OUR STORY A LOVE OF FARMING
Founded in 2003 by Alex Balsam, Balsam Farms is located on the South Fork of the East End of Long Island. We started farming with ten rented acres, one tractor, and a small roadside farm stand. We’ve learned and grown a lot since then, and today we farm several fields between the villages of Amagansett and Sagaponack.
Our roots go back to a young boy and his love of tractors. Alex Balsam got behind the wheel of his first tractor, our 1939 Farmall A, on his thirteenth birthday. Shortly after, he began farming a small one acre plot in Amagansett. Several years after that, on his first day of freshman year at Cornell University, he met philosophy major Ian Calder-Piedmonte, and the two became good friends.
A lot of hard work, and a passion found
A few years after graduation, when the farm was beginning its second season, Alex persuaded Ian to spend the summer farming with him back in his hometown of East Hampton – promising beautiful beaches, a few beers, and plenty of time to enjoy the summer. In reality it was very little time at the beach, a lot of hard work, and a passion found.
Years later, we still have that first tractor and the old farm wagon that held our first produce by the side of the road – and we remain passionate. With the help of many dedicated and skilled team members who share our passion for farming and local food, we’ve improved our production practices and expanded our offerings. Today, we farm approximately 200 acres of mixed vegetables, fruits, herbs, cut flowers, and grains. With our four-season greenhouses, improved storage facilities, and generally temperate Long Island weather, we’re now able to grow fresh produce year-round. Additionally, we have a wide range of jarred and preserved items made from our own produce, as well as whole grains, milled flours, dry beans and popcorn available.
As much as we love farming, none of it would be possible without the East End community we love so much. We’re happy and grateful to be your farmers, friends, and neighbors, and we thank you for making our work worthwhile.
Today, we farm approximately 200 acres of mixed vegetables, fruits, herbs, cut flowers, and grain. Thanks to our four-season greenhouses, season extension practices, and improved storage facilities, we offer fresh produce year-round, as well as preserved produce, whole grains, milled flours, popcorn, and more!
MISSION + PRACTICES
While we are not a certified organic farm, we are committed to growing in accordance with organic principles. That means taking care of our soils and using inputs and amendments that have been approved for organic production by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).
Sweet corn, basil, and pumpkins are the only conventionally grown crops we farm, separately from the rest of our crops. We do not grow any genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) crops at all – including our sweet corn varieties.
Organic practices and responsible land use
As farmers, we are stewards of the land we work and depend on. Maintaining healthy soils is at the foundation of sustainable farming and growing quality, healthy foods. We take care of our soils through crop rotation, by growing cover crops, and applying compost to help build soil structure. We encourage a strong and diverse soil biology and ecology, and implement innovative pest and disease management methods. We also test our soils annually to continually assess how we can improve growing conditions and fertility.
Our commitment to good food also means a commitment to safe food, and that includes the ways we plant, grow, harvest, wash, pack, and deliver our produce to you. During harvest it means washing hands, harvest tools, and harvest bins, and maintaining clean washing and packing areas.
After harvest we immediately clean, hydrate, and cool crops with fresh water, pack them in clean bins, and quickly store them at proper temperatures in our coolers to ensure that we provide our customers and CSA members with the freshest and safest produce possible. Our commitment also extends to all our jarred goods and prepared foods, which are always made fresh in certified kitchens by skilled chefs trained in the most current food safety standards.
Each year, we also donate a portion of our produce to local charity organizations to help feed those in need in our community – and our practices apply there as well.
We believe knowing and being able to talk to the people that grow your food is one of the best parts about local agriculture. If you have any questions, please ask us, we’re happy to share our knowledge with you.
PRODUCE AND MORE GROWN IN OUR FIELDS
We grow many different varieties of vegetables, including old time favorites and some you might not be so familiar with. Seasonal crops we grow include:
- Salad and Cooking Greens
- Fresh Herbs
- Root Vegetables
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Onions, Scallions and Leeks
- Fresh Cut Flowers
- Popcorn …and more!
BALSAM SWEET CORN
Our famous sweet corn has been a local delicacy since we began farming. We carefully select varieties that excel in our growing climate and hand pick daily to bring you the freshest corn available, with the perfect balance of sweet flavor and tender texture. In season we offer it fresh-picked as well as fire roasted every day at our farm stand in Amagansett. Locals and visitors agree – no summer is complete without Balsam Farms sweet corn!
OUR HEIRLOOM TOMATOES
Just like our corn, no summer is complete without Balsam’s fresh tomatoes! We offer over 100 varieties of perfectly ripe tomatoes. Stop by the farm stand or Montauk market to shop your tomatoes of choice. Pair them with a baguette, some fresh basil pesto and a fresh made mozzarella cheese from Villa Italian Specialities for the perfect beach picnic!
OUR BRANDED GOODS
We also have an extensive selection of our own delicious jarred goods and prepared foods including Bloody Mary mix, tomato sauces, many kinds of pickles, salsas, hot saucees, jams and jellies, zucchini bread, fresh pestos, and much more. We are also able to ship many of our non-perishable items far and wide via our online Balsam General Store. All our products are made in small batches using fresh produce from our farm, and prepared in certified kitchens by trained local chefs.
OTHER LOCAL VENDORS WE CARRY
In addition to the crops we grow, we are proud to partner with other quality local growers like Briermere Farms in Riverhead, The Milk Pail in Watermill, and other local growers, makers, and artisans to offer you a wide selection of the East End’s finest seasonal produce and products.