The Local Harvest

THE LOCAL HARVEST   The Newsletter of Honey Brook Organic Farm CSA, March, 2019 

PLANTING SEASON HAS BEGUN WITH NEW AND RETURNING STAFF! – Sherry Dudas 

Last month, our niece Emily Kinsel returned to the farm as our new greenhouse manager.  She earned a master’s degree in sustainable agricultural development from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Montpellier SupAgro in France since leaving the farm, and her previous work at the farm inspired her to study organic pineapple and cashew farming in Togo, West Africa, for her master’s thesis. We’re thrilled to have her back and look forward to teaching her the ins-and-outs of producing our own organic transplants for our four farms!

Eric and Isaiah, two of our experienced greenhouse workers and Chris, an employee new to the greenhouse, have been preparing our Pennington greenhouses and have already seeded many of our early spring crops. Early plantings of mesclun mix, scallions, leeks, kale, collards, broccoli, onions, cabbage (red & green) and head lettuce, including early Black-seeded Simpson, are already thriving in our greenhouses! Jay, a recent hire who previously worked at Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm and Mid-Atlantic Growers, is also helping with greenhouse tasks, but will be moved to field preparation once the fields dry out. Farmer Jim finalized his seed order, and seed packets continue to stream into the farm. At the same time, hundreds of our garlic shoots have begun to emerge at the Chesterfield farm, letting us know that the days are lengthening and spring planting time will soon be upon us!

The last week in February was exciting, as we received our organic Hawaiian ginger andImage title turmeric rhizomes in the mail and prepared them for pre-sprouting for the following two days.  The pre-sprouting process starts in a greenhouse, where deep trays are filled halfway with our own rich planting media, the rhizomes are then laid out flat on top of the media and covered with more media. It’s sort of like assembling a ginger/turmeric Oreo cookie!  The trays are then stacked in our insulated walk-in cooler where a heater is set for 70 degrees F for six weeks.  After that time, the rhizomes will have rooted and leafed out and are ready for field transplanting in our high tunnels. Ginger and turmeric are very popular in Southeast Asian cuisine and are increasing in popularity in the United States, as their medicinal benefits become more widely known.  Our members are telling us how excited they are to be receiving these unusual additions to their shares this season!

In other news, we will be deepening our partnership with The Rooted Affair to offer more workshops and farm-to-table dinners at the farms this season. We are still working out the details, but we will be offering a flower arranging workshop in July, where participants first gather & prep our flowers before arranging them in artful, interesting ways, perhaps even using found materials, like moss and other vegetation on the farm.  By the way, we couldn’t be happier for Janene Puca & The Rooted Affair for their Gold Metal win at The Philadelphia Flower Show!  Janene is also collaborating with Farmer Jim on this season’s flower seed order and will be helping out in the flower fields as well.  We are honored to have this celebrated artist to inspire us this season!

2019 MEMBERSHIPS 

Membership applications continue to come in at a steady rate, but there are still memberships available for our Boxed Share program and at our Distribution Centers in Chesterfield and Pennington.  Our applications are online (there is a 3% discount when using cash or checks for payment).  We offer five share sizes for on-farm pick-up memberships, and four for Boxed Share memberships. You can learn more about these options by visiting our Chesterfield, Pennington and Boxed Share pages on our website.  If you are interested in becoming a 2019 member of our CSA, we encourage you to send in your application ASAP as we need to get a handle on how many employees to recruit as well as the amount of seed, root stock, fertilizer and other inputs to purchase this season.

TWO MORE SATURDAYS TO VISIT OUR POPULAR WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET! – Sherry Dudas

Farmer Jim and I have really enjoyed hosting our European-Style Winter Farmers’ Market at our Pennington farm this winter.  It gives us a chance to socialize at a time when we are somewhat isolated and take time to visit with family and farm friends and members at a more leisurely pace than we can during our regular season. Two of our farmers, Scott Morgan and Joanna Michini, bring their children to the market, adding youthful energy to our gatherings, too.  The vendors are having a great time and have often remarked on how nice our customers are (but we knew that already)!  For those of you who have supported this market, we thank you and hope you will continue to enjoy your shopping experience for the last two market dates. 

The last of our Winter Farmers’ Market will be the Saturdays of March 9th and 23rd, from 11am-3pm.  The following vendors will close out the season with us:

Backyard Harvest is the creation of Laura Mayer, a Registered Nurse, herbalist, gardener and advocate for keeping the natural world alive. After working as a nurse for a year and a half, Laura yearned to be supporting people more holistically. She offers herbal products and tea, lotions, winter immune syrups, bitters, essence formulas, heart elixir as well as cups of yummy homemade tea. She grows most of the herbs she uses and gets the rest from friend's farms or local folks.

Dogwood Farms of Hillsborough, NJ will be offering their certified organic chicken eggs and whole chickens, as well as beef, lamb, salsas, their full line of pestos, tomato sauces, hot sauces, Bloody Mary mix, raviolis and fresh pastas. They will also have greens, such as Swiss chard and spinach for sale. 

Sandi of Garden State Salad in Flemington, NJ (and Farmer Sherry Dudas’s sister) will be selling Hungarian Mushroom, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, Beef Barley & Turkey Wild Rice Soups, Organic Vegan Sprouted Oat Groat Sourdough bread made with Morganics' oat groats, kombucha and hot organic coffee.  Enjoy her hand-made soups at the market or take home to heat and eat!  

Honey Brook Organic Farm is selling CSA shares for 2019 at the market, and members may pay by using credit card, check or cash and organic sweet potatoes. 

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Farmer Scott Morgan & family from Morganics Family Farm grow fresh oats in Hillsborough, NJ! Here's what Farmer Scott says about his oats (a new favorite breakfast cereal of Farmer Jim's of Honey Brook Organic Farm):

-organically grown

-raw, never steamed, flaked or parboiled

-minimally processed, nutrients alive!

-local and sustainable

-sweet, creamy and delicious from soil to spoon...

We seed our oats in the newly thawed moisture of the winter soils. Oats are vigorous and thrive in our New Jersey soils. By spring the oats flower and soon the seed is set. Come the end of July, the grains will be sun dried to perfection. Groats are the intact seed, our oatmeal is simply the groat flattened by the steel roller mill, never processed beyond that. They sell oatmeal, oat groats, wheat berries and ground-to-order whole wheat and oat flour! For customers who have asked about bringing their own container for refill, Scott plans on having a bulk bin of oatmeal this Saturday, so if you bring your own container he will fill it at market and save the waste of packaging. 

Purely Farm's Naturally Pasture-Raised Meats of Ottsville, PA features their own pasture-raised meat offerings including sausage such as their signature Killer Kielbasi & Purple Rain, which is a unique blend of grated organic beets, imported French feta and of course, Purely Pork. Savor the flavor of this very special sausage and showcase its exceptional presentation!  FRESH cuts of pork are sometimes available, including pork tenderloins, chops & shoulder roasts.  Joanna and Clover won’t be with us on March 9th, but will return on March 23rd.

Sugar Maple Jerseys Heidi Kovacs is the sole owner of this local dairy and a first generation dairy farmer.  Sugar Maple Jerseys is a small registered Jersey herd located in Stockton, New Jersey. She provides customers with high quality dairy products at an affordable price while having excellent animal care, by managing a pasture-based, primarily grass-fed herd. Her milk is always antibiotic and hormone free and her products include raw milk cheddar, flavored cheddars, aged Gouda, hand-made butter, Greek-style yogurt, mozzarella, feta and cheddar cheese curds.

FARMER SHERRY IS APPOINTED TO THE BURLINGTON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT BOARD! 

Sherry Dudas has been appointed to the Burlington County Agriculture Development Board (“CADB”), and is excited to get started. She may be the first organic produce farmer to serve on this Board, which oversees the farmland preservation, right to farm and easement monitoring programs. Her experience working for the NJ State Agriculture Development Committee, managing the state's right to farm, agricultural mediation, farmland stewardship & farm link programs as well as farming at Honey Brook Organic Farm will certainly be an asset.  

The CADB's reorganization meeting, Sherry’s first, will be held on Thursday, March 14th at 7pm at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Building of Burlington County, 2 Academy Drive, Westampton, NJ.  If you’re a Burlington County resident and have an interest in the programs administered by the CADB, please come to the meeting! 

HONEY BROOK FARMERS OFFER ASSISTANCE TO BUCKS COUNTY CSA FARMERS IN NEED – Sherry Dudas

One benefit of our Winter Farmers’ Market is that it allows us to kvetch with the other farmers and vendors during down times. Our topics range widely from food trends, the high cost of farming, the best source for organic milk and what’s happening at other farms and farmers’ markets (that topic is probably our favorite!).  

During one of these kvetching sessions, Jim and I learned of a young couple in Bucks County who were recently asked to leave the farm they’ve been farming for several years, and is the production base of their CSA program. Later in the day, one of our members also told Sherry of their unfortunate circumstances, and she asked him to have the couple contact her.

One of the most rewarding aspects of where we are in our farming careers is that we now have quite a bit of experience as tenant farmers, and we also have the time to share that experience with younger growers. So Jim and I were excited to meet the young couple, hear of their accomplishments, and show them around the farm we rent from The Watershed Institute in the event they may need to share the farm with us this season. This was really a back-up plan for them, though, as their market is in Bucks County. As we talked about the lack of affordable farmland for bona-fide farmers to purchase in our area, they mentioned they were going to a meeting in Washington DC with The National Young Farmers Coalition to lobby for access to affordable farmland to purchase as well as for other critical needs of young farmers.  Jim and I were quite impressed, as we saw farmland affordability as the most important issue of our generation as well, and worked hard to make it a reality in New Jersey, but it wasn’t seen as a need by any of New Jersey agricultural organizations, so the initiative faded away. Let’s hope the youthful farmers of today have greater success with their lobbying efforts.

After days of carefully evaluating their options, the couple decided to try to work something out with their landlord, but were very appreciative of our offer.  We still hope to find other young farmers to share farmland with, so if you know of other farmers in need, send them our way!



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