Monday, July 27, 2009

Volume 14 No 8 - Week of July 27th

Delivery Van Fixed!

First we needed to get the refrigerated cooler fixed during the week of the 13th and this past week it was the delivery van. Sorry to have to make the delivery a day late and we really appreciated the words of support that many members sent us. The van started to act up on the way to Jersey City and Farmer Rich was able to get it back to Bergen County where our great mechanic Joe performs his "magic". According to Joe we were lucky to get it back to him as soon as we did, as if Rich had tried to make it to Jersey City & Hoboken we would be stuck in the middle of the deliveries, totally broken down and far away from our usual mechanic. Joe had it fixed by 9:30 am on Wednesday and off Rich went to deliver, though 24 hours late!

From the Fields: Finally we were able to plant some beds that the potatoes, favas & peas had been harvested with fava greens, dill, cilantro, beets, lettuce and dicon radishes. Ali & Lisa seeded some fall crops such as more lettuces, broccoli and winter squash. The tomatoes and eggplants are growing very slow, but all the tomato plants are trellised and we just need better weather. The rest of the potatoes at the farm and at Scott's are ready to be harvested. The harvested beds in the Franklin Greenhouse will be replanted on Wednesday with oriental greens (red & green choi's).

Weather Report:
We had dry weather during most of the week with some intermittent scattered thunderstorms. Saturday night though we had a severe thunderstorm and another 3 ¼" of rain fell.

Animal report: Almost immediately after seeding the squash a field mouse decided to start stealing the seeds and planting them where he wanted. There have been no major break-ins by deer or groundhogs in the fields.

Fruit Deliveries - The fruit deliveries start this week and all the fruit is from Windy Brow Farm located in Newton. They offer pick-your-own days at the farm, especially during apple season. Farmer Jim Hunt participates in Rutger's IPM program (integrated pest management).

Work Day at the Farm - Scheduled for August 15th- the weather hasn't been cooperating for us to schedule a trip any earlier, so we are planning ahead in the hopes that we'll have great weather and be able to have CSA members come up to the farm & help with a few projects. More details to follow as we get closer to the 15th. We usually start late morning and give you a tour of the farm, start working on a project then break for an on-farm barbeque and hopefully go back to work after!

Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Volume 14 No 7 - Week of July 20th

Refrigerated Cooler Fixed

A service engineer was called upon to get the refrigerated cooler back on track after it froze up last week. It was a relay which was replaced and it has been working great all week as we have been checking it daily to ensure it worked great for the harvest during the weekend. We are setting up with Scott an alarm that will trigger when it goes below 35ºF so someone can get there quickly to avert an overnight freeze. The cooler is about 20' x 10' and is a necessity to keep the produce chilled down between harvest & delivery.

The Franklin Greenhouse has come to our rescue more than once this season. For this week's delivery some of the greens & basil were harvested from the greenhouse. We have been reporting to you the problems in the fields with the weather, being too wet to plant, washouts and crop losses. But Farmer Rich is determined to pull a few rabbits out of a few hats as the season progresses.

From the Fields: The field where the fava beans were is now tilled. We plan on seeding it with cilantro, dill, beets & beans as well as Oriental greens & dicon radishes. The rain we did receive set back our planting schedule. Seeding for more transplants will be done this week.

We were pleasantly surprised that the field at Scotts that the deer broke into earlier in the season actually had a terrific harvest of squash. Meanwhile the tomato plants in that field have started to come back but will be delayed in bearing fruit.

We have been checking in the Farmer Jim @ Windy Brow Farm for the beginning of the fruit deliveries. There has been damage to some of the fruit crop but fortunately no major problems. According to Farmer Jim the fruit should start in the next week or two.

Weather Report: A week's worth of sunshine with some intermittent rain at the farm. We received about 1" of rain on Friday night which delayed our planned planting in the fields on Saturday.

Animal report: Looks like a bear decided to check out our back field. The fence was torn in one section. Farmer Rich believes that if deer were trying to break in the fence posts would have been bent in while the deer were trying to break through it. In this case the posts are still intact, but the fencing actually torn. Fortunately, nothing was disturbed in the fields. We do have some crows picking away at new transplants of tomatoes.

Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Volume 14 No 6 - Week of July 13th

Abundant Sunshine - for a change!

Well almost a full week of abundant sunshine! The fields were finally drying out and we were able to work in them for a change. Unfortunately on Tuesday night a hail storm followed a track right through the farm and the sorrel which was growing so nicely was turned into shredded sorrel. Needless to say we have to wait for it to regrow and just add it to the crop loss list. The other field crops were damaged somewhat, but the losses were not as severe.

Thank goodness we have our network of “trading partners” which involves partnering with local farmers to supplement the deliveries. We have been doing this for years and it works out well if we have too much of an item we can trade it for another item that they have too much of. We budget for this throughout the season, and this season being especially troublesome with the weather problems it has been saving our weekly deliveries.

We have been struggling to keeps the weeds at bay so in addition to trying to get into the fields to plant we also have to keep the beds free from the weeds so the crops grow better.

Our second planting of fava beans was not as productive as the first so this week’s delivery of fava beans will be less.

From the Fields: Finally some planting in the fields was accomplished this week. The garlic beds were vacant after the garlic harvest, so they were the first to be replanted. On Wednesday, we were finally able to plant. The cucumbers & squash were the first plants in and then on Friday we planted chard & thyme. On Saturday we were able to plant New Zealand spinach and more is slated for this week. Farmer Adam’s tractor was tied up so we couldn’t use his planter, but with our great crew we accomplished this all by hand.

Weather Report: All in all we had a week with mostly sunshine and the fields are starting to dry out. We had a hail storm on Tuesday night which did some damage to some of the field crops which we outlined in the intro. We did receive about ½” of rain on Saturday night which made Sunday’s harvest a bit muddy. The outlook for the week ahead appears that another nice week is in the forecast with generally cooler than normal temperatures for July. A few scattered thunderstorms are predicted and hopefully they will scatter away from the farm.

Animal report: The animals continue to behave by staying outside the fences.

While harvesting the fava beans a baby bird was disrupted from its nest and was found hopping about among the fallen fava plants.

Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Volume 14 No 5 - Week of July 6th

48 Hours - NO Rain!

We hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July and celebrated being Food Patriots! As Cathy at www.farmtoconsumer.org so aptly put it: "Food Patriots! How will you celebrate Food Independence (from factory farms) Day? Hug a farmer? Broil a grassfed burger?" Farmer Rich & I ate all local at Ali's house (Ali is our Farm Operations Leader) with many of our local farmer friends and Ali made a great salad fresh from our farm for all to enjoy.Greenhouse 7-4-09.jpg

We started the fava bean harvest and they are in your delivery this week. Though quite labor intensive everyone looks forward to our yearly delivery of fava beans. If you have never cooked fresh fava beans before, make sure you check out the harvest identifier to tips on how to prepare them. We do have another planting, but they don't look like they will be as productive as this planting.

Since the rain has been so consistent over the last several weeks, we have been taking advantage of our greenhouses to try to ensure consistent deliveries. Despite some severe losses in the fields, our greenhouse crops are doing well and some of the field crops are rebounding. We planted New Zealand Spinach in the Franklin greenhouse as all the spinach in the field was lost due to the weather.

From the Fields: The rain kept us out of the field most of the week. The lettuce plants in the greenhouse that were to be transplanted into the field bolted (turn to seed), so they went into the compost pile. We couldn't plant them any earlier as it was too wet. We are planning on re-seeding this week more lettuce and various greens. To be transplanted in the fields are Chinese cabbage, cucurbits (cukes, zukes & squash) and stevia. We are running behind but we also plan on seeding some winter squash up in Scott's fields. These will take the place of the garlic that was just harvested. All in all, it appears that the garlic harvest this year is far better than last year's crop. Your first delivery of garlic is tonight. The garlic is not cured yet, as that occurs over the next few months. When the garlic is fully cured it will have the intense flavors, but many like the milder early garlic to start using in your favorite recipes.

Weather Report: Wow - no rain for 48 hours between July 4th & 5th!! Another few days like these splendid days and we'll be able to plant in the fields again. We did have rain most of the week off & on from a trace to 1" each day. The temperature at the farm fell to 49º F over night between the 4th & 5th of July. No danger to the crops, but worth noting it was the coldest night since May.

Animal report: We guess that the poor weather has kept the animals at bay. They probably don't like getting wet like Farmer Rich. No problems with deer, groundhogs or bugs this week! Even the deer at Scott's farm seems to have given up on eating any more plants. The squash plants are looking really good and you are getting your first summer squash delivery this week.

Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.