Sign up for Bonac Farms one-month herb and tea CSA in March and farmer Matt Laspia will deliver three nourishing, organic potions for free! Each week members receive: two four-ounce jars of loose tea or tinctures and one four-ounce jar of a culinary herb, for $50 a month.
That’s an awesome savings if you consider how much you would pay by buying similar items online, and the best part is Bonac Farms grows much of the ingredients in East Hampton. The week’s bounty will be announced on Sundays via e-mail and delivered straight to your door the same day, if you live between Sag Harbor and Amagansett. Members may also pick up their share at Riverhead Farmers Market on Saturdays and Sundays.
This week includes: Sunshine Tea, a Bonac Farms custom-blend of ingredients known to have antidepressant properties by raising serotonin and relieving anxiety; Liver Brew, a combination of herbs and mushrooms known to treat the liver — an optimally working liver also helps with depression, something many people suffer with this time of year, due to the lack of sunshine — and a jar of herbes de Provence, to sprinkle into omelets, soups and stews and anything else you want to add a little sunshine too. Bring out the full flavor of the herbs by quickly warming them in a pan before use. So much better than store-bought! Other herbs in the CSA may include valerian and passionflower, both traditionally used to treat the blues, and sweet Lemon Tulsi Tea, made with basils to soothe a scratchy throat.
This is the perfect time of year to sign up for Bonac Farms CSA; the proceeds help Laspia prepare his farm for the season. He is buying seeds from Johnny’s and the Long Island Cauliflower Association. This year’s priority is to save his own seeds for use next year. Sorry Johnny.
Laspia is also hoping to make his own essential oils this year. “I’m looking into building my own still from copper, a ten-gallon steam distillation apparatus,” he said. But that’s only a fraction of the expenses it will take to grow his business. “I’m going to purchase a professional soil test kit that is extremely comprehensive and measures macro and micronutrients, pH and carbon,” he added. That $160 cost is nothing compared to the $1,000 he’ll have to come up with for a greenhouse replacement.
In the meantime, his new Kubota tractor will come in handy for cultivation. “I’ll be doing a lot of direct seeding,” Laspia said, “once the nighttime temperatures drop below 40 degrees.”
To help the seeds grow, he’s using fish waste from local seafood vendors to incorporate into the soil and brewing his own fish emulsion to reduce fertilizer costs. Utilizing waste is extremely important when creating a sustainable farm. “The fish waste is fermented, and I add molasses to increase biological activity in the soil,” he said. “I’ll be selling the emulsion at the markets for gardeners and farmers.”
In addition to the herb membership available now, Bonac Farms is offering vegetable shares for $540 beginning June 1 through November 1. Contact Laspia at email@example.com. Let him know if you are interested in becoming an intern, volunteer or learning about basic herbalism practices.