The CSA survived Hurricane Irene and we will continue to have lots of healthy produce on the table! We lost a few crops due to heavy wind and flooding – the damage could have been worse though. On the Farm, we count our blessings and are grateful for the harvest at hand. Here’s the word on the Farm:
Due to Irene, the CSA was closed for a few days, which included Saturday’s Week 10 Farm Shop. A few shareholders were ahead of the storm and picked up the Week 10 share on Thursday’s Farm Shop. Mandatory evacuations began on Friday which made it difficult to get to the Farm and caused many issues for crew and shareholders – traffic, road closures, preparing for possible wind and flood damage, stocking up on supplies in case of extended power outages, etc.
If you were unable to pick up the Week 10 share because of Irene, then you make take a little extra as needed at Week 11. This is an exception to the CSA’s normal policy on pickup – if you are unable to pick up, then you miss the share for that week.
Crop Update – First the good news: We (myself and husband Ryan, along with a few family members) harvested through the heavy rain to bring in as much of the harvest as possible before being forced out of the fields by impending Irene late Saturday. The Hurricane Harvest included Winter squash, Tomatoes and Peppers. As a result, we have beautiful Winter squashes (Spaghetti, Delicata, Acorn, Buttercup, Butternut, Pie Pumpkin). We will cure and store these sweet and savory fall gems and distribute throughout the remaining weeks of Farm Shop. For Tomatoes, we brought in as many as we could (ripe and slightly unripe) and will distribute until they are gone, maybe 2 more weeks. A somewhat short but sweet tomato season. Peppers – we have so many colorful, sweet peppers! Hots too. Look for lots of them in Farm Shop. In the field, the Peppers fared well as did Eggplant. Also to look forward to in the Farm Shop – lots of Potatoes (Red and Gold), Onions (Yellow and Red), Broccoli, Kale, Leeks, Cabbage, and more. For Greens, we have Asian greens that look good, Escarole and some Broccoli Raab and Celery.
To Be Determined: Spinach I think is gone; Beans (yellow and purple) were very close to harvest but the storm may have been too much for them – we will monitor recovery. Green Beans seem ok; Cauliflower some loss but ok; Lettuce small – we will plant more for a fall harvest; Beets, Carrots, Turnips and Rutabaga – this field is drying out nice but with some damage which I think will be ok.
On the Farm, we toast to being spared Hurricane Irene’s potential damage to crops, people, buildings/grounds and equipment. Also, here’s to a pleasant and successful Fall season with dry, sunny skies, cool nights and warm days! Salute!
Tomato harvest good this week. I like a lot of tomatoes and plan to fill the shares generously for a bit. We will keep you posted on disease pressure (Verticillium Wilt http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Tomato_Verticillium.htm). For now, plants putting out nice tomatoes, some varieties are more resistant to the disease than others. While the plants look sick, the tomatoes are fine. In Farm Shop, we will have tomatoes sorted by type (slicers, plums and heirlooms). For the slicers/reds, they come in all sizes as we grow a few varieties. When selecting your tomato share, don’t just go for the big ones; mix a few smaller varieties in for great tasting, intense tomato flavor in your dishes. For the plums, few have a little rot on the end but are meaty and delicious, great for sauce. Again, sample a few different sizes. For the heirlooms, while not picture perfect, the flavors are wonderful. They are delicate and damage easily so handle with care.
So many uses, experiment with the types. Prepare a beautiful and tasty tomato salad using slicers and heirlooms. Arrange tomatoes on a platter in an overlapping pattern, add fresh basil, drizzle with a good olive oil and a little coarse salt to taste. Make a many tomato marinara sauce: In a pot/deep skillet, drizzle with olive oil, add chopped tomatoes; I like to throw in a few cherry tomatoes, the sungolds add a twist. Season with a pinch of sugar and coarse salt to taste. Cook down until thickened, about 20 minutes. Add fresh basil towards the end of cooking time. Make a big batch. For one meal, serve with pasta, the other make eggplant parm (we got lots of eggplant!). Freeze sauce for later use too or try canning using the boiling water bath method (http://www.pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm).
UPICK TOMATOES – 3 quarts/share. If you would like to increase your share, bulk available for $2.50/quart. To preserve the harvest, roast in oven on low, 250 degrees for 2 hours or so, until cooked down and shriveled. Cool and freeze. Use later for soups, rice dishes and so on.
What to do with all that produce?! It is only Week 5 Harvest out of 20! Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are just starting to come on too so make room in the kitchen. I know first-hand it can be a chore keeping up with the share (I had to buy another freezer!), oh but the effort is sooooo worth it. A little prep time in the kitchen when you get your share home will help to plan meals for the week and save time. Greens – Chop, wash and dry in a salad spinner (wet greens spoil quickly). Store in fridge in plastic bags, remove air. If you still have extra at weeks end, blanch and freeze for later use (except lettuce) and you will be happy come winter. Summer Squash and Eggplant – Keep unwashed produce in fridge wrapped in a towel to absorb moisture. Vegetable bin getting full? Cube, blanch and freeze for later use. For make ahead Eggplant Parm – slice into rounds, dip in egg then breadcrumbs. Bake at 425 on cookie sheet spread with olive oil, turn once for brown and crisp on both sides. To freeze, cool completely and place in freezer bag in single layers with wax paper between layers. Remove air. When ready to use, thaw slightly, just until you can break apart, otherwise eggplant can turn mushy and hard to handle.
Recipes and Tips – If you love cookbooks like I do, here are a few good ones that I refer to often, perfect for the CSA/Farm Market customer:
- Peterson, John and Angelic Organics. Farmer Johns Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2006.
- Brooks Vinton, Sherri. Put ’em Up: A comprehensive home preserving guide for the creative cook from drying and freezing to canning and pickling. North Adams, MA: Storey, 2010.
- Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. From Asparagus to Zucchini: a guide to cooking farm-fresh seasonal produce. 3rd ed. Madison, WI: Jones Books, 2004.
- Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine, eds. Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 delicious and creative recipes for today. Toronto ON, Canada: Robert Rose, 2006.
Thanks to all who came out on Thursday, the first Farm Shop day – nice meeting you! Everyone figured it out as they went around the tables and packed up the shares. It is an art. As the weeks go on, you will find what works best for you. I have a few tips for the Saturday crew and beyond to help things along.
PACKING SHARES: Here’s how I like to pack my share: I start with my big canvas tote/basket (something with a handle is nice), and fill it up with the heavy, bulky items…squash, cucumbers, carrots, fennel, onions, etc. I don’t individually wrap these items in plastic bags, I just put them all in the tote. Next, I move onto the “loose greens” section. Here, I grab a plastic bag and measure out the amounts noted. For example: 1 bag of Swiss Chard – ok, that’s easy. ½ bag total of mix Greens: ¼ bag Arugula and a ¼ bag Asian Greens – Some people like to spilt this into 2 plastic bags and that’s fine. Me, I like to use 1 plastic bag, layer the greens for a ½ bag totsl and separate it out when I get home. To finish packing the share, I top it off with bunches of things…lettuce heads, spinach, radishes, herbs. Please remember to wash your produce before you use it. We do give things a quick rinse to remove field heat and some dirt, but it could use another rinse at home.
MEASURING LOOSE GREENS: We use plastic bags - yes, those darn things we all acquire from stores like Wawa, the grocery and drugstore. We all got a stash of them somewhere! I say reuse them and fill with lots of healthy greens. You may bring your own and we have a few in the Farm Shop if you forget. If you want to unload your extra plastic bags, bring them in and I will use them to restock our supply. We have to use a one size plastic bag for the unit of measurement to be fair and consistent. No clear produce bags from the grocery store, they are smaller, and no bigger bags either. Take a look at the example in the Farm Shop for measuring greens fairly. You are on the Honor System and we hope that you take just enough to fill your share. Thanks!
HONOR SYSTEM: Please be mindful of how much produce you are taking. You may find yourself in a conversation about recipes and such while filling your share with cucumbers…before you know it you may have 10 or so cucs in your bag when the share amount calls for 6! Same for greens – if the share amounts calls for ½ bag, just take a half a bag. Some people smash it down and get all the air out and then keep packing. Please just take enough handfuls to fill your share fairly. We harvest just enough for the members we have, if someone is taking more than they should then shareholders later in the day might be left shorthanded. We are all in this farm together.
Thanks for your support and see you on the farm!
B&B FARMS UPICK BLUEBERRIES OPEN MONDAY, 6.13! OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
How does it work? U-pick Blueberries are a B&B Farms operation and are managed by Art and Carolyn Brown. The CSA rents land from B&B Farms and we are fortunate to have this neighbor crop. We have worked out a deal with the owners to allow CSA customers to pick a certain amount as part of the share. We will post the amount in the Farm Shop (i.e. 1 pint per week). When you come to pick up your share for the week, either Thursday or Saturdays, if you would like to pick blueberries as part of your share, we will give you a pint container. You must come to the Farm Shop first to get your pint, as this is a separate transaction from the Browns daily U-pick operation.
When can I pick my share of blueberries?
Thursday 3-4 OR Saturday 9-12
CSA CUSTOMERS ARE KINDLY ASKED TO OBSERVE B&B FARMS HOURS OF OPERATION. For example, if you pick up your share on Thursday AFTER 4PM, the U-Pick fields will be closed. You will have to come back to do your picking on Saturday morning during Farm Shop hours. The Browns have been kind enough to allow the CSA access to this field, please be respectful of their hours as B&B Farms is their private residence.
Can I pick blueberries during non-farm shop hours? Yes, but not as part of the CSA share. We do appreciate your cooperation as this is our first season to offer U-pick blueberries as part of the CSA share. We will see how it goes and hope to avoid confusion and frustration! As mentioned, this is the Browns u-pick operation and private residence – this is new to them too. The CSA will do its best to work out the kinks, if any.
Hours 8-4, Monday-Sunday. Weather and fruit dependent.
Are the blueberries organic? No, but this crop is carefully managed to ensure top quality and safety. For weed control, in addition to some tractor work in the walk ways, between the plants was hoed by hand last fall, recently hand-weeded (it was 100 degrees that day!), and a few areas were spot treated with herbicide. Pests like to hide in weeds so this treatment helps. This is not sprayed on the blueberries, rather close to the ground and away from the plants prior to harvest. NO fungicides, or insecticides have been used.
Hi all. By now all shareholders should've received an email about Opening Day, Week 1. I've heard from several shareholders they were having problems receiving farm updates. If you did not receive the email "CSA WEEK 1_PICKUP THURS 6.23 OR SAT 6.25", please let me know so I can remedy the issue as I rely on my website email service to contact shareholders. Also, please check to be sure these emails are not being filtered into spam or junk mail.
The CSA Farm shop will open for WEEK 1 pickup beginning THURSDAY 6.23! You may pick up your share on 1 DAY PER WEEK, either THURSDAY 6.23 (3-6 PM) OR SATURDAY 6.25 (9AM-NOON).
We will have some nice food for you! Lots of greens - lettuce, swiss chard, Asian greens, herbs, arugula, yellow squash and zucchini and cucumbers. U-pick Blueberries open too! Also we will offer for sale in the Farm Shop fresh cut flower bunches and more.
In anticipation of our Opening Day, we are putting the finishing touches on our walk-in cooler, irrigation system and cleaning up the barn. We look forward to seeing you all soon!
Hello all and Happy Spring! We are busy transplanting our greenhouse efforts to the field and direct seeding crops. Also we are entering heavy weeding season. We have been working hard to get the farm and the food ready for the first pick-up which is coming mid-June. Thanks to Art Brown for field prep; Don Lamonaca for irrigation solutions; Stacey Davis, our part time apprentice AND Work share staff for planting crops.
1ST PICKUP - We will be open for our first distribution/pickup the week of June 12th OR June 19th. I anticipated an earlier start to the season but it is a wet spring. Regardless, you will receive 20 weeks of produce. I will be sending more detailed information about how the pick-up works, what you can expect, where to park, what you may need to bring and answers to other questions you may have about the CSA.
VOLUNTEERING – If you are interested in volunteering for planting and weeding, we could use a few extra hands. Get a sneak peak at the farm! Please contact me, email or phone. Thanks!
Welcome back! Welcome back to NJ Art and Carolyn Brown from a winter respite in FL. I think Art was home not even an hour and the tractors were running! The CSA is grateful for Art’s enthusiasm and love of farming which drives him to get out in the fields and work the soil. Also big thanks for working with the greenhouse heater and getting my tractor set up with a seeder and cultivator. Still making adjustments as the parts are coming together! The Brown’s continued support with the young and growing CSA is much appreciated and contributes to the success of this program.
Crop update: The greenhouse is filling up fast with cucumbers, squash, melons, flowers, herbs, tomatoes, etc. We have seed in the field too…beets and carrots and transplanted onions. Next in line (when the fields dry out a bit) are spinach, swiss chard and Asian greens. Soon we will transplant to the field potatoes, Chinese cabbage, scallions and fennel. Oh, the garlic has popped too. This is just for starters, more to follow. The CSA plans to grow about 40 different crops and many varieties. In the meantime, I am adjusting field layout plans and organizing recipes and such for the website. If you have a recipe to share, send it to me and I’d be happy to post it.
First share pickup? I anticipate the first CSA distribution will be sometime in June. A wet spring could delay our planting schedule while an exceptionally hot spring might push the crops to fruition quicker. I will keep you posted on farm progress.
Crew update: Stacey Davis, aspiring CSA farmer, has joined the crew part time. Also work shares will appear soon. I look forward to the much needed help planting and weeding!
A few more thank you’s… Fernbrook Farms CSA and Honeybrook Organic Farm for their support with equipment and purchasing fertilizer, cover crop, etc. Ryan (husband) and Don Lamonaca (father in law) for their support with the tractor, irrigation and walk in cooler. With a hand from these folks, the CSA is preparing for a great season!
Thanks to all who have expressed interest in the Work share Program. For those who have signed up and payment has been received, I will be in touch this coming week to discuss scheduling. Work shares are competitive AND based on the needs of the farm. Please refer to the Work Share Form for details. I will do my best to accommodate everyone who expressed interest but I only have room for just a few. If you signed up for a Work share recently and did not submit your payment, the slots are likely full. Please consider signing up for a Regular share as space is available. If you would like to be on a “waiting list”, please let me know as a slot may become available during the season.
Happy Spring! Farmer Jen
Thank you for your interest in the farm! If you would like to join the CSA for the 2011 growing season, please navigate to Sea Salt CSA then CSA Signup. By completing the Signup, you reserve a slot. This helps with our record-keeping. To secure a share please print out the CSA Share Agreement Form, complete, sign and submit $100 deposit (nonrefundable). Shares are first come first serve. Please read the CSA Share Agreement Form and Work share Form for details. We are excited about the upcoming season and look forward to seeing our returning members and meeting new ones.