Free Bird Farm is a certified organic family farm located in Central New York’s Mohawk Valley (https://freebirdfarm.org). Ken Fruehstorfer and Maryellen Driscoll, a husband-and-wife team, own and operate the farm. They specialize in growing fresh, high-quality produce without synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, or fungicides. All of the produce grown on Free Bird Farm is 100% certified organic.
Separate from the vegetable fields are plots of pasture where they keep a flock of laying hens. The birds are free to roam within the confines of movable electric fencing, which keeps predators out. Once they've grazed out an area, the hens are moved to fresh pasture. This access to fresh grass, sunlight, fresh air, and room to move produces a bright orange yolk and a superior-tasting egg. The hens do require grain, which is locally sourced from a farm that is not certified organic. A diversified farm creates a healthy ecosystem, which makes it possible to farm in a truly sustainable manner. And that’s the reason that Free Bird can consistently produce such high-quality food.
Ken was interested in sustainable farming and started working on farms immediately after graduating from college. Maryellen has a publishing background and worked as an editor at Cook's Illustrated and Fine Cooking magazines. Twenty years ago, they combined their skills and passion for sustainably grown food when they purchased a 134-acre fixer-upper farm. Today they have two school-age children, three Labrador retrievers, and two pet goats.
All of the farm’s products are delivered in a zero emissions box truck with refrigeration to keep everything fresh from the farm to you. Also, they wash all their vegetables multiple times due to the heavier clay soils of upstate New York.
See below for photos of actual shares (both large and medium) and beauty shots of vegetables grown by the farm. Photos courtesy of Free Bird Farm.
Free Bird Farm is famous for its garlic, which is included in the vegetable shares. Garlic comes in a dizzying array of varieties but Free Bird Farm grows just one specific kind: Spanish Roja. Why? Because it’s just that good. Flavor-wise, Spanish Roja packs a wallop. It’s strong but clean-tasting (not pungent), and it keeps for months—a far cry from the quick-to-spoil garlic found in supermarkets. No tedious peeling—its skin cracks off in a thick, single layer. Free Bird Farm’s garlic is certified organic—no petrochemical-based pesticides or synthetic fertilizers applied, ever. No GMOs.
Find out more about Free Bird Farm in this video:
This year the vegetable share comes in two sizes: Medium and Large. The season runs for 22 weeks, starting June 11. To see an example of last year’s weekly shares, check this link.
The vegetables you receive will be delivered in bulk. That means instead of receiving your share in one pre-packaged box, you will be assembling the share yourself from multiple boxes of, say, lettuce, radishes, broccoli, spring onions, etc. It’s greener and more economical to switch to bulk distribution, and we hope our members will support us in making this change. Whether you pick up your share at 4:30 when we open or at 7:25 right before we close, you will still receive a full share because Free Bird Farm has promised to send us plenty of extra vegetables.
Each week, you will receive 6 to 8 different items in your share, weighing approximately 8 to 10+ lbs, depending on the type of produce and the type of share you get (medium or large). Early in the season you will get lots of greens, which are light and weigh less. Later in the season you’ll get potatoes and carrots, which are heavier. Everything is harvested, washed, and delivered to us within 24 to 48 hours.
The price for 22 weeks of vegetables is $595 for a Large Share ($27 per week): if you pay by check, the farm offers a discount of 3% so the price is $578. A Medium Share costs $465 ($21 per week) or $452 if you pay by check. All of these prices include a $30 administration fee to support Dutch Kills CSA operations that is applied at checkout. It would cost you much more if you purchased these vegetables at a farmers’ market. If you buy a Fruit Share together with a Veggie Share, you will charged only one administration fee.
Please note that some of our members find that getting a full share of vegetables every week is too much for them, and they end up splitting a box with a share partner. You can split either a Large or Medium Share with a share partner. If you are looking for a share partner, please contact us and we will try to help you find a share partner.
Dutch Kills CSA is a volunteer-run organization. The volunteer requirement is three shifts for each share. (If you order both a Veggie and a Fruit Share, you need to work only three shifts, not six!) Please read our Volunteer section for more information.
Vegetable Share sign-ups are handled on the Free Bird Farm website. Clicking the link below takes you to the Free Bird STORE, where you can order your share + Free Bird Farm extras! Yes, our new farm offers lots of extras—egg share, “sweet tooth” share, butter share, chicken share, grass-fed ground beef share. Head to our EXTRAS section for a description of each. Two more things: when you check out on the Free Bird STORE page, be sure to select “Dutch Kills CSA” under “Shipping.” Also, if you have a share partner, please add his or her name in the “Additional Information” box at checkout.