On-farm Pick-up at Chesterfield

The 2017 Chesterfield membership application is HERE. New membership sizes include two new "choice" sizes, limited by the size of the box (see below for details)!

Please know that we do not have a farm office at the Chesterfield farm.  Please call 609-737-8899 in order to contact farm staff.

We organically farm land in Chesterfield Township, Burlington County, including the first farm preserved by the Farmland Preservation Program in 1985. Prior to the farm’s preservation, developers slated a 1,066-unit housing project to be built on this and four other adjoining farms, totaling 608 acres. The farmland is largely comprised of “prime” soils—those most conducive for a wide variety of farm uses and also prized for development. Faced with this alarming proposal, some Chesterfield residents began evaluating options to block it.

A preservation deal that included financial contributions from the state, Chesterfield Township and Burlington County was orchestrated. The five farms were purchased from the developer in 1985, had deed restrictions placed on them, and were then sold at public auction under a sub-program of the farmland preservation program now known as the fee simple program. These were the first farms to be preserved using funds from the state’s newly created program. The auction drew about 300 onlookers, but when the bidding was over, four of the farms had been sold to land speculators, not farmers, with the fifth sold to a commercial pilot.

In 2003, Sherry and Jim discovered those first five farms preserved in Chesterfield. They ultimately entered into sale negotiations with a landowner of one of the five original farms (the farm purchased by the commercial pilot at the 1985 auction). In 2007, Farmer Jim purchased the farm. In the original plan for the housing development, this farm was to be the wastewater treatment facility and the plan included applying biosolids onto the farmland!

The farm is a total of sixty-nine acres, forty tillable, and the balance is wetland and woodland. Blacks Creek is its northern boundary. The farm is exceptional wildlife habitat, and we have had one siting of a bald eagle, and many sightings of raptors, songbirds, turkey, ground hogs, red fox and, of course, white-tailed deer.

One of Jim’s first tasks was to renovate the old dairy barn, which was in disrepair, and to stabilize the circa 1750 farmhouse. A new tin roof was put on the house in 2011 by an Amish roofing company and the interior is being upgraded using new innovative, eco-friendly products.

Over three years, we converted the farmland, formerly planted in grain, to an organic produce farm. This farm had been conventionally farmed for many years prior to Farmer Jim’s purchase, and there was a need to restore soil fertility. Winter cover crops, including yellow blossom sweet clover, winter rye and vetch are grown and disked in for improved soil health, and compost has also been applied to help restore soil fertility. Interns and volunteers planted fast growing trees around a portion of the perimeter to buffer the farm from neighboring farms and residences. Deer fencing has also been installed to minimize deer browsing on crops and trees. Pick-your-own fields, including small fruits, herbs and flowers, have been established. This farm was certified organic in 2010.

In 2008, we purchased another preserved farm in Chesterfield. This farm is located at the intersection of Crosswicks-Ellisdale and Harker Roads and is 118 acres. Known locally as the “Wilson” farm, it is comprised of wooded and tillable acreage, has two streams and a pond, which hosts many migrant and resident birds. Up until the 1980s, the Wilson family raised laying hens here and sold farm fresh eggs out of the basement of the circa 1710 home. Once the Wilsons ceased egg production, local vegetable farmers leased the farmland for over twenty years, growing a variety of produce.

After purchasing this farm, we spent considerable time and expense addressing the soil erosion problems we inherited. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (“NRCS”) is assisting us in this continuing effort. To date, we have installed grass waterways which are designed to allow surface water to drain without causing soil erosion. We’ve also planted fertile cover crops on this land to enhance fertility, which has also provided bird habitat in spring. In 2013 we installed deer fencing on this farm as well, with the assistance of a special program offered through NRCS for certified organic farmers. This farm has been certified organic since 2011.

We offer pick-up at the Chesterfield Distribution Center on Crosswicks-Ellisdale Road on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. We are the only certified organic CSA program in northern Burlington County. We do not sell retail at this location, so the PYO fields & Distribution Center are open to members only. Members of the Chesterfield CSA program can get complete information regarding what to do when you come for your pick up by downloading the Chesterfield Members' Handbook.

For members’ convenience, our monthly newsletter, The Local Harvest, is available online. In addition, we offer several events throughout the season, including fermentation workshops.

CHESTERFIELD ON-FARM PICK-UP

We offer five share sizes for farm pick-up at our Chesterfield farm: the Family Share, the Individual Share, the Premium Share, the Basic Share and the Personal Share.  A Family Share generally feeds an average family of four to six, while an Individual Share is perfect for two - three adults (and often one or two small children). A Personal Share is a "sample" share and designed for one adult (more fully described below). Please keep in mind, however, that the right-sized share for you depends not just on the number of people in your household but also on your eating habits. If you are a vegetarian or like to do lots of canning and freezing, you may prefer a larger share, or you may want to consider purchasing two shares for one family. Keep in mind that if, during the course of the season, you feel you are getting too much or too little produce, you may contact us to upgrade or downgrade the size of your share until August 1st. We will pro-rate your increased membership fee or refund accordingly. During our distribution season, farm staff harvests crops and places them in bins in our distribution center. Instructions on what to do when you get to the farm can be found in our Handbook.

"Choice" Premium, Basic and Personal Shares    

We offer a Personal share with feature of allowing the shareholder to choose the items and quantities going into their share each week.  The .28 bushel Personal share box is depicted below (coffee mug is for scale).

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The Premium Share is a 3/4 bushel box and the Basic Share is a ½ bushel box (photos to be posted soon) and also allows the shareholders to choose the items and quantities going into their share each week.

How it Works

We provide you with the empty box, and set you loose in the farm market to fill this box as you choose!    You will bring the box back the following week to use again.

What’s the Catch?

The box will be specifically sized for the Premium, Basic and Personal Shares.  The size of the box is setting the size of the share.  Hence, the lid of the box must be completely closable when you are done selecting your produce.  In other words, no piling a mile high above the rim of the box, and no removing of the upper flaps of the box.  Additionally, crops cannot be altered to fit in the box.  For example, if the beets have tops, then you must include the tops in the box.  Sweet corn (if available) cannot be husked, leeks topped, broccoli reduced to florets, or other means employed to maximize the contents of the box.  The size of the box is the standard that we have used to price the share. 

How about PYO?

PYO does not have to fit in the box.  It is in addition to the box and the quantities will be sized according to the size of the share box. So Personal share members will harvest a lower quantity of PYO crops than the Premium share members, for example.

Other Restrictions Apply

The Personal Share cannot be split at the farm; in other words, we will issue only one membership card. This is to emphasize that the Personal box is sized for one individual.  One person  = One box.  You can, of course, take it home or to the office and split it there.  

The Premium and Basic "Choice" Share memberships may be shared, but we will only provide ONE box per share.  In other words, if you choose to share a Basic box with another person, we will not provide two quarter bushel boxes, so you and your partner will need to share the one box.  As share partners, you will also not be able to come on two separate days, or two separate times on the same day, and fill up half the box, so you must be careful and deliberate about how you choose to share the "Choice" shares.

We are Veggie Libertarians at the farm and as such we firmly believe that what you choose to do with your produce in the privacy of your home is your own business.   When quantities are limited on a crop, such as, say, early harvested carrots, we may need to limit quantities available for the "Choice" share memberships.  We will try to keep this to a minimum.

Sharing a Share

Please note, if you choose to share a Family Share between two families, it is not the same as having two Individual shares. For example, there are times when Family share members are only entitled to one pumpkin or one watermelon. Family share members and their partner(s) will need to share that one item. Farm staff does not recommend Family shares be shared, but rather strongly encourage the purchase of Individual shares in order to avoid confusion and to free families from the hassle of coordination of pick-ups, etc.

If you and your partners need to pick-up at the farm at separate times on your designated pick-up day, be sure to coordinate amongst yourselves to avoid taking the incorrect amount (again, this option is not available for those sharing the Premium and Basic "Choice" shares). We can recommend several convenient methods of coordinating with your share partners such as packing and leaving a bag for your share partner, or alternating the weeks of pick-up (i.e., you come the first and third weeks of the month, your share partner picks up the second and fourth weeks).

Pick Your Own & "Add On" Crops

Most weeks a number of crops for Pick Your Own harvesting is offered at the farm. This benefit is included in your membership fee. Members often tell us that PYO harvesting at our farm is the highlight of their week and an important component in their stress management program! Many of our members often say that the CSA membership is still a good value even if they don’t partake in PYO harvesting. A visit to the This Week in Chesterfield page lets you know what produce may be available in the Distribution Center as well as the availability of PYO crops. PYO crops tend to come in earlier and go later in the season than at our Pennington farm, due to the sandier soils and slightly warmer temperatures.  For the 2017 season, we expect to have blueberries available in the Distribution Center and additional PYO blueberries will be available for an additional fee to cover the costs of transportation to the berry fields.

On occasion, we may also offer "add on" crops for sale in our Distribution Center.  These are crops, like sweet corn and tree fruit, that are too costly to include in our regular distribution program.  We offer these crops to members who are willing to pay the extra cost associated with producing these crops, which are difficult to grow organically.

Membership Confirmation and Members’ Handbooks

Confirmation of your membership, pick-up day and share size will be emailed to you by the beginning of May.

Please download and read carefully your Chesterfield Members’ Handbook. It is really important for members to read their Handbook. The Handbook is a member’s “owners manual” and answers common questions about the farm, i.e., how to store produce, what to do when you get to the farm and where you can find convenient and tasty recipes, etc. Please keep in mind that if you have additional questions, you can always call the Veggie Hotline or talk to an attendant when you are at the farm.

First Pick-Up & Membership Cards

The start date of the distribution season varies from year to year depending on the weather. For the exact date of the first pick-up and the start of strawberry picking, please visit the This Week in Chesterfield page on our website or call the Veggie Hotline starting May 6th. The first pick-up is sometime after May 6th. Please be sure to come to the farm only on your assigned pick-up day unless you have made prior arrangements. We harvest just enough for the number of members expected per day.

Each time a member comes to the farm they must wear their personal Membership Card. The cards will be available for pick-up in the Distribution Center during your first pick-up. For our complete policy regarding Membership Cards including replacement fees, please visit our Policies page.



This Week’s Harvest
Plan your meals for the week.

Our harvest calendar indicates produce availability throughout the growing season.

The Local Harvest
Please read our newsletter The Local Harvest to connect with the farm and the larger community.



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Buying A Share

Become part of our community by purchasing a share.