Shopping local does not necessarily mean honoring your local restaurants these days. Even with the summer season still weeks in the distance, local farms have opened their doors to cater to locals’ needs, especially as we find ourselves in the throes of crisis. In Amagansett, Balsam Farms is providing a particularly handy delivery service, available two days a week, offering a wide array of items — some of which are local, and many of which, owing to the time of year, are not — brought right to your doorstep.
Balsam Farms actually began a small delivery service last year, as an add-on to its already-popular CSA program. That add-on was an additional $300 to the seasonal box rate, which falls somewhere around $900 (although the price depends on how much you decide to customize it, because Balsam allows you to upgrade your box with items like fresh eggs from Iacono Farms, cheese from Mecox Bay Dairy, mozzarella from Villa Italian Specialties, fruit from Briermere Farms, and more). In other words, it already had a system in place, and that framework made it possible to act quickly when the community was desperately in need of fresh groceries.
Peapod, the delivery service owned by Stop & Shop, and one of the sole large store providers offering delivery to the East End, has been notoriously unreliable since mid-March, with unavailable delivery times and a lack of fresh produce. Lines at the local grocery stores have made it difficult for residents to get meat, produce, and other perishables on a regular basis.
Enter Balsam Farms. Since season is not yet in full swing, as far as farm bounty is concerned, some of what you’ll find on offer is not currently local. The farm is selling local sweet potatoes, though, as well as beans, potatoes, mushrooms, herbs, lettuces, spinach, and kale. You can find fruits and vegetables from elsewhere (yes, you can get bananas, for all those banana breads you appear to be making, internet), too. The farm carries a small selection of baked goods, like zucchini bread, ciabatta, baguettes, sourdough, apple pie, cookies, and brownies. It also has refrigerated foods, like guacamole, eggs, yogurts, milk, half and half, cheeses, and more.
You can stock your pantry with shelf-stable foods: pickles, hot sauces, jams, relishes, jellies, and more are all available from Balsam, most of which were made using peak produce during the best part of the season. There are even snackable treats (I’m looking at you, North Fork potato chips). For Sunday — or whatever day, really — you can invest in Balsam’s bloody Mary mix. Buy a single bottle, or buy a full case. If coffee is more up your teetotaler alley, Balsam sells that, too: both whole-bean and ground, Honduras organic single-estate, which are roasted at Java Nation in Bridgehampton.
Last year, Balsam began carrying Acabonac Farms’ meats, and some of these are available for delivery, including ground beef patties, stew meat, and grass-fed New York strip steak. There is also a fairly comprehensive selection of charcuterie and other types of sausage: salami, dry-cured saucisson, chorizo, Andouille sausage, bresaola, finocchiona, and both hot and sweet soppressata. For those who have experienced the chicken famine of 2020, Balsam Farms also sells chicken breasts and thighs.
There is a $50 minimum for delivery, and deliveries take place on Fridays and Tuesdays. To place orders, register for an account at delivery.balsamfarms.com. Soon, as the weather warms up, Balsam will have more than its share of its very own produce to offer up to the world. And you’ll want to be first in line when that happens.