogue and is NOT organic. Although Briermere Farm is not certified organic, some of their crops, including raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are grown in a way which would fulfil the organic standards. Long Island is a difficult region for tree fruit production because of the high humidity levels which contribute to fungus disease pressure, and can decimate fruit quality (and sometimes the whole tree). At Briermere Farm, insecticides and fungicides are used only when needed to produce marketable fruit. The tree fruit is sprayed with 1 or 2 synthetic insecticides and fungicides at some point typically earlier in the season. No herbicides are used underneath the trees, and on-farm produced compost from leaves is the only fertilizer/nutrient source for their fruit crops.

The share could include: rhubarb, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, pears, blackberries, boysenberries, currants, gooseberries, and other surprises and will have 2 items per week, about 6-8 lbs total each week. Fruit shares usually come in 2 containers; sometimes a bag of apples and a bag of peaches, or a pint of gooseberries and a half pint of raspberries. Gooseberries, currants, and blueberries come in pints. Raspberries and blackberries come in half pints. Apples, peaches and pears come 3.5 to 4 lbs per bag. Plums, apricots, and ufo peaches come 2.5 to 3 lbs per bag. There may be weeks when there is only a half share, only one bag of fruit or one container of berries, but that will be evened up later on with a week of three bags – this may include apples, peaches, and pears in September.

Where can we park at the farm?
When you drive into the farm you will park on the right side of the farm facing the fence. PLEASE do not park on the left under the large pine tree – we are working to protect this beautiful old tree’s roots! To go down to the farm fields, park, and walk!

How does the pickup work?
Remember to bring your own bags or baskets to contain your share-we are a plastic-bag-free farm. If you forget your bags we have will have HOG bags available for purchase. Please do not drop off plastic bags at the farm – take them to the grocery store to be recycled! Bring reusable bags, or baskets.

When you arrive at the farm, you’ll see the pickup coordinator first-he or she will check off your name, inform you of any balance you may owe, and direct you to the blackboard which lists what and how much is in the share for the week. All items on the blackboard are listed in the order they are placed on the tables. Simply go around the tables, taking the items listed in the correct amounts. There are scales available for items that need to be weighed. Remember, to reduce waste, we harvest only as much produce as we need for that day-if there are 80 members, we pick 80 lettuces, and 80 pounds of spinach. So please be accurate when weighing, and do not take extra of an item because you really like it, or it looks small! Then there won’t be enough left for people at the end.

Is the food in our share already cleaned?
We rinse most of the produce after harvesting as it helps cool the veggies off so they stay fresh longer. We recommend giving everything another wash once you get it home to take care of any residual grit. Don’t be surprised to find root vegetables like potatoes and carrots have some beautiful HOG soil still clinging to them! Due to their delicate nature, tomatoes and berries are not rinsed after harvesting.

What if I don’t like something? What is this and how do I cook it?
If you don’t like an item in the share, take it anyway! You may be surprised at how different fresh, organic produce tastes from what you buy in the store. You may not take more of something else instead! All our share items are picked in just the right amounts to reduce waste-if you take extra of something, you are taking it from someone who picks up later!

Not sure what something is, or how to cook it? Ask your pickup coordinator, or one of your fellow members! The pickup coordinators are seasoned members who know just what to do with the bounty of arugula, how to prepare fennel, or tell you what tat soi is.

Feel free, after having picked up your share, to try bartering with fellow members-maybe they love fennel, and hate radishes, you never know!

What if I’m splitting a share? What if I have a half share?
If you are splitting a share, then you can alternate pickup weeks, meet at the farm and pickup together, or one of you can pick up the share and split it up later. The whole share must be picked up at once – do not pick up half the share, and expect your partner to pick up the other half!

If you have a half share, you will pick up every other week-we will assign you to odd weeks (week 1, 3, 5, 7 etc) or even weeks (week 2, 4, 6, 8, etc) at the beginning of the season.

How does Pick-Your-Own work?
Some of our produce and herbs, and all flowers are pick-your-own. You may come down to the farm to pick any day of the week as long as it’s not raining (disease is spread by people touching wet plants). In our newsletter each week we list the pick-your-own items, and any limits.

Please walk to the fields to pick, leave your car parked and get some fresh air! If you have a mobility or health issue preventing you from walking down, please speak to the pick-up coordinator on duty. It is a short 5 minute trip to the back fields. It is difficult to turn a car around down at the fields and walking makes the road safer for other HOG members and their children!

Pick-Your-Own items are usually clearly marked, and picking tools and containers are in the shed. For flowers, you may want to bring your own scissors and some water to keep them fresh. If you can’t find something, please ask! Always put any tools away where you found them so we don’t run them over with the tractor in the field.

Can I bring my kids?
Kids are welcome at the farm, however they need to be supervised at all times! There are lots of dangers on a farm, including the tractor barn, rusty metal, tractors, trucks, gasoline, oil, and other not pleasant items. Additionally, it’s easy for kids to step on seedlings and delicate plants. We encourage you to teach your children to respect and love the farm as much as we do!

We do expect that you will be responsible for watching your own child(ren) during the duration of your visit/work at the farm. We cannot guarantee that there will “work” available that will be appropriate for children under the age of 13. Please have a plan for supervising or keeping your child(ren) occupied during your hours worked.

Can I bring my dog(s) to the Farm?
Dogs may be brought to the farm, but MUST stay on a leash and in control by you at all times. Do NOT allow your dog to free-run at the farm at any time. Other members may not appreciate your pet as you do, and some may be frightened or unintentionally injured by them. Also make sure you are picking up after your pets – pet stools can contain parasites that can be harmful to humans, and no one appreciates stepping in what has been left behind!

Are there hazards on the farm?
YES! A farm can be a dangerous place, so we have a few rules to make it safer for everyone:

The Tractor Barn-The ground floor of the tractor barn is full of tractors, implements, and old rusty metal items that we’re sure to use someday. Please be careful if you are under there, seeking shade. The second floor is unfinished, so no one is allowed on the second floor of the barn except employees.

The Shed-We keep gasoline, oil, organic pesticides, and tools in the shed, as well as sharp knives and clippers. It’s ok to go in here to get tools or gloves, but never let kids in here unsupervised.

The Chicken Coop-Kids love chickens, but please do not open the door to the coop, collect the eggs without permission, or allow your child inside!

Tractors-Tractors and their implements can be tempting places to climb, but our rule is No Kids on Tractors, whether they are running or not.

First Aid-A first aid kit is kept in the Farm Shed, and the Pickup Shed.

Can I volunteer at the farm?
If you are interested, members have the opportunity to volunteer 15 hours at the farm in exchange for a $100 refund off the share price. Work hours are due August 31st All $100 refunds are issued in September, and you can opt to have it carried over as a deposit for next season.

To do field work, come to the fields from the end of May-August 31st on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday from 9am-5pm. You do not have to sign up or call in advance, just show up. If you can’t find us, keep looking -we are always at the farm for these hours, though we may be off in a back field. You can work for as long or as short a time as you want. We try to let members know of specific work opportunities in the newsletter, but please keep in mind that when you get to the farm, we may need you for something else! We recommend you bring sun block, water to drink, bug spray, a hat and work gloves. We provide the tools. Always put tools back where you found them! Hoes don’t grow on trees, but they do puncture tractor tires, which are very expensive.

Always remember to record your hours on your note card, located in the work hour box next to the blackboard on the farm shed. Kids are welcome to help you work, however they must be watched at all times, and only children over the age of 13 can put in hours towards your refund.

Is there a bathroom at the farm?
There is a porta-potty available by the Pickup Shed

What is the Flying Pig Fund?
The Flying Pig Fund is financial assistance provided by donations from HOG membership each season. For the past several years, we’ve awarded financial gifts to applicants to help defray a portion of the cost of a HOG vegetable share only. (Briermere fruit shares are NOT eligible for Flying Pig Fund awards.) If you are interested in donating to the fund, a check made to the HOG should be sent with “Flying Pig Fund” written in the memo.

All decisions about Flying Pig Fund disbursement will be made in April each year. If you are interested in applying for assistance, email a letter describing your financial need and gift amount requested to mail@hamletorganicgarden.org. The HOG makes all final decisions on the amount of each gift to be awarded based on the applicants’ needs and requests.  All applications for awards from the Flying Pig Funds must be submitted By April 1st.

Do the farmers want feedback?
Yes! We periodically have evaluations for shareholders to give feedback that we use for planning the following year. But don’t wait for us! If there is something that you’d like us to know that would make the CSA work better for you, please let the farmers know.  You can also email questions or comments to thehogfarmllc@gmail.com

Potlucks/festivals/events at the farm
Each year the farmers at the farm work hard to plan a fun year of activities for farm members and the community at large. Some of these events are for members only, and some are open to the whole community. Many of these activities are free, or have costs that only cover the HOG’s expense to have the event (i.e. Canning), others are designed to help the HOG raise money for improvements including adding new technology, like electric tractors and solar panels; improving our irrigation; adding to the protection of our crops; adding more variety to the HOG offerings; and improving the farm facilities. Past fundraisers have helped us to build our tractor barn, add to our fencing, and convert a tractor to electric power, build a mobile solar unit, and more!

We look forward to you and your family joining us at all of the year’s upcoming events!!
All events open to the public will be publicized on Bellport.com, The Advance, and in flyers around the community. Invite your friends to enjoy an event with you!

Here’s to another great season at the HOG!

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