THE LOCAL HARVEST The Newsletter of Honey Brook Organic Farm CSA, March, 2017
SPURS EARLY GROWTH by Sherry Dudas
February was the
warmest on record in New Jersey, and we were surprised and somewhat discomfited
to find last year’s fall collards and kale crops sprouting new edible growth by
mid-February at the Chesterfield farm. Chives also came up weeks earlier than
normal, and in Pennington parsley never winter-killed, allowing me to harvest
some in usable amounts, a first for the month of February. I’ve also been able
to harvest edible carrots in the fields since December. The warm, mild weather allowed Lou, one of
our farmers, to get some early tillage done at our Chesterfield farms, filling
the farm with the distinctive aroma of freshly turned soil, a sure sign of
impending spring! Having the fields prepared for planting this early will allow
Farmer Jim to direct seed our spring lettuce mix, arugula and spicy mix earlier
than last year, which, if all goes well, will allow us to open earlier this
warm weather also encouraged the apricot trees to begin blooming earlier than
usual, so once the colder March temperatures descended, the pistils of the
flowers died and will therefore not produce fruit this year. March’s cold and windy weather has also made
it uncomfortable to do outdoor work, so some of our equipment maintenance is now
being diverted until spring and, most distressingly, pest insects have been
able to overwinter.
In other news, several
of our staff from last season have returned to help get our plants started in
the greenhouses, and our Pennington greenhouses are steadily filling with trays
of vegetable and flower transplants.
Later in the season, most spring and early summer crops will be
transplanted in each of our two Chesterfield farms. Most of the spring planting takes place at
our Chesterfield farms, which have sandier soils than those at our Hopewell
farms and therefore can be planted sooner, as they dry faster after rain or
snow thaw. By the time additional
workers come to the farm in late March and April, it will be time for more spring
tillage and the early summer tomato, basil and pepper plants to be transplanted
in our Chesterfield high tunnels.
The sweet corn
crop, which we start in the greenhouses, will be planted as transplants in
April in the hope for a late June harvest, and we expect to have corn through
August. Sweet corn is an “add on” crop
for us, meaning it is not included in the regular distribution, but rather is
available in the Distribution Centers for an additional fee. If all goes well this year, our peaches and
figs will be available as “add on” crops as well for 2017.
TURMERIC PRODUCTION HAS BEGUN! – by Sherry
finished preparing our ginger and turmeric rhizomes for planting this season,
which includes cutting the organic rhizomes we received from Hawaii into
pieces, then dipping the pieces into an organic treatment which helps to
prevent fungal diseases from taking root once the rhizomes are pre-sprouted and
transplanted in the fields once established with new sprouts. It will be our first season growing turmeric,
so we are all really excited about it, and this will be our third growing fresh
ginger. Both turmeric and ginger are
valued for their anti-inflammatory properties, among other health benefits. I use both fresh in stir-fries, especially
those made with coconut milk. The turmeric and ginger will be distributed to
CSA members as part of their shares, and not be sold as “add ons”.
UPDATE AND NEW BOXED SHARE LOCATIONS! by
We still have
memberships available for pick up at both the Pennington and Chesterfield
farms, as well as all boxed share locations.
Members who want to begin the season with us right from the start must
submit your applications to our office before
early May. Due to the warmer than
average temperatures, we expect to be opening earlier than last year (May 17th).
Our three new
boxed share locations, added this month, are Country Gardens Farm Market in Robbinsville, In the Garden in Highlands and Doc
Bakers Farmulations in Doylestown, PA.
Click here for
membership information and to pay using a credit card online (please use the drop down menus under the "Join Us" tab to find the program best for you). Remember that all
shares include pick-your-own privileges at either our Pennington or
STAFFING UP FOR
THE NEW SEASON by Sherry Dudas
We are thrilled
to announce two new additions to our farm management team! Nancy Orlowski, our
new Distribution Manager, is a food service professional, having over thirty
years’ experience in supermarket management.
She will be responsible for the management of our Pennington
Distribution Center, including our PYO fields, as well as our Boxed Share
packing program and also be responsible for food safety management. We have also added Julia Smagorinsky to our
team, as one of two Assistant Farm Managers at our Chesterfield farm. Julia has extensive farming experience,
including the propagation and care of plants, CSA management and even livestock
production. She will be involved in most
aspects of our Chesterfield farming activities, but we are still in need of a
part-time manager of our Chesterfield Distribution Center. To learn about that position, as well as
others we have available at the farm including a full-time driver position,
please click HERE.
NATURE NOTES by Sherry Dudas
had birds like red-winged blackbirds and killdeer returning to the farms while
spring peepers began their peeping on February 28th, also earlier
than normal. We also have our resident
kestrels inhabiting their nesting tree at our Chesterfield farm, where we’ve
also been visited by a few harriers, red-tailed hawks and have had a siting of
an adult bald eagle! Blue jays, blue birds and cardinals seem to be in abundance,
as are snow geese flying high above the farm, possibly going back to their
northern breeding grounds.
also caused our early blooming flowers, such as Daphne odora (the most heavenly
fragrant early bloomer ever!), croci, daffodils and snowdrops to bloom even
earlier, and our lilacs are beginning to form buds already! The mid-March snowstorm will be blanketing
our region with several inches of snow, and our hope is that now that our ponds
are replenished with water and fully recovered from last year’s dry conditions
and our groundwater is also recharged, that we can say good bye to winter and
fully embrace the warmer and longer days of spring!
This Week’s Harvest
Plan your meals for the week.
Our harvest calendar indicates produce availability throughout the growing season.
The Local Harvest
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