THE LOCAL HARVEST The Newsletter of Honey Brook Organic Farm CSA, May, 2013
SPRING FINALLY UNFURLS AT THE FARMS – Sherry Dudas
April and the first week of May turned out to be somewhat dry and temperatures were a bit warmer than typical for spring, so spring tillage and planting is on schedule. It’s been such a pleasure to wake up to sunny spring mornings, after the chilly March we experienced.
In the Chesterfield fields, we’ve already planted multiple plantings of sweet corn, beets, cabbage, arugula, lettuce, spinach, baby boc choy, chard, kale, collards, tomatoes, summer squash and many other spring and summer crops. In Pennington, the pick-your-own snow and snap pea crops are doing well and greenhouse staff continues to seed summer favorites such as our endless varieties of melon and watermelon. I can almost feel the watermelon juice running down my arms as I type! The garlic, which was planted in the fields we had the strawberries in last spring in Pennington, looks absolutely fabulous and we’re eager to harvest garlic scapes in late spring.
The strawberry plants at both the Chesterfield and Pennington farms are doing really well, but fruit formation was a bit delayed due to the cooler temperatures of early spring. Despite that delay, it is possible that the Chesterfield farm may be open for pick-your-own strawberries some time the second full week of May (see “Opening Day Logistics” below).
The office was a buzzing hive of activity the past six weeks. Phones were ringing and emails replied to as potential and returning members contacted us with all sorts of questions. Lynne kept the office running smoothly even though we were short staffed after Susan, our former office manager, departed in March. Thankfully, we have hired two additions to the office staff (see article below) and have addressed some of our customer service challenges.
Also, our organic certification application was submitted to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture on May 1st. As many of you know, we are a certified organic Community Supported Agriculture farm (many of the newer CSAs in New Jersey are not). In fact, a portion of the land we farm in Hopewell has been managed organically since about 1985 (it’s been certified organic since 1991), making it some of the cleanest farm acreage in the state.
We are pleased to welcome Marguerite Heap as our new office manager and Tina LeMar as our new marketing coordinator. Their biographies will be posted on our “Farm Staff” webpage just as soon as I can take their photographs! We are still seeking one additional intern for the 2013 season, but our farm stand staff, for the most part, will be comprised of farm stand attendants from last season.
Opening Day Logistics
In May, members are typically anxious to know more about opening day and other logistics, so here are a few things to keep in mind:
The 2013 Members’ Handbooks will be posted on our website in mid-May. Please set aside time to read yours cover-to-cover, even if you are a returning member, as rules change and processes evolve. For example, our Chesterfield Distribution Center has been moved to 258 Crosswicks Ellisdale Road in Chesterfield, so CSA members will no longer be going to our former Distribution Center on Chesterfield Georgetown Road.
We strongly encourage members to read their Handbooks as well as our website pages, as answers to many commonly asked questions can be found in both. Also, please check the “This Week” page of the website, view our Facebook page or call the Veggie Hotline after May 10th to ascertain when your Opening Day will be. It fluctuates every year depending on weather conditions. Generally, the ripening of the strawberry crop determines when opening day will be. The Pennington farm and Chesterfield farm usually have different Opening Days and the Delivered Boxed Shares typically are not available for pick-up until at least Memorial Day weekend, sometimes a bit later, as we want to deliver full boxes of produce and need a few weeks of harvesting before we have ample produce supply.
When we do open, please give yourself extra time to pick up on your first pick-up day. You may need to orient yourself and give yourself some time to ask questions of the attendant in the Distribution Center if you are picking up at our Pennington or Chesterfield farm. Boxed Share members, there have been a number of changes in pick-up locations so please do not assume that your pick-up location from last year is the same this year. Keep in mind that all memberships include PYO privileges, so Boxed Share members may harvest PYO strawberries even if the Boxed Share deliveries have not yet begun. Shortly, Boxed Share members will be getting a letter enclosing directions to your pick-up site; please be sure to read it carefully before your first pick-up day. All members should call or email the office should you have questions regarding Opening Day procedures.
2013 Membership Information
Applications for on farm pick up in Chesterfield and all Boxed Share sites are still being accepted in the farm office, and confirmation postcards are being mailed once a week. In early May we print our member identification cards, which members receive the first time they visit the farm. We do not mail our membership identification cards.
Honey Bees at the Farm
In other news, at one of the Chesterfield farms we have a beekeeper who is providing us pollination services with the help of his multiple hives of honey bees. Ken Walters of Yellow Bee Honey has two stores at the Trenton Farmers’ Market and sells bottles of honey ranging in size from 8 ounces to two pounds. I can’t wait to make my famous summer squash and walnut bread with his honey!