Monday, October 26, 2009

Volume 14 No 21 - Week of October 26th

The Week of the Ugly Vegetables

As Farmer Rich was giving me the list of veggies in the delivery, it reminded me of a headline I put together years ago for a weekly delivery of greens "The Week of the Bitter Greens". Now, in this delivery we had sunchokes & celeriac, so it seemed a perfect fit "The Week of the Ugly Vegetables"!

Sunchokes, are native to North America and Native Americans called them "sun roots". They are in the sunflower family and are also referred to as Jerusalem artichokes. They have a potato like texture but contain no starch and their carbohydrates are not converted to sugar so they are a perfect potato substitute for diabetics. They have a slight sweet, nutlike flavor and may be eaten raw or cooked like potatoes.

We had a large patch of sunchokes years ago, but it died back and just this season started to come back. We hope to reestablish the sunchoke patch for next year so that we may delivery more of these native roots.

Celeriac - www.celeriac.comdescribes it as "An elusive root vegetable, burdened by an ugly, gnarly, disorderly, somewhat frightening appearance, and underutilized due to general uncertainty over its real potential. Yet, once one goes beyond the unglamorous shell, challenges of cleaning and peeling it, it is serendipity: an extraordinary flavor, almost non-existent calories and a rich nutritious texture are the rewards." Like the sunchoke you can use them raw or cooked. It has a celery flavor and there are recipes for soups, casseroles, gratins and the hollow stalk is sometimes cut to straw length for serving tomato-based drinks such as Bloody Marys!

We had a full crew working on Sunday to harvest & bunch up the greens for delivery this week. Lisa, Erin & Jessie worked 5 straight hours harvesting & bunching the chard, kale, sorrel & parsley. We were a bunch of bunchers!

From the Fields: The greenhouses are starting to be cleaned up as the season winds down to prepare for next year. Any plant debris is removed as well as fixing and repairing the structures. The field plastic is being removed from the beds and we plan on taking down the small greenhouse & moving it up top to better improve productivity. This allows for larger growing area in the lower field where we can manage it better with the tractor. The heated greenhouse will be reconfigured to start transplants in March.

Weather Report: Warmer weather finally arrived this week, after the unseasonably cold weather on the 17th & 18th. Saturday brought another 2" of rain, which seems to fit with the rest of the season.


Last deliveries of the Season for our Hoboken & Jersey City Sites - ThatsAllFolks.jpgThank you for your support.

One more delivery to Mahwah @ Beth Haverim Shir Shalom : November 2nd / 3rd (to make up for missed week during Yom Kippur)

Potluck.gif End of Season Potluck Dinner All CSA members are invited to the end of season potluck dinner to be held in Hoboken on November 7th starting @ 7:30 pm Hoboken Historical Museum 1301 Hudson Street - Hoboken please refer to the details in your weekly newsletter copy.

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, October 19, 2009

Volume 14 No 20 - Week of October 19th

COLD, snowy, rainy, ugly

It was a super cold weekend for October and we didn't enjoy harvesting in the snow on Saturday. We also were loading the van for the Garlic Festival on Sunday and we had a combination of snow, sleet & rain most of the day. It just seems appropriate for the final weeks of the season to continue with more precipitation!!! Not our best season needless to say, as the cool temperatures and rain just seemed to continue from June through October. We think one week of summer actually did sneak in there somewhere!!

Sunday, we had Lisa and a new part-time worker Erin; harvest the greens as Farmer Rich & I headed to Hoboken for the annual Garlic Festival. I am still trying to thaw out!! A cold, rainy morning turned into just a cold, windy day and we were pleased at the turnout at the festival on such an ugly day. We also got to meet many CSA members, which we always enjoy. In addition to garlic varieties, we brought 15 varieties of apples from Windy Brow Farm for people to sample. Many are heritage varieties and seldom seen at the grocery stores. Also, Shawna a neighboring farmer, made up a great selection of season jarred goodies and her Cinnamon Apples with raisins, jams, jellies and chutney's were a big hit.

Monday morning the weather report has a low in Sussex County of 26ºF, so Farmer Rich is anticipating icicles hanging from the field greens when he gets to the farm.

From the Fields: Provided they all don't freeze and we are able to harvest in the fields during the week, we have a really nice variety for next week's delivery. A combination of radishes, celeriac, and many greens should be on the docket. The long range forecast has next weekend similar to this one, but at least not as cold. The crew will start the harvest early and get bunches into the cooler.

Weather Report: On Friday, we received 3" of snow at the farm though Farmer Rich didn't get to see it. Friday morning's first stop was to our Franklin greenhouse to harvest the rosemary. By the time he got up to the farm, the snow had mostly melted, but some pockets were still evident. This weather is definitely hampering the delivery.

We usually post our Annual Wooly Bear Caterpillar report in this issue, but apparently it is too cold for the wooly bear's to be out! The last one we saw had a wide center brown stripe which predicts a milder winter - but of course that remains to be seen.

Animal Report: The two farm cats continue to roam around at the farm. They were checking us out as we loaded the van on Saturday, probably wondering why we were out in such a cold, rainy day.

SCHEDULED LAST DELIVERIES OF THE SEASON:

  • Hoboken & Jersey City dropoffs - October 27th
    Franklin - October 28th
    On-Farm Pickup - October 30/31
    Mahwah @ Beth Haverim Shir Shalom - November 2/3(due to skipped week during Yom Kippur)

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, October 12, 2009

Volume 14 No 19 - Week of October 12th

Jack Frost is Knocking!

For the last two nights we have been receiving "freeze" and/or frost warnings in Sussex County. Saturday morning we had our crew harvest all the peppers & other tender crops to prevent any damage if the freeze did indeed come. Fortunately at the farm, we did not receive the predicted freeze or even a frost. Some surrounding areas did. Farmer Rich's hypothesis is that the dew point was at 34º, so all the moisture came out of the air & fell on the plants, then the temperature proceeded to drop to 31º, which he noticed while going to the Franklin greenhouse. When water starts to freeze it lets off heat, so we were able to avert the freeze. The principle is similar to when the Florida citrus growers turn on sprinklers when a freeze warning is issued. mulching 2009.jpg
What happens with a freeze is that not all crops are destroyed, only the warm weather crops such as tomatoes peppers, eggplant, basil and squash. Meanwhile the kale, collards, Oriental greens, mustards and radishes are all in their prime. If temperatures get much below 25º they too will succumb to the weather. The crops in the hoop houses can take an additional 5º lower due to the extra protection.

We had a great garlic planting day and had over 20 people come up to help us plant garlic for the 2010 season. We got to meet some of our CSA members and their families. Though a cool day when the sun was behind the clouds, it was great when the sun popped out a few minutes here and there. We proceeded to pop, plant & mulch the garlic in less than 2 hours. After planting we had a great lunch and a good-bye to Ali who was leaving for California.

From the Fields: The autumn crops continue to do well. With the cool weather we have bok choi & radishes in the delivery this week. In the weeks to come we will be delivering some different varieties of mustard greens. The replanted lettuce may be a bit small, but we hope to have it for the end of season deliveries. You will start to see some chard, kale, celeriac and celery in the next few weeks.

The cover crop will be oats this year and we also plan to use oats over the planted garlic. The plan is that the oats will sprout & grow to December then will die over the winter and become mulch by the spring. This will help keep the weeds down over the garlic beds.

We are adjusting our work-day now that Ali is gone. Farmer Rich & Lisa worked on the last bunching of herbs & bok choi on Sunday. They are trying to get into a new rhythm for next week, as being one worker down they felt they were just not in the right tempo.

Weather Report: Friday we had another ½" of rain. Fortunately the beds were ready for the garlic planting and most of the beds drained well before Saturday morning. We lined the furrows with hay to keep everyone's knees from getting too muddy as they planted.

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, October 05, 2009

Volume 14 No 18 - Week of October 5th

Work Day at the Farm - Saturday!

We have scheduled the work-day at the farm on Saturday and in preparation in getting the beds ready for garlic planting we encountered a series of disasters. First the plastic laying machine (which wraps the beds) broke down. Once fixed, the beds just didn't seem to wrap properly, probably they being a bit too wet. Then we ran out of drip tape which is laid under the plastic to irrigate when needed during the season. We do however anticipate having the beds ready to go for Saturday!

This past week, Ali joined Rich on the Tuesday delivery run to Hoboken & Jersey City and was able to meet Carolyn, Kristen & Lynn at three of the drop-off sites. It was good experience for her, as it showed her how the CSA distribution system works.

WORK DAY @ the FARM: October 10th 11 am - ??
Want to spend a day in the country and help us on the farm? We are scheduling our next work day at the farm to be a garlic planting day. Help us plant garlic for the 2010 season. It is a great for families, as garlic is very easy to plant. Just a few extra hands and we plant plenty of garlic in just a few hours. If we had to do it ourselves it would take the better part of a week. We first start by "popping" the garlic, which is separating the individual cloves from the bulb, then we plant each clove and finally apply mulch over it. We also plan on having a good-bye lunch for our Farm Operations Leader, Ali, who will be leaving for California. She will be sorely missed. Lisa & Jessie will be working the rest of the season. Please RSVP so that we may plan on lunch and send you directions.

From the Fields: The cold weather crops are really doing well in the field. The radishes, kale, Oriental greens (red & green mustard, Tokyo Bekana), turnips, Shanghai Cabbage. The potatoes should be in the next delivery and you will be receiving winter squash over the next few weeks as well. The winter squash varieties will be mixed week to week with acorn, delicata, butternut, spaghetti, and carnival. Most all the squash and potatoes have already been harvested.

We have basil, rosemary, cucumbers (which are on their last leg), more Oriental greens, arugula and more Shanghai cabbage growing well in the Franklin Greenhouse. We anticipate shutting down the Franklin greenhouse once everything is harvested at the end of the season. It was great to have the greenhouses this year, as the cold, wet weather really impacted the field crops.

HERB of the WEEK: Stevia - We have tried growing stevia in the past for many years and each year was not successful. This year, at least we have some that survived so can give you a sample of this interesting herb. Territorial Seed describes it as: "the Sweet Herb of Paraguay, Stevia is probably the sweetest plant in the world. It contains steviaside, which is 300 times sweeter than sugar without the calories! Add a fresh bruised leaf to iced tea, or harvest the leaves, dry, and grind to a powder for use in drinks and cooking. This vigorous tender perennial is used in many parts of the world in place of artificial sweeteners." It is best to start by tasting just a leaf to test its sweetness then you can adapt how you will use it.

Weather Report: It was a cool week followed by warmer temperatures over the week. Fortunately no frost was in the forecast. The lowest temperature for the week was 36º F.

Animal Report: A few weeks ago we mentioned we had a "farm cat" sneaking into the fields. Well now there are two!

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.