May 13 2017

farmers market gift cards now available!

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when we last updated the site, we explained how the CSA business model was one we had hoped to use here at our farm to support ourselves wasn’t coming through for a variety of reasons. one reason is because so many people don’t like the CSA model for buying their produce- they’ve had a bad experience and they prefer the ability to have a choice for what they get every week. we totally understand that! and yet, we still need to pay our staff and buy supplies before the summer market season begins.

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we did a quick survey on facebook to see if anyone would be interested in purchasing a debit card in lieu of a traditional CSA harvest share- essentially you would make the same initial investment in the spring, and purchase a debit card from us to use at our market stands or here at the farm all season long. we received quite a bit of interest, so we made the investment, and are happy to announce they are available for purchase now!

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the benefits of the farmers market debit card are many- if you go on vacation and don’t want to miss a week of the share, now you won’t have to! if you just can’t stand another bunch of kale this week, don’t get it! maybe you’re having a pot luck at work and you need to get double the amount of strawberries to make a dessert for 30- now you can! do you want three dozen eggs instead of one? yes you can! use the debit card on any item- produce, chicken or eggs- available at the market stand or here at the farm, all through the season. you can even refill a card when it runs out.

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we also are selling these as gift cards- it’s a busy time of year for gifts and so many people are hard to shop for. mother’s day, teacher’s gifts, graduations, father’s day, birthdays- someone you know that might love to have the chance to try some fresh local certified organic produce at one of your favorite farmers markets! maybe you have a fundraising event coming up that you could donate a debit card to- a raffle or a gift basket to a worthy cause, that helps us at the same time.

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our farmers market debit cards are available for purchase online at https://squareup.com/store/lakestone-family-farm and from us directly either here at the farm or at any of our market locations. we look forward to seeing you soon, and as always, thank you for supporting our small family farm.


Mar 20 2017

“but, i hated my CSA share”

in 2004 we decided the time was right for us to see what all the fuss was about and join a CSA. we searched on localharvest.com and found that http://goldenearthworm.com/ farm way out in jamesport, long island distributed CSA shares at http://www.alleypond.com/ education center (about five miles from our house in queens).
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we called up, spoke to barbara, got the application, and sent in our check. we were lucky to get a slot! the golden earthworm is the kind of farm that actually sells out it’s CSA shares and has a waiting list! that is not the reality for most farms that sell CSA shares. their farm has so many CSA share members, they are able to stay onsite and pay drivers to go to distribution centers all over long island. members are required to volunteer two shifts to cover the pickup location site times. this also means they don’t have to sell produce at market or from a stand. it’s a great business model!
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we did not always think the shares were awesome. we got a LOT of kale. we fed the bunnies at apec a LOT of kale. at that point in our lives we hadn’t grown up eating a intense amount of greens every week, and this was before the smoothie craze, too. the farm was good about sending recipes for some “new” or (weird) vegetables, and at that point in our lives we didn’t cry over throwing away great produce that had gone bad from disuse.
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we remained members for seven seasons (we even bought their fall/winter share!) until we bought our farm here in 2010. as their harvest members, it didn’t take long for us to go from a “ewwww what the heck is this?” mindset to a “oh, remember when we made that with sausage and pasta and it was so good with the mint?” way of life. of course there are vegetables that are just horrible, and we never got over not liking them (WE ARE LOOKING AT YOU, RADICCHIO) but we have also met plenty of people who legitimately love radicchio so, we found folks to trade with at our pickup site. it was a great experience for us as a young family, and it grew into this life for us now.
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there seems to be a very small niche market for CSA supporters now, and it isn’t as popular as it used to be. most folks have tried a csa share or know someone who has, and they had a negative experience with it. either the food was unenjoyable, or too different, or you didn’t know how to prepare it, or too much of one item, or too many items in one share, or didn’t have the items the shareholder wanted, etc etc. humans like choice! we like guarantees. we don’t like to take a chance on something that we are unfamiliar with and isn’t a sure thing.
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unfortunately, we haven’t found the CSA business model to be the revenue generator it needs to be for a start up farm like ours- we need to sell 100 shares to pay our staff through the spring months to do all the work before the first piece of produce is harvested to sell. by now we had both hoped to pay ourselves a salary, instead of living off of our savings and loaning our money to the farm every year. that option is no longer a reality for us. we will not be able to do that anymore this year.
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the idea behind the community supported agriculture model of farming is to get farms the capital they need to meet payroll to restart the farm after the winter season. it also pays for all the supplies that a farm needs to purchase in the spring- seeds and soil and more. it’s certainly not for everyone, but if it’s ever interested you, and you’d like to take a chance, we’ve tried to offer enough choices to meet your needs.
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now WE can be found if you search local harvest!  http://www.localharvest.org/lakestone-family-farm-M62964 -
even if it’s not for you, maybe you have a friend or family member who would be interested.
here is our application: Member Agreement for 2017 and
here’s a link to our online store to make it even easier! https://squareup.com/store/lakestone-family-farm
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thank you so much for your support

Mar 10 2017

our new online store

last year, a few folks asked us if they could pay online for a harvest share- so this year, we’ve created a way for you to do that! introducing lakestone family farm online store for ordering csa shares!

if you’re anything like us, you don’t always have a quiet moment in the middle of the day to call and order something through a live conversation…but you can fill an online shopping cart while you’re waiting for your next appointment to start.

we hope that ordering and paying online for your harvest share is an easy experience for you- you choose your pickup location, size, season, and type, and we provide you with a season’s worth of delicious, fresh food.

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if you have any questions at all please email or call us at the farm. also, please share this page with anyone you may think would be interested!

we look forward to growing your food this year!

 


Feb 24 2017

CSA Day 2017!

Feed your family, support your farmers and our family!

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We’re celebrating CSA Day today, February 24th- it’s the most popular day of the year to sign up for a harvest share from a small farm in your own local community! why not be a part of a great way to support your local farm?

please download and return our CSA Harvest Share contract today: Member Agreement for 2017

CSA farmers across the country (including us!) need your support right now for a successful harvest this year. Folks often ask us “what do you guys DO during the winter?” The answer is- all the stuff (there’s so much) we couldn’t get to during the active harvest season (May through December)! January is full of paperwork, seed research, and physical upgrades to the barn, facilities and equipment. February is when we order our seeds- thousands of dollars worth- and start ordering supplies and assembling our farm crew to get the greenhouse going. February is also our lowest month for revenue, which is why your investment in a harvest share is so vital to keep our farm operational.

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We began this farm in 2011 with the goal of becoming a business that could support ourselves and our family in three years. we are still hoping to achieve this goal- paying ourselves from the farm instead of using what’s left of our savings to pay the farm’s bills and payroll. your investment this month will help us avoid the personal debt we incur in pre-harvest months before we get to summer market season.

Please share this and help spread the word! Your support is so important to us!


Feb 17 2017

2017 Harvest Shares Information!

This seasons harvest shares are rapidly approaching and it’s almost time to sign up!

This year we will again be distributing 20 weeks worth of certified organic summer market vegetable harvest shares from

the farm every monday from 4-6pm, the canandaigua farmers market every saturday from 9am to noon and at the brighton farmers market on sundays from 9am to 1pm.

we also are able to drop off 10+ preboxed shares (large or small) to your business site- just call or email denis to discuss this option.

you may choose your pickup location and the size of your share in our contract: $600 for the large share (8-11 items per week)  and $400 for the small share (5-7 items every week).

Our certified organic chicken full share is 20 whole FRESH chickens (average around 3.75lbs each, at a price of $5.50 per pound), for a total of $420. you pick up one whole chicken, every week, beginning in June. Half shares for chicken are available as well for $210, for a total of ten whole fresh chickens- one distributed every other week during the season.

Our egg share is 1 dozen certified organic eggs a week for 20 weeks for $120, beginning in June.

We have a facebook group page for all our CSA members to share recipes, questions and feedback on the share, as well as a pinterest page of recipes for share items that anyone can access from the group.

Payment in full is preferred with your signed contract- we accept cash, check and major credit cards. we also have a three part installment plan available- please contact us for more information.

Of course, we are on facebook. please like us and share our posts! https://www.facebook.com/lakestonefamilyfarm

If you have any questions, please email us at lakestonefamilyfarm @ gmail . com or call Denis at 516 314 8209

We look forward to your investment in our farm and our harvest!


Jun 3 2016

CSA Harvest Shares Start Next Week!

If you’ve been waiting to join our CSA now is the time to sign up! we still have a few shares available both here at the farm (includes U-Pick!) and at the Brighton Farmers Market!

this year we are offering two weekly versions of our 22 week certified organic harvest shares: a large (formerly known as FULL) share, with about 8-11 items every week, and a small share, with about 5-7 items every week. our large share will remain at $660, and the small share will be $440. BOTH shares will be distributed every week.

we are also offering full and half chicken shares and egg shares as an add-on to your veggie or chicken share.

come and be a part of a great community of local people who support small, fair trade, certified organic farms! we appreciate your support!

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Feb 21 2016

CSA Harvest Share 2016 Sign Up Begins!!

Our 2016 CSA Harvest Share Season begins June 5th at our new distribution location at the Brighton Farmers' Market from 9am-1pm! We will also have our other two distribution locations on Mondays- at our City location at Trinity Baptist Church on Atlantic at Winton Road from 4:30pm to 6pm, and here at the farm from 4-6pm.

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We listened to your feedback and this season we are offering two weekly versions of our 22 week certified organic harvest shares: a large (formerly known as FULL) share, with about 8-11 items every week, and a small share, with about 5-7 items every week. our large share will remain at $660, and the small share will be $440. BOTH shares will be distributed every week.
This season we are adding a U-pick garden option for any member who has the Farm as their pick up location. This U-pick garden will feature seasonal harvest items: we plan to grow fresh herbs, peas, beans, cherry tomatoes, and select greens, as well as offer select ground cherries, black cap raspberries, apples and pears based on seasonal availability. Come and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine as you select your own vegetables from the field!
Our certified organic chicken full share is 22 whole FRESH chickens (average around 3.75lbs each, at a price of $5.50 per pound), for a total of $450. you pick up one whole chicken, every week, beginning June 5th. Half shares for chicken are available as well, for a total of eleven whole fresh chickens- one distributed every other week during the season.

Our egg share is 1 dozen certified organic eggs a week for 22 weeks for $132, beginning June 5th.

We have a facebook group page for all our CSA members to share recipes, questions and feedback on the share, as well as a pinterest page of recipes for share items that anyone can access from the group.

Payment in full is preferred with your signed contract- we accept cash, check and major credit cards. we also have a three part installment plan available- please see page four of our contract for more details.

Attached is our contract-Member Agreement for 2016 it contains much more information on the shares- please read it, fill it out and return it to us ASAP with your payment.

Of course, we are on facebook. please like us and share our posts! https://www.facebook.com/lakestonefamilyfarm

If you have any questions, please email us at lakestonefamilyfarm @ gmail . com or call Denis at 516 314 8209

We look forward to your investment in our farm and our harvest!


May 17 2015

CSA deadline extension!

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just a quick note to let all of you know that we are still accepting applications for CSA Harvest Shares- we have quite a few half share members this year so we are able to welcome a few more members!

reminder: we have pick ups on mondays in Victor at our own parish, St Patrick’s and at Trinity Baptist Church in the Browncroft section of the city from 4:30pm to 6pm. we also have a pickup here at the farm on wednesday afternoons.

finally, we’ve had quite a few people ask us if they could stop by and meet us and take a  tour of the farm- the answer is- absolutely! please email us at lakestonefamilyfarm at gmail dot com or call us up at 516 314 8209 and we can schedule a mutually convenient time!


May 8 2015

the big time!! (part one)

on tuesday, i was honored to be interviewed by mrs. daly’s 5th grade class from ps 152 woodside, queens, ny!

full disclosure: mrs daly and i were best friends in high school. i don’t know if either of us realized we’d both be educators as grown ups! the class is doing a unit on journalism, and it is being documented as well! the six students who questioned me were lovely- they spoke clearly and exhibited excellent journalism skills. as prep, i sent them the following email with images, to help them craft their questions. after their documentary is finished, i will share that here as well!

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our seeds and our potting soil are all certified organic- which means the soil came from a farmer who made it out of organic ingredients, and it doesn’t have any toxins or matter in it that were sprayed with herbicides (weed killers) or pesticides(bug killers).

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our seeds all come from organic plants. this means they weren’t modified by a scientist in a lab. however, farmers HAVE modified plants for centuries to create plants that can grow better in their climates, and produce fruits and vegetables that taste good! we also grow seeds that have been tested to grow well in our climate zone. this helps them survive without a lot of extra, often chemical help.

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we seed into trays with potting soil in our greenhouse. it’s very warm in there! the heat and the light tells the seeds it’s time to grow. our certified organic potting soil has lots of natural nutrients to help the plants grow strong roots and healthy plants. we don’t use any fertilizers or chemicals to add nutrients- they get what they need from the special soil we use!

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after a few weeks, the seedlings come outside during the day time to “harden off”- this means they get used to the normal temperatures & weather of the day. we put them back into the greenhouse at night. after about a week, we plant the seedlings into our beds.

before we can plant the seedlings, we have to get our fields ready! we do this in two important ways, and both involve feeding the soil important nutrients so the plants will grow well.

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we also raise certified organic chickens in our farm! they live in large cages for protection outside on our fields that are “fallow” for the year- this means we don’t grow plants on that field during that time. it gives the soil time to rest from over use and to absorb good nutrients from cover crops (peas, clover) AND our chickens! their poop is full of good fertilizer like nitrogen and phosphorus and potassium. we also spread organic compost from a farmer who makes it from organic materials.

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once the beds are prepped we plant the seedings and lay out special hoses that drip water right where the plants are on the ground. this saves water and lets the plants get water, even during a drought. because we are organic, our water is tested once a year by a lab to ensure it is safe to drink and use on our crops! some plants grow and are harvested once, and some grow and can be harvested many times.

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we don’t use any chemical herbicides (weed killers) so we weed our beds by hand! this lets the plants get more nutrients from the soil. we don’t use any chemical pesticides (bug killers) so we sometimes cover our beds with a special cloth cover to keep the bugs off! one very important reason why we don’t use toxic chemicals on our farm is because it helps keep us and our employees healthy as farmers and farm workers.

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finally, we harvest the crops by hand and bring them in to be washed before we bring them to market to sell or distribute to our CSA Harvest Share members!


May 1 2015

we eat…real!

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we’ve been asked many times how we ever decided to leave our life in the city and become organic farmers. the truth is, it was by no means an impulse decision. the road to our eating real was somewhat long, and had a few twists and turns along the way. even though we are both “city kids,” denis and i were raised with a great love of the outdoors and our moms both cooked us meals from a lot of different types of foods. they didn’t feed us a lot of junk. but by the time we were young adults and caring for ourselves, we didn’t eat very well. we ate out. a lot. and not really at nicer restaurants that serve meals prepared from whole ingredients, but at cheap, fast franchise type places that served a glorified over processed microwaved meal. because it’s cheap! and easy! and…somewhat tasty when you don’t really have anything else to compare it to. we ate a lot of processed foods and a lot of junk in our teens and early twenties.

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when we moved to queens in 2001 to get married, denis joined johnny out in his tomato garden, and added some peppers and beans to the plot. the tiny little patch that had always existed between us and our neighbors backyard spread into raised bed satellite gardens all over the yard. in a few years we were growing fruits and vegetables that supplemented our summer diet in a delicious and welcome way. the organic “movement” was starting to get a lot of press back then, and we knew that we didn’t want any toxins on our plants or in our soil. denis had lost his produce manager at tops to a brain tumor, and connected it to the decades that he’d worked with pesticides and herbicides on the produce. it wasn’t difficult to keep our little raised beds organic.

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once we decided to begin planning for our family, we took a look at our overall health, including what we consumed. we both wanted to be in the best shape for this next important phase of our lives. we started making small changes, cooked more at home, often from recipes that we both had grown up with, from online food blogs, or ones we found in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook given to us from my Aunt Vivian at our wedding. food really started tasting better! but as far as eating real is concerned, our first appointment with our OB changed our lives.

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when you go to the doctor for the first appointment of your pregnancy, you are handed a metric ton of papers and books and pamphlets to read to ensure a healthy pregnancy for yourself and good fetal development for your baby. one of the things that caught us off guard was the amount of information about what i, as the pregnant partner, should no longer eat, to keep myself and our abby healthy:   http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/PeopleAtRisk/ucm312704.htm

i remember saying to denis “if all these foods are risky to the baby, are they risky to us?” in the list of foods i could no longer safely consume were all types of meats and fish and cheeses, as well as lengthy instructions on how to wash your produce and thoroughly cook your meat and eggs to avoid food borne illnesses. yuck. i know now that cancer patients get similar instructions- http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/prevention-and-healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition/food-safety-during-and-after-cancer-treatment to ensure their best health as well.

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that was the moment when we decided we needed to really address our eating habits in terms of not only what we ate, but how it was made- and what the health implications might mean for us, long term. so many people we knew and loved were being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and heart disease runs in both of our families. and, even though we were “city kids” living in new york city, we both were raised within our faith to love nature and protect the environment, so the health of our ecosystems and overall planet were just as important. embracing the organic food movement was a natural way for us to do that. we did a lot of research. we went on local harvest and found an organic farm on long island to purchase a CSA Harvest Share from. through that connection at alley pond environmental center, we met other like minded people in queens to network with to find other sources of food that were grown and raised in a way that was environmentally sustainable. thus began our journey on the road to eating real.

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next weekend, on May 9th at 4pm, we are honored to be presenting a talk and tour of the farm as a part of the ROC Eats Real challenge. ROC Eats Real is a six week nutritional challenge that invites the entire greater rochester area to try to eat better to feel better. we will be give own own little story- from that first OB appointment to now owning a 65-acre, certified organic vegetable and chicken farm. it will focusing on the challenges of changing from eating a “normal” American processed and fast diet to a (primarily) organic, local, sustainable diet with three kids!

we would love for you to be a part of it! register here: http://www.roceatsreal.com/ and join us!