The Local Harvest

THE LOCAL HARVEST   The Newsletter of Honey Brook Organic Farm CSA, March, 2021 


We are thrilled to announce that Honey Brook Organic Farm's SARE grant application was successful, and our proposal was one of 29 out of 58 submitted and selected for funding. Our project is a demonstration pilot for the composting of manure, wood chips and leaves on a certified-organic produce farm via Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting. We will be installing this system at our farm on Ellisdale Road in Chesterfield.

Since this is a demonstration project, we will be inviting CSA members to tour the site in the fall after the installation of this system is complete.  We are eager to educate farmers, managers and home owners about this type of composting, which holds the promise of sequestering carbon as well as reducing labor and fuel costs compared to conventional composting. 

I was lucky to tour Ag Choice’s compost facility in Andover, NJ with Jay and Jill Fischer, owners of Ag Choice, as well as two of our compost consultants, Virginia Lamb of Groundwork Education and Consulting in Maplewood, NJ and Eileen Banyra of Community Compost in New Paltz, NY.  Jay and Jill have done an incredible job of composting organics in NJ, and are especially proud of their food waste recycling program, and they are the only commercial composting facility in NJ permitted to compost food waste. 

The day I visited, their warehouse staff were processing Nespresso coffee pods, taking the pods out of the cardboard boxes consumers had mailed to them, filled with the spent pods and placing the aluminum pods into large bins.  The bins were placed into a machine which popped the pods open, extracting the spent coffee grounds from inside. The emptied aluminum pods are then recycled, and the grounds are then transported to their nearby outdoor composting facility for composting. Ag Choice also composts animal manures and wood chips, as do we. 

When we toured their outdoor composting facility, I was impressed not only by the size of their composting equipment (their compost turners are large and super efficient) but also by the lack of any odor other than a pleasant, soil-like aroma. It was extremely impressive to see the sheer bulk of organic waste the Fischers are removing from landfills and recycling into a high-quality compost product for use by area farmers, landscapers and gardeners. While we have no need to compost food waste, it was delightful to meet the Fischers and see what they have built in Sussex County.  For me, it was another step toward some normalcy after 2020, as it was the first in-person business meeting I attended in over a year! 


In February, we began preparing our greenhouses for transplant production, by power washing transplant trays, mixing our potting soil and filling our transplant trays with the potting soil. To date, we have already seeded many of our early spring crops, such as mesclun mix, scallions, leeks, kale, collards, broccoli, onions, cabbage (red & green) and head lettuce, including early Black-seeded Simpson! We have several new greenhouse team members, and Molly has returned for her second season as a greenhouse worker, so our youngest staff member is showing the older ones the ropes in the greenhouses. 

Farmer Jim finalized his seed order, and seed packets continue to arrive at the farm.  At the same time, hundreds of our garlic shoots have begun to emerge at the Chesterfield farm, letting us know the days are lengthening and warming. Spring tillage started earlyChip inspecting spring tillage. this season, as it has been relatively warm and dry and we are scheduled to begin our distribution season on Sunday, May 23rd. 

In the office, Matt Jacob has been promoted to membership coordinator and we have made an offer to a former employee for his former position of logistics coordinator. 

David Camacho, our field manager, will be returning to the farm in late March and in April our other farmers will join him.  Our hope is that the weather continues to be warm and dry, so we can have all crops started early this season. At the new Pennington farm, we are moving our compost piles and equipment to make room for the Distribution Center.  We also need to clean up the deer fence and other areas of the farm, then we’ll be ready to install the farm sign and get comfortable in our new Pennington outpost! 


Membership applications continue to come in at a steady rate, but there are still memberships available for our Boxed Share delivery program and at our Distribution Centers in Chesterfield and Pennington.  Our applications are online HERE.  We offer four share sizes at all pick-up sites. 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 2021 member of our CSA, we encourage you to submit your application ASAP. As two organic produce farms have closed up shop in central NJ (including Profeta Farms in Neshanic Station, NJ), we expect demand to increase for our CSA shares in the next month.


Farmer Jim and I have enjoyed hosting our Pop-Up Winter Farmers’ Market at our Chesterfield farm this winter, and the weather has been relatively cooperative. The vendors are having a great time and often remark 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. We will have live music at the remaining Chesterfield markets. We are also still exploring offering a spring market in early April at our farm in Pennington, at the corner of Elm Ridge and Pennington-Rocky Hill Roads.

Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 11 AM EDT – 2 PM (The band LAREDO’s debut at the farm)


Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 11 AM EDT – 2 PM (Singer/guitarist Rob McMahon’s debut at the farm)

258 Ellisdale Road, Chesterfield, NJ 08515 


Barefoot Botanicals from Doylestown, PA, growers of high quality, certified organic medicinal and culinary herbs & other products will be with us! Learn more about their products below:


Connect through Flavor

'Seed to Bottle' botanical simple syrups are a fantastic and easy way for the whole family to connect with true botanical flavor. Each botanical has its unique profile to be used anywhere you want to impart flavor, depth, and complexity. Uses include: low sugar herbal sodas, cocktail mixers, spirit free adult drinks (mocktails), drizzle for desserts, sweetener for teas, mixed with vinaigrettes, glaze for protein (chicken, fish, duck)


Connect through medicinal effects

All of our extracts are processed right here on our herb farm to capture the life essence, vitality and potency that each botanical has to offer at its peak growth profile point. Traditional herbal and general benefits for whole body health associated with digestion, sleep, anxiety, skin conditions & inflammation. Botanical extracts should be used with knowledgeable herbal consultation. We cannot diagnose or prescribe.


Connect through Aroma

Moments after harvest, our herbs are brought back to our custom-built herb dryer and gently dried at low temperatures to retain the maximum freshness and flavor that each plant has to offer. Hydrosols are steam distilled aromatic extractions and offer unique pleasure, sensation, and benefits for hair, skin, and room. Many crafty chefs and bartenders use hydrosols to heighten and enhance our sensations during meal and beverage experiences.


Connect through Effect

Industrial Hemp is federally legal and all of our hemp products are lab tested and compliant within strict federal limits. Hemp Tincture & Hemp Infused Oil are portable, convenient and an effective nudge to help you get through your day. Hemp Teas & Flower are the most natural way to unwind from the impacts of our busy and ever connected lives. 

Honey Brook Organic Farm will have our produce (spinach, kale, collards and dried beans) and Igor's Bees wildflower honey and honeycomb. Dogwood Farms will be selling whole chickens, pork breakfast sausage, salsas, Bloody Mary mix, BBQ and hot sauces, pestos, eggs, cheese, beets, NJ apples, frozen chicken, pumpkin and vegan ginger-carrot soup, Virginia-grown organic sweet potatoes (burgundy and seaside red) and more. Garden State Salad will have homemade, healthy sourdough bread, desserts, hot coffee, hot vegan and beef chili, kombucha and more! Farmer Scott from Morganics Family Farm be selling his delicious wheat berries, oat groats, oatmeal, whole wheat flour, einkorn berries, einkorn flour and Small World coffee beans! His may be the only source of these high fiber, family and locally-grown farm products in all of Burlington County! Enjoy a cup of brewed coffee around our campfire and stroll the farm grounds. You may even see a bald eagle and our nesting killdeer. 

This Week’s Harvest
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Our harvest calendar indicates produce availability throughout the growing season.

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