The Local Harvest

THE LOCAL HARVEST   The Newsletter of Honey Brook Organic Farm CSA, December, 2018 

STILL TIME TO JOIN USING OUR 2019 EARLY BIRD APPLICATIONS AND SAVE! by Sherry Dudas    

Please click here for the link to our membership page, which includes links to our 2019 Early Bird applications.  These applications reflect membership fees that are the same as the membership fees for the 2018 season (in other words, the fees as reflected on the 2018 regular applications, not the Early Bird applications). On-Farm Early Bird membership fees will only remain in effect until December 31, 2018, so all applications need to be postmarked or delivered to the farm office by December 31st.  The deadline for our receipt for Boxed Share Early Bird applications is January 31st. 

Regarding the 2019 season, we do have some changes ahead. In Pennington, we are no longer going to be open on Mondays for pick-up or pick-your-own (except for holidays, where PYO fields only will be open). In Chesterfield, we will be closing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30pm after Columbus Day.  On the Boxed Share Program, we have added the following pick-up locations: Burlington, Chester, Edison, Little Silver, South Philadelphia, RWJUniversity Hospital in Hamilton and RWJ University Hospital in New Brunswick.  We’ve discontinued delivery to Bloomfield, and have changed the pick-up day for a few of the Boxed Share locations.  We also do not plan on offering additional share sizes on either the Delivered Box Share program or at our Distribution Centers in Chesterfield and Pennington.

Any questions regarding the Early Bird applications can be directed to Amy, our membership coordinator, at or 609-737-8846 and we thank you in advance for joining us for the 2019 season!      

FIRST PARTNERSHIPS WITH A HOSPITAL AND A MUNICIPAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT IN OUR BOXED SHARE PROGRAM SUCCESSFUL AND EXPANDING! by Sherry Dudas 

This year was our first in partnering with an area hospital as well as a municipality to offer our fresh, organic produce through our Boxed Share Program. Linda Brown, a long-standing CSA member who coordinated the drop-off for us and secured all the approvals, says that Freehold Township has been investing in their employees in a more active way in the last few years.  This has meant both short-term programs encouraging healthy behaviors, and long-term programs, like the 1-year "The Lifestyle Change (TLC)" Program.  This program supported healthy lifestyle changes from activity, food selection, stress management, seasonal concerns and more.  It was highly successful for the 18 participating employees and as it concluded in April 2017, the Health Department was seeking a new way to continue the opportunities to support healthy choices. 

After some preliminary research, the participants from the TLC program were very interested in the CSA concept.  Allowing the on-site pick up at the Municipal Building was an added bonus, not only for Freehold Township’s employees, but also local community members as well.  Access is one of the things the Health Department routinely considers when evaluating health concerns and/or opportunities to better one’s health.  The on-site drop off was just another opportunity to support healthy choices for Freehold Township and its employees.   

Overall, the greatest benefit has been the excitement and participation of so many!  Additionally, the sense of community and support around the program has been wonderful. With the additions of some unfamiliar produce, many employees have said they do not routinely (or ever) buy or eat certain items in the box each week. However, employees and community members have found new items they enjoy and different participants have shared their favorite preparations throughout the season.   

Through the season, the biggest challenge was offering this program in a public building.  There was a need to have staff available to monitor the pick-ups in a casual way, particularly at the beginning of the season and when the supplemental items were included.  Additionally, it was challenging to accommodate community members who could not arrive prior to the building being closed at 4:30. We are very thankful for the front desk staff for their willingness to be the"eyes and ears" of the weekly pick-ups!

Even with the challenge of being in a public space, the Township has committed to participating in our program for a second season.  The increased access, consumption and use of the weekly boxed share items has made the second season an easy choice for them.  While this year’s season of produce deliveries was winding down, many of Freehold’s participants commented on how much they will miss the weekly "haul" on Wednesday!  Both farm staff and Freehold Township’s staff look forward to making the second season even more successful!

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Kathleen Roberts (Right) - RWJUH's onsite host at Somerset and Karen Connelly, a RWJUH dietician who has helped by providing recipes to CSA participants

In June, Jan Gottlieb, an employee health coach working with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerville’s employee wellness committee contacted us to see if we could offer Boxed Share memberships to hospital employees for the 2018 season. According to Jan, the hospital is very committed to employee health and wellness and wanted to make it as easy as possible for employees to access fresh organic fruits and veggies. And, as she said, “What easier way than providing it right at the workplace?” 

This site was easy for us to accommodate on our Tuesday delivery route, and both Rachel, our Boxed Share coordinator and I hosted information tables during two employee lunch breaks to answer questions about our CSA, display the four boxes available for delivery and sign up participants.  Within a short period of time, we had enough members for a viable site, making Farmer Jim especially gratified as this is the hospital he was born in sixty years ago!

Jan reports she has had good feedback from those picking up their boxes. They notice such a difference between our fresh, organic produce and what they've traditionally purchased. They appreciate the option of the different size boxes and of course, the convenience of picking up from work. Several have also gone to the farm to pick their own produce and are very grateful for that membership benefit. Jan also says that Honey Brook has been fantastic to work with - extremely accommodating,responsive and friendly!

Their biggest challenge has been finding a space within the hospital for pickup.  The conference room they finally settled on was turned into an office, so mid-season the boxes were placed in the hallway of the suite where their onsite host, Kathleen, has an office. For 2019, they plan to find a better space, as they are hoping to grow the number of employees purchasing our CSA shares, with earlier promotion, education and word of mouth from those who purchased this year. Jan has key "champions" on their wellness committee who can promote it and the hospital feels this is an important component of a culture of well-being. 

Recently, Jan secured approvals for the farm to offer our CSA program at their Hamilton and New Brunswick facilities as well.  In New Brunswick, employees of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey will also be invited to participate.  I’m thrilled about both of these new offerings, but especially regarding New Brunswick’s addition, as it’s the hospital I was born in (back when it was Middlesex General Hospital!). 

The offerings on our Boxed Share program continue to grow and we are interested in expanding the number of communities we serve.  If you or an organization or business you’re a part of has an interest in hosting one of our Boxed Share drop-offs, please contact Rachel, our Boxed Share Coordinator, at or 609-737-8846. 

WELCOMING AMY SCHEINER IN A NEW ROLE AT THE FARM – Sherry Dudas

We’re sorry to say that after working as our membership coordinator for over a decade, Lynne Quinto has left the farm to pursue other opportunities. We will miss Lynne’s dedication to the needs of our membership and her willingness to always pitch in during our frequent crunch times!  She will be missed.

Some members already know our new membership coordinator, Amy Scheiner, as she was a farm stand attendant in the fall.  With Lynne’s departure, Amy was promoted to the membership coordinator position. She recently moved back to the area after 3 years of living on the West Coast. She is a big advocate for CSA organic farming, not only for the community and environmental benefits, but for the health advantages as well. As someone who has struggled with numerous health factors for the majority of her adult life, she finds that organic produce has been indispensible for her healing journey. When not at Honey Brook, she can be found traipsing around the world, writing in cafes, and hanging out with her orange tabby cat, Bernie Sanders. 

WRAP UP OF THE LATE FALL SEASON by Sherry Dudas  

Since the beginning of November, the weather has been colder and exceedingly wetter than normal. We’ve had few sunny days and, of course, a snow storm that brought more snow than predicted on November 15th, about 5 inches.  Turns out this storm alone made this November one of the snowiest on record. In New Jersey this season, we have broken the state record for wettest fall and this was also the second wettest November on record. Even though we tried to move the crops we planted along with the use of row covers and low tunnels, it really wasn't enough to provide members with bountiful end-of-season produce and overcome the late fall weather challenges.  

If you've kept up with our monthly newsletters, you’ll recall that Jim foresaw that there was going to be a shortage of fall produce due to the consistently rainy weather which did not allow us to transplant in a timely manner, as we use heavy tractors that cannot get on saturated fields. He had a “dry” window in the late summer, he seeded more crops, and we were hoping they would be harvestable in time for our last weeks, but November made that goal impossible.  Produce is still in the fields now and may be viable despite the record cold, record wet and record snow. 

One success of the fall was that we planted over twice as much garlic as last fall and got it in the ground in time for it to now be sprouting, but even more importantly, it is rooting, which will help prevent damage that might be caused by winter frost heave.  After the recent snow and rains, Jim checked it and it’s doing well. Garlic is harder to grow now that a new garlic pest, allium leaf minor, has been introduced to our area. The only effective way to control this pest is to put row covers over two acres of our garlic, an expensive and time-consuming task.  Another fall success was the abundant and high quality ginger, which many CSA members simply swooned over! 

OUR WINTER FARMERS' MARKET CONTINUES THIS SATURDAY! - Sherry Dudas

If we have any quantity of viable produce, it will be available to members at the second of our Winter Farmers’ Markets, scheduled for Saturday, December 15th, from 11am-3pm and held at the Pennington Distribution Center.  From thereon, the market is being held every other Saturday for the rest of the month of December and January! The following is a list of participants: 

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. In 2009, she attended and completed studies at Self-Heal School of Herbal Studies, where her own healing journey and deeper connection to the plant world began. There she was inspired to empower others. After her first herb school, her love for food as medicine took her to participate in several farming and herbal internships. Over the years she has also volunteered with many herbal wellness and first aid clinics. In 2014, she attended and completed The Hawthorn Institute's program in Traditional Western Herbalism and Bioregional Ayurveda. From there, she helped to start The Hawthorn Collective: a nonprofit free herb clinic, serving communities in southern Oregon. Laura believes that is it our birthright as humans to remember our connection to our heart and to the Earth and to have access to local whole food, a supportive community and holistic healthcare!  She offers herbal products and tea!! Lotions, winter immune syrups, bitters, essence formulas, heart elixir and cups of yummy homemade tea. She grows most of the herbs she uses and gets the rest from friend's farms or local folks.  

Angie from Crooked Bottom Farm says, “Our family farm was established in 2011 in the heart of Central New York. After 35 years working in corporate America and raising our kids in New Hope, PA, we're finally able to get away from it all.  Our primary residence is still in New Hope, but we go to NY during the growing season to enjoy 'playing in the dirt'.  We are Certified Naturally Grown and follow sustainable growing practices.  We are offering German Red and German White hardneck garlic.  We have seed stock (x-large bulbs at least 2" in diameter) and culinary stock (med-large bulbs averaging 1.5-2" in diameter). The larger bulbs are better for planting, but both sizes are great for cooking and eating!  German Red has a strong, spicy, robust flavor.  It is full-bodied and generally produces 8 or 9 cloves per bulb.  We are sold out of seedstock, but have plenty of culinary stock. German White isn't too hot, having a mild and "sweet" flavor. The bulbs are big with 4-5 large cloves.   We currently have both seed stock and culinary stock. You can find us on Facebook and on our website.” 

Dogwood Farms of Hillsborough, NJ is 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, fresh pastas and holiday gift baskets.  They are also offering a monthly meat CSA share program, with pick-up dates at Honey Brook Organic Farm of January 12th,February 2nd,March 2nd & April 6th 

Sandi of Garden State Salad in Flemington, NJ (and Farmer Sherry Dudas’s sister) will be selling freshly prepared hot and cold soups as well as hot organic coffee.  Enjoy her hand-made soups at the market or take home to heat and eat! Sandi takes pride in using only the freshest, locally grown (when available) ingredients to create healthy and nutritious soups! 

HomeFront volunteer Jody will be selling reusable up-cycled cloth market bags to use at the farm!  She will have 5 different sizes available for sale: x-small, small, medium, large and X-large. 

Honey Brook Organic Farm will be selling CSA shares for our 2019 season, as well as any produce that may survive this wacky weather of late 2018 (we planted baby boc choi, braising mix, salad mix, radishes, carrots and arugula for harvesting in November; the weather proved to be unseasonably uncooperative but the crops are still in the fields, some protected by low tunnels and row covers).  If vegetables can be harvested, in appreciation of the support our 2018 CSA members have shown our farm through our most challenging season in our 29-year history, we will be offering a combination of a CSA distribution for 2018 CSA members, as well as retail sales. 

Joanna of Purely Farm's Naturally Pasture-Raised Meats in Ottsville, PA will be selling their pasture-raised pork, turkey and lamb.  Popular items include killer kielbasi, bone-in shoulder roasts (the ultimate comfort food) and ground lamb.  Have you been wondering what to do with those dried beans you got with your share?  Stop by for some simple, wholesome ideas like ham and bean soup or frank and beans.  She will also have their sheep skins for sale if you are looking for the perfect gift for someone who already has everything. 

Sugar Maple Jerseys Heidi Kovacs, a 38-year-old single mom of two little girls, is the sole owner of this local dairy and a first generation dairy farmer. She started this farm 5 1/2 years ago with a small loan and big dreams. Sugar Maple Jerseys is a small registered Jersey herd located in Stockton, New Jersey. Heidi milks 35 to 40 Jerseys twice a day, every day and has small batches of cheese made by hand from her Jersey milk. 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 the products she will be selling include raw milk cheddar, flavored cheddars, aged Gouda, hand-made butter, mozzarella, feta and cheddar cheese curds. 

Sweet Spice & Honey, Halal Baked Goods The breads offered by baker Amatullah Jabriel are a collection of sweet and savory breads offering down-home ingredients, close to the earth, that are swirled, tucked and topped onto and into each loaf.  As each bread, bun, pinwheel, scone, brownie and there's even a pie in there, has its own uniqueness, character and personality, each menu item offered has been artisanally deliquesced with creative flavors that yields an end product that's tasty, satisfying and nutritious.  Always starting with a base of unbleached, unbromated flours, aluminum-free baking leaveners and pure cane sugar, Sweet Spice & Honey has taken great strides to mix locally-sourced ingredients! 

Hope to see you at our Farmers’ Markets and also wish you and yours a Happy Holiday season!




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