Monday, August 31, 2009

Volume 14 No 13 - Week of August 31st

Cooler Temps!

We anticipated more field work early this past week, as the weather had improved. We were going to plow up the potato field and plant some fall greens but the tractor would not start. Just another trial and tribulation to add to the dreadful season we have been having. A neighboring farmer came to our rescue on Sunday to repair the tractor. This delayed our field work, but we were able to get some transplanting done with endive & collards. One main field was tilled up on Sunday and we were able to seed arugula. The rest of the day was spent getting the deliveries ready so we can work early on Monday before Farmer Rich heads south for the deliveries.

We do hope to get the whole field seeded on Monday morning with Chinese greens, lettuce and spinach for the later season deliveries. This all should have been done weeks ago, but with the dreadful weather we could not get this accomplished. We do hope that the weather will continue to cooperate and these crops will be able to grow and be harvested before the end of the season.

The tomatoes at ours as well at all the neighboring farms continue to have problems with the blight. The production of any of our tomatoes is not nearly what it should be. Our sources for more good local tomatoes are running thin, but we keep trying.

Our gorgeous cucumber plants decided to shut down on or about Thursday. Farmer Rich and the girls harvested what they could. The same thing happened at our fields at Scott's in Unionville. At least half of the potatoes in Scott's fields have been harvested and will continue to be delivered over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile in our Franklin greenhouse we cleared a bed for planting Oriental greens. The basil today's delivery was harvested from the greenhouse.

From the Fields: The wet conditions have impacted most of the field crops, from broccoli to cabbage. The chard & kale are doing ok, but not great. We haven't been able to deliver much chard/kale yet. The sweet pepper plants continue to be one of our best producers. The winter squash plants that were planted at the work-day at the farm on the 16th are doing great. We can only hope that they bear fruit before the end of October.

Weather Report: Cooler overnight temperatures have arrived. This has been nice to harvest the crops in the early morning hours. The cooler temperatures do however start to shut down the warm weather crops. Saturday night brought more rain (which we certainly don't need).

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, August 24, 2009

Volume 14 No 12 - Week of August 24th

Heirlooms at Last!

As you know from the last newsletter as well as in the news, the tomatoes are scarce this year. We have been doing the Heirloom Tomato Tasting at the Hoboken Historical Museum for the past 10 years, and even if Rich had to go to Peru to get tomatoes he would. Fortunately, we have a network of farmers who were able to get us tomatoes for the event as well as supplement any of our harvest for the CSA delivery, so there are finally some heirlooms!!! Farmer Rich notes that our on-farm Heirlooms are not in great shape. The field in the back was lost due to the blight. The other field is just too wet to get any good production, but we hope to be able to harvest some more over the next week or two.

It was great to meet many CSA members at the Tasting on Sunday and we want to thank the Hoboken Historical Museum for hosting the event as well as their network of volunteers who worked throughout the day from set-up to take-down. It was a brisk day of non-stop lines of tomato lovers basking the glory of finally being able to taste about 20 different varieties of tomatoes.

One of our local farmers is Shawna who we have been getting some of her glorious tomatoes over the years. She just became a Certified Food Processor and brought over some of her goodies for us to bring to the Tomato Tasting. Everyone who tried her products loved them and what we want to do is offer them to you on a pre-order basis. She likes to harvest and process on the SAME day, so you can't get much fresher than that. Currently she has the following items:
• Watermelon Pickles
• Peach Jam
• Peach Chutney
• Homegrown Plum Jam
• Blueberry Jam
• Sweet Pickle Relish
• Pat's Crispy Sweet Pickle Chips
• Dilly Beans
Shawna anticipates expanding her offerings and will include some more seasonal goodies. We also want to work with her to prepare some garlic goods over the next month. I will be sending out an e-mail to everyone so you can pre-order and we can make a delivery once a month of her goodies.

From the Fields: During the week Farmer Rich and the crew managed to re-seed the beds that were washed out from one of our many storms. It was just in time for another 2 ½" of rain and hopefully they are not washed out as well. It is getting very late in the season for direct seeding, but we keep trying!! Some greens will be planted from transplants this week.

Weather Report: An interesting week in that some more severe thundershowers passed through. We even had a hail storm on Friday afternoon as we were rounding up the tomatoes, etc from our local network of farmers. At least the hail did not damage any of the field crops, as Farmer Rich was able to assess for any damage rather quickly. Not that we could do anything about it, but he likes to get a pulse from the fields each and every day.

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, August 17, 2009

Volume 14 No 11 - Week of August 17th

Finally, some tomatoes!

As you have been reading, the tomato blight has hit NJ farms especially hard this season. The tomato blight that is hitting this year is the "late" variety which is also known as Phytophthora infestans and is what caused the Irish potato famine. It can infect and destroy the leaves, stems, fruits, and tubers of potato and tomato plants. Probably the main reason it is so bad this year than in any year in the recent past is that it is most active during conditions of high moisture and moderate temperatures, which of course has been our entire season!

We network with other local farmers, and have been fortunate that we can get some tomatoes from them to supplement the deliveries as our tomatoes are way behind. In another newsletter a few weeks ago we did mention we lost our back field which was about 1/3 of our planting. Though the variety and quantity is not what we wanted to deliver, there will be some tomatoes coming in weekly.

We hope to meet many of you at the 10th Annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting this Sunday at the Hoboken Historical Museum. We will have what varieties we can offer as well as some fresh produce from ours as well as our local farmer friends.

From the Fields: Our cucumbers & squash that were planted in the garlic beds are doing well.

Farmer Rich hopes to plant some Dicon radishes, beets and lettuces this week. We harvested the remainder of our potato crop. We did have some crop losses (at least half) due to the blight affecting the potatoes as well.

During the week Farmer Rich and the crew fixed out our main on-farm road which had been washed out from the excessive storms we have had.

About 14 people joined us on Saturday for our summer Work-Day at the farm and we planted two long rows of winter squash. Thanks to all who assisted. It was a hot day, but at least a cool breeze was blowing and we all at quite a great lunch, with Farmer Sue cooking up fresh picked potatoes & onions, fresh picked salad, fresh bruschetta made by Farmer Rich and a wealth of other goodies that everyone brought up.

Ready to Plant Squash.jpg Planting Squash.jpg

Weather Report: Nice weather for most of the week, though hot & humid. The plants needed some sun & the heat was great for the tomato, eggplant & pepper plants.

Animal report: Our animal attack of the week involved Farmer Rich encountering a ground hog in our squash fields at Scott's who was a bit dazed after eating two rows of summer squash. He especially like the yellow zucchini. The ground hog probably ate so much that it really didn't want to run when it saw Farmer Rich. The crew usually harvests every day, so missing out on harvesting Saturday due to the work-day at the farm invited the ground hog to have free rain for at least a day. Tomatoes.jpg

Upcoming Events: 10th Annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting -

August 23rd - 1- 5 pm Hoboken Historical Museum 1301 Hudson Street Hoboken, NJ

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, August 10, 2009

Volume 14 No 10 - Week of August 10th

Trip to the Farm - Saturday - August 15th

It looks like a season of two steps forward and then three steps back. We seem to get ahead a little and then get set back by the weather. We appreciate the encouraging comments many of you have sent along realizing that we are having a difficult season. You have appreciated our hard work to get you the deliveries and with the help of our trading partners we are able to supplement our harvests. As Susan from our Beth Haverim Shir Shalom pickup location has put it "I'm astounded (and very grateful) for what you do deliver week by week despite our antideluvian weather conditions. It is hugely fun to come to the synagogue/school on Mondays to pick up our part of your harvest and to know others are sharing in it as well. So...if some things get eaten by various 4-footeds, we know you work hard to keep them away from our dinners! And if the rain washes things away, we enjoy what remains. Thank you for keeping farming alive in our state. With best wishes and my thanks..."

From the Fields: We tilled up the Dikon radishes, beets & lettuces as they got washed away during some of the heavy rain a week ago Sunday. We will be replanting this week. The crew started to dig our main potato field in the back and unfortunately most of the potatoes are not deliverable due to them rotting in the ground. This is due to the wetness of the fields from the season on rain. We were able to get some lettuces transplanted from seedlings as well as kale, collards and endive. They should be transplanted in the fields within two weeks.

Weather Report: Well, we had a better than average week this past week! There was more sun than rain except for last Sunday when several inches fell during some violent thunderstorms. More were due yesterday, but looks like they tracked more south of us.

Animal report: The great blue heron has returned to the pond. It is probably looking for a pollywog or two. We also noticed that the groundhog decided to pull an empty coffee can over its hole (that it dug to break into the greenhouse), probably to keep the rain out!

Work Day at the Farm - Scheduled for Saturday August 15th Want to help with a few projects at the farm? Come up to the farm and spend an afternoon in the country. We usually get started around 11 am.

Projects we need help with might include:
· mulching
· transplanting
· various other tasks as the weekly weather permits
workday.gif

pleaseRSVP so we can plan on refreshments and also send out directions. IF it is Raining - we'll have to CANCEL. We'll send out an e-mail to everyone who RSVP's.
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!

Ali & Lisa placed 2nd & 5th place overall at the Open Vegetable Show at the New Jersey State Fair- Sussex Farm & Horse Show:

Ali with Ribbons.jpg Lisa with Ribbons.jpg

Ali - 2nd Place Overall

Lisa - 5th Place Overall

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, August 03, 2009

Volume 14 - No 9 Week of August 3rd

Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore!tornado.gif

On Wednesday evening a category EF2 tornado hit Wantage, just 2 miles south of the farm. You probably saw some TV coverage of the event. One of the local dairy farmers got hit especially hard, with severe damage to his barn and the silo tumbled over. We were fortunate not to be in the path of the tornado, but the excessive rain washed away many of our on-farm roads and the fields we have at Scott's Farm on the other side of Wantage was almost in the direct path, it just missed those fields by about ¼ mile. We have many of the squash plants in those fields and production decreased this past week. Perhaps the plants were traumatized!

The NJ State Fair - Sussex Farm & Horse Show started on Friday. Ali & Lisa who both work at the farm entered some veggies into the Open Vegetable Show. It was their first year exhibiting and Ali placed 2nd overall with 15 blue ribbons and Lisa placed 5th with 9 blue ribbons. This was quite an accomplishment being their first time exhibiting. Ali also received three Best-in-Show placements for:

  • Sebring Yellow Summer Squash
  • Isikura Stem Onions
  • Silver Fir Tree Tomato

From the Fields: The rain is not helping, but at this point there is not much we can do. We do have to harvest some potatoes soon and it is hard to judge just how our recently planted crops are doing. It appears we have lost about 1/3 of our tomato plants in the back field to the late blight that has been heavily reported in the news and is widespread throughout the state. The impact on the commercial tomato growers is devastating not to mention small growers like us. We even saw the impact at the NJ State Fair where the entries from local home gardeners dropped about 60% for the tomato entries. The tomato entries are usually the biggest part of the Vegetable Show and this year there were hardly any entries and most of the exhibitors were complaining about getting hit by the blight. It was just on Friday the 24th that Farmer Rich noticed the signs (blackening of the stems)and showed Ali & Lisa what to look for. They proceeded to remove the diseased parts in the hopes of saving the plants. It rained 2" that Sunday evening and by Monday morning the plants just "melted" away and can no longer be saved.


Weather Report: We hate to mention it again, but we have had non-stop rain most of the week. Over 6 inches of rain fell during the last week and the field crops are getting more & more water logged.


Animal report: A ground hog broke into the main field and ate some lettuce and another one decided to burrow underground to get into the greenhouse. Since that greenhouse had recently been harvested, there wasn't much for him to eat. A rabbit also broke in and just snacked on a few different veggies.

Fruit Deliveries - Since Farm Jim from Windy Brow Farm will not have the full poundage for one variety of fruit, we will be delivering plums one week to one site, then peaches the next. We will probably be swapping this off each week until there is sufficient harvest to stick with one variety. If you received plums last week you will be getting peaches this week (we hope we coordinated this correctly!!).

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.