May 17 2015

CSA deadline extension!


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!


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).

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.


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!


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.



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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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:

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- to ensure their best health as well.
















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.


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: and join us!

Apr 22 2015

earth day 2015!



it’s earth day 2015- a day to acknowledge how we all depend on the earth and each other to sustain us so that we may all flourish together. when we decided to take the chance and start on this path towards sustainability for our family, we didn’t know that we would be farming at this capacity so quickly! it has truly been a learning experience for us to see just how difficult it is to grow good food for others in an ecologically sustainable way while staying economically sustainable as well. many people questioned this decision for our family- many days we question it ourselves. ultimately, our love of the earth and each other brings us back to our basic goals and inspires us to keep trying.

we are a very small family farm. we chose organic certification because we know that treating the earth with respect includes keeping it free from toxins and various other common abuses, and certification leaves no wiggle room for that. we grow over 100 varieties of vegetables that are certified organic for our local and regional communities. we raise our chickens outdoors on our pasture and perform all slaughtering and butchering here. our hens lay their eggs while enjoying each day outside with plenty of room on fresh organic certified pasture. we only sell what we grow and raise ourselves. everything that passes from our hands into yours has been cared for by us. we employ 5 local people, 2 of whom are full time. your support of our farm directly supports those five individuals and their families, as well as ourselves and our three children. to remain economically sustainable in farming is as challenging as the day to day and month to month challenges of the physical labors of farming.

thank you for your support of our Lakestone Family Farm. we appreciate all of the ways that you show your support of us and the earth. We look forward to bringing you fresh, clean, organic produce, chicken and eggs all year long.

Apr 10 2015

CSA Harvest Share contract!


we were asked to provide the latest version of our contract on the site, so here it is!

Member Agreement for 2015

yes! our contract is nearly four pages long! we try to be as clear as possible with our members what they should expect when they become harvest share members!


We describe what being certified organic implies, outline what we have planned to grow this season, and we explain what happens in the event of a crop failure.


We ask that you provide us with your contact information, as well as 1. what location you will pickup, 2. what shares you would like, 3. your payment information, and 4. your signature


we look forward to growing your food this year!

Mar 20 2015

csa fair and film!

hey everyone! we are looking forward to meeting you and answering any questions you have about the farm tomorrow and our CSA Harvest Shares at the Ontario County CCE CSA Fair and Film Screening!

csa table

From Hope Galens:

“CSA Fair and Film
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Film showing: 1:00 pm
CSA Fair: 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Cornell Cooperative Extension
480 North Main Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424

If you are looking to eat the freshest produce, support local agriculture and join in the locavore movement, a CSA might be just for you! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is a popular way for consumers to buy fresh, local, seasonal products (ex. vegetables, fruit, meat, herbs, eggs, bread, etc.) directly from local farms. Members purchase shares of the harvest which can vary in contents, size, cost, the number of weeks they are available and where they are picked up. You can learn all about it at a free CSA Fair hosted by CCE-Ontario County.

The screening of the documentary film “Dirty Work: The Story of Elsie’s Farm” will be shown from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. The film documents a year in the life of an organic farm and CSA run by a couple whose dream is to take an old farm, invest it with new ideas and grow a community. Jarret Winum of Maplestone Farm CSA will be on hand to answer questions from the audience and add his own personal account of his CSA in Stanley.

From 2:30 pm-4:30 pm, 7 farms will be set up to showcase their CSAs, answer questions, and take sign-ups.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Ontario Local Food Educator, Hope Galens will be preparing dishes for participants to sample using ingredients sourced by these farms.

It’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and to meet some of the amazing farmers we have here in Ontario County!
For more information, please contact Hope Galens at 585-394- 3977 x 408 or email Hope

Mar 17 2015

raising chickens for meat



we read this piece from nick kristof yesterday and nodded our heads in agreement- there absolutely is no need for any suffering of any animal, especially the ones we raise for food. if anything, the animals that sustain our bodies should be appreciated and revered for their life’s purpose and for sacrifice they make for us. their life gives us life. that is our primary goal as chicken farmers at lakestone.

the chickens we raise for meat from hatchlings are bred and born for the specific purpose to be food for us and others. our goal is to give them the best life possible during their natural lifespan- they stay cozy, warm and protected as chicks in our brooder trailer for two weeks, and then, when they are old enough, live the rest of their lives outside on certified organic grass pasture in pens that are custom built to give them plenty of room to run, but also be protected from predators and the weather. we move their pens to fresh pasture every morning where they eat bugs and grass and certified organic feed from Lakeview Organic Grain. their feces fertilize the pasture they are on, which inputs valuable nitrogen and more than ten other essential naturally made plant nutrients back into our soil, then used the following year for our vegetables. their lives truly go above and beyond what most chickens are able to offer with regard to meaning and purpose.

when it comes towards the end of their natural life, we slaughter them in a way that is quick and humane for them, as well as safe for our employees. we have never had an instance in three years where anyone involved in the process wasn’t aware and respectful of the life that had ended for all of our benefit. in fact, discussions on the meaning of life tend to come up around the processing table- and the meaning of death, and our attachment to viewing death as a failure, versus as a natural result of a life well lived. it inspired our friend matt kelly to write an insightful piece about a good death in the last issue of Post Magazine.

our chickens are good animals that serve their life’s purpose well, and we appreciate them for it. we appreciate that we can then use nearly every part of their bodies to sustain our farm- through compost and through sale, and ourselves- every piece of them that can be used for consumption, is. their lives allow us to pay our employees- all local, hard working members of our community to support themselves and their own families. their lives allow us to offer our clients local, healthy, clean food in a way that most Americans don’t have access to anymore. we are grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Feb 25 2015

National CSA Sign-Up Day February 28!


We are pleased to join other farms from around the country for National CSA Sign-Up Day on February 28. The day encourages food consumers to buy a share of their local farm’s harvest for the 2015 season, a buying model known as Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.

CSA has become an important model to support local agriculture since it was introduced to the United States in the 1980s and since grown to over 6,000 farms across the country. To join a CSA, members buy a share of the harvest in the Winter and Spring and then get a box of local produce each week throughout the growing season.

“CSAs are the most authentic connection between a farmer and eater available. CSA members get the freshest, high quality, seasonal local produce, but they also get a direct connection to their farmer. This model is economically important to farmers, especially small and beginning farmers, because they can grow with confidence knowing that they have a market for their produce ahead of time,” says Simon Huntley from Small Farm Central, a technology company that works with CSA farms across the country, and the creator of National CSA Sign-up Day.

February 28th was chosen as National CSA Sign-up Day because this day is the most popular day to sign up for CSA shares according to the 2014 CSA Farming Report. Buying a CSA share in late winter is important because farmers are making the capital investments for this year’s harvest now and the CSA model means they do not need to finance these costs with costly credit.

This year our CSA is incorporating new features based on feedback from our customers and members from last season: we have added a new pick up location in Victor, NY on Monday evenings at St. Patrick’s Church; we are adopting the “market style choice” model for shares, and continuing to offer biweekly “half” shares for those members who can’t use a full box of produce every week.

Sign-up is easy! To learn more and to join us for the 2015 season, you can reach us at lakestonefamilyfarm @, or call us at 516 314 8209. We accept cash, check or credit card as payment. We can’t wait for the snow to melt and to start growing your food!

Feb 10 2015

2015 CSA Shares!

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering shares in our certified organic CSA this year! please tell your family and friends! all are welcome to join!


we have full share memberships for 22 weeks of certified organic produce for only $660.

this season we are excited to offer a half share option as well- you receive a full box of certified organic produce every other week (we’ll assign which group you are in – A or B- and email you to remind you what week it is) the 1/2 share is 11 weeks of produce for $345.

in addition, we are offering our certified organic chicken share as well- 22 whole frozen chickens (average around 3.75lbs each) for only $5.50 per pound, for a total of $450. you pick up one whole chicken, every week.

this season we will offer a half share whole chicken option also- 11 whole frozen chickens (average around 3.75lbs each) for only $5.50 per pound, for a total of $225. you pick up one whole chicken, every other week.

our egg share is 1 dozen certified organic eggs a week for 22 weeks for a total of $120.

we will now offer THREE pick up locations for your convenience!
MONDAYS at St. Patrick’s Church in Victor OR Trinity Baptist Church (on Atlantic and Winton) from 4:30pm-6pm, rain or shine.

WEDNESDAYS here at the farm in Farmington from 4pm to 6pm.

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 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 2015 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!

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

we look forward to having you be a part of our harvest!

Aug 28 2014

Fall CSA Shares Available Now!

We are pleased to announce that we are offering a Fall Share in our certified organic CSA that begins September 3rd! please tell your family and friends! all are welcome to join!


we have full share memberships for 10 weeks of certified organic produce for only $280. you may add on a juicing share to that for an additional $125.

We are also offering 1/2 share memberships: you receive a full share of certified organic produce every other week (we’ll assign which group you are in – A or B- and email you to remind you what week it is) the 1/2 share is 5 weeks for $150.

in addition, we are offering our certified organic chicken share for the fall as well- 5 whole frozen chickens (average around 4lbs each) for only 5.25 per pound, for a total of $105. you pick up one chicken, every other week, unless you arrange with us otherwise.

our fall egg share is 1 dozen certified organic eggs a week for 10 weeks for a total of $52.50.

we have pick up locations both here at the farm or in the city of rochester at riddle chiropractic (555 north winton road) every wednesday from 4-7pm. we also allow our share members to order our chicken parts to be picked up on wednesday as well.

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 due with your signed contract- we accept cash, check and credit cards on site at pick up. attached is our contract- Member Agreement for fall2014 it contains much more information on the shares- please read it, fill it out and return it to us ASAP with your payment.

please like our facebook page as well-

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

we look forward to having you be a part of our harvest!