Monday, June 28, 2010

Volume 15 - No 4 - Week of June 28th

Fava Knows Best!

No veggie & a movie this week, but how about a 50's TV show - Fava Knows Best? It may be a week late for Father's Day, but the fava beans this year are ready earlier than in years past. They usually are delivered the first week of July, but were ready to harvest so harvest we did. This year's fava have a better yield and also are in better shape in that they didn't get the black spots which is often seen on the outer pod. It actually took about 2 1/2 days to harvest the fava beans. Not only are they labor intensive to harvest, you need to take additional time to prepare them yourself (see special fava bean tips in the Harvest Identifier & Recipe pages)

PS - don't forget you can have your fava beans with a nice chianti!!!

The pond is down about 6-7" due to lack of rain, which is in total contrast to last year when we were complaining of it being too wet. Saturday went from being dry to being VERY dry. We are irrigating all fields and some of the beds are being hand watered as well. While we were hand watering we notice how the soil dried out immediately as we watered. As the plants get bigger we are mulching with hay or straw and that helps immensely to keep the moisture in. We actually will be using the fava plants that we just harvested as mulch for the cucumber plants. We normally will chop them and plow them into the soil for the next rotation of crops which may include turnips, dicon radishes and mustards. Since we are almost out of hay until the next delivery, we'll use the plants to shade the soil, increase moisture retention and even add some nutrients such as nitrogen to the soil as they break down and we plow them in during the crop rotations.

The garlic harvest has started, and some garlic is small due to lack of water and some weeding up in certain areas that we never got the plastic laid down. Once all the garlic is harvested, these beds will be rolled over to our fall crops.

The Franklin greenhouse has almost been totally rolled over with new plantings as outlined below in our Crop report. Tonight's carrot harvest actually came from the Franklin greenhouse. We also have Rosemary again as the rosemary crop went ballistic! We reduced the bed by half and it will be replaced by sage & thyme (sorry no parsley in this bed - ha-ha!). Renee who lives close to Franklin is really managing that greenhouse well. She has been transplanting, weeding, watering and helping with the harvest. In the meantime our on-farm personnel, Hannah, Lisa and Nancy, are starting super early in the am to get most of the work done prior to the heat of the mid-day sun. They are all hard workers and we are fortunate to have such a great crew.

Crop Report

planted this week:

cherry tomatoes



anise hysoop



What's up & growing:

The tomato plants are performing well - much better than last year. The eggplant & peppers are cruising along as well and the Brussels sprouts have doubled in size since last week. We have an intruder (see Animal report below) whom seems to be enjoying the Brussels sprouts & Kohlrabi. We haven't had good luck in the past with Brussels sprouts so this rabbit may be a long-time resident who is enjoying trying a new crop instead of the same-ole-same-ole.

We are trying to get zucchini into all the delivery sites over the past few weeks, as there just were never enough to deliver all at once. Hopefully their production will increase and we can deliver more.

The winter squash and next planting of zucchini are both up and should be planted in the field during the week. The next planting of lettuce and kale will be undertaken this week as well. Also planned are seeding turnips. Hokuri & golden ball are the two varieties of turnips that we plan on seeding.

Weather Report:
Only about 1/8" of rain fell during the week - but we have been through this before in the last 15 years. Even though it rained a little bit the writing is on the wall that we are either in or close to drought conditions. I have even noticed in my driving down Route 23 where I pass 2 reservoirs that their levels are getting quite low. We usually report drought conditions about 1 month ahead of the government!!! This is all subject to change, but if it doesn't rain a decent amount soon, drought conditions will definitely be here. The rains when they come seem to get less and less, even though it may seem we are getting a decent rain we actually are not.

Animal report: Our intruder (probably a rabbit) has been enjoying the Brussels Sprouts and Kohlrabi or should I say KohlRabbit. Looking back at past newsletters, we had a similar intruder enjoying the kohlrabi a few years back. Usually the ground hogs aren't are selective in their munching, they just eat everything in their path so we are quite sure it is a rabbit.

CSA Member offers Bicycle Delivery Service
for CSA shares in Hoboken & Jersey City

A fellow CSA member in Hoboken, Jorge Szymanski, is offering to deliver your CSA shares to your home via his bicycle delivery service. Please click here for more information.

Fava Beans
:FavaBeans.jpg To use the fava beans you'll have to shell and skin them first. The easiest way to skin them is to blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, then slit the skin with a knife or your thumb nail, and squeeze gently to slip the bean out.
Refer to our previous blogs for more info:

Week of June 28th - 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 at anytime during the season. 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, June 21, 2010

Volume 15 - No 3 - Week of June 21st

Dryer than you think!

It is actually dryer that you think at the farm, at least dryer than Farmer Rich thought. We did have about ¾" of rain last week, which was very welcome. We do continue to have to irrigate the fields and are trying to catch up to keep everything watered.

The week seemed to go quickly as every day was filled with projects (as usual) and not too much turmoil! Monday is a pick & pack day to have all the delivery sites harvest ready to load on the van and then head south to deliver to Mahwah late Monday afternoon. Tuesday is delivery day to Hoboken & Jersey City. Wednesday we have a full-crew and replanting (see crop reports below) of areas that were harvested as well as weeding and veggie maintenance are the prime directives of the day. Thursday, Farmer Rich is by himself and he makes the rounds to assess what will be ready to harvest for the next delivery and to line up projects for the crew for Friday. More field maintenance is done as well such as tilling up beds to get them ready for planting. On Friday our full crew is back and we continue to plant in the fields, weed, mulching and trellis the tomatoes & cucumbers and anything else that may present itself. On Saturdays & Sundays, we start to harvest the delivery at 5:00 am (thank goodness we have a good crew who doesn't mind starting super early) to get it in the cooler before the hot sun of the day. This is all done prior to 9:00 am. The rest of a Saturday & Sunday is spent sorting, bunching, bagging and getting the delivery ready. In between all of this we have to get to our Franklin greenhouse where a lot of the first few weeks of deliveries have been harvested.

Crop Report - we like to keep you posted on the variety of crops that are either already growing or have been planted or seeded.
Planted, transplanted or seeded this week:


Sunflower sprouts

Squash both Winter & Summer varieties


Replanted salad mix

Hot Peppers



Cherry Tomatoes



What's Up & Growing:

The newly seeded arugula, lettuce & salad mixes are doing well. The beets and sweet basil are up as well and the Brussels sprouts have "popped". This is when they are almost doubled in size within the week. This is true of many other crops as well, such as the tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, squash, kohlrabi and herbs. The fava beans look like they may be ready early this year.

Crop losses this week included the cauliflower. They "buttoned up" too early, so they are size of about a ½ Dollar. These plants will be removed this week and the bed replanted with celery & squash. The sorrel is not doing as well as years past, but there are some of the better leaves in the salad mix being delivered this week. We lost some Walla Walla onion and radishes.

Weather Report:
Thunderstorms are on the horizon for the early part of the week. Since we need the rain we'll probably not get it, while a neighboring farmer that just cut his hay and doesn't need it probably will get it!

Animal report : No break-ins and the fences are doing their job. Farmer Rich thinks he has seen an Eastern Meadowlark just outside the new greenhouse. By the time he gets the camera it is gone. We hope to catch it during the week.

Summer Arrives: Summer arrives onJune 21, 2010 at 7:28 am EDT (the summer solstice) The term "solstice" comes from the Latin words "sol" (sun) and "sistere" (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the Sun's rays and the plane of the Earth's equator (called declination) appears to stand still. This phenomenon is most noticeable at the Arctic Circle where the Sun hugs the horizon for a continuous 24 hours, thus the term "Land of the Midnight Sun."- The Farmers' Almanac

Radishes this week: Radishes-cherry.jpg Most of the 'hot' taste is in the skin. Peel them for a milder flavor.
Radish Cooking Tips The process of cooking radishes tames the harshness. To enhance the red coloring of a radish while cooking, add a bit of lemon juice to the cooking liquid.
Boil: Bring water to a boil, carefully drop in whole or sliced radishes. Simmer radishes until they become just tender, from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the type of radish.
Steam: Steam whole radishes in steamer for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on desired tenderness.
Roast: Preheat oven to 425ยบ F. Toss sliced radishes with olive oil, and favorite seasonings. Spread radishes onto baking sheet or roasting pan.Roast for 30-45 minutes, until tender and browning.

Week of June 21st - 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 at anytime during the season. 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, June 13, 2010

Volume 15 - No 2 - Week of June 14th

Moulin Rhubarb!Movie.gif

moulinrouge.jpgPeriodically throughout the season we'll feature our Veggies & a Movie.
This week the feature is Moulin Rhubarb!

The only delivery of Rhubarb for the season will be this week's harvest. Rhubarb is one of the earliest spring crops and many either love it or hate it. For those who haven't been introduced to rhubarb we suggest "try it, you'll like it" and look through the recipes for one that will suit your tastes. There is an annual Rhubarb Festival in Minnesota (sorry we missed it on the 5th), but is sure sounds like that have a great time. Go to this link for some great recipes (and more recipes will be posted too)

We can get into the fruit or vegetable controversy for Rhubarb and if we do then we have to include tomatoes too. Rhubarb is traditionally classified as a vegetable; however, in the United States a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit it was to be called a fruit. The outcome of this decision was a reduction in taxes paid. The Supreme Court got involved in the classification of the tomato; "Botanically, a tomato is a fruit. However, it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than at dessert, therefore it is considered a vegetable for most culinary purposes. The U.S. Supreme Court settled the controversy on May 10, 1893 by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert (Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304))." So we have Rhubarb which is a vegetable, now used as a fruit and tomatoes which are a fruit used as a vegetable! Wow - and everybody thinks farming is so straight forward!

Don't forget to check out the Harvest Identifier each week. Many members wrote notes that they didn't know what was what in the delivery, but we post the link to the Harvest Identifier within the weekly newsletter that you receive as well as post it on the blog & website. In addition you can download a PDF copy of this newsletter and the Harvest Identifier if you prefer the more traditional "paper" copy. The Harvest Identifier includes photos, tips & additional recipes. Just more resources that we hope you will find helpful. Also, if you have a recipe you want to share, please send me an e-mail and I will include it for other members.

Crop Report - we like to keep you posted on the variety of crops that are either already growing or have been planted or seeded.
Planted, transplanted or seeded this week:

Cherry Tomatoes
Hot Peppers
Beets Brussels Sprouts
Herbs (basil, par-cel, cutting celery, parsley)

What's Up & Growing:

Oriental Greens
Kohlrabi Tomatoes
Fava Beans
New Zealand Spinach
Cabbage Spinach

So far we have some minor crop losses. The peas in the back field needed to be replanted, so an early crop of peas is not on the horizon.

Weather Report: To date, the season has been on the dry side, but we finally received some much needed rain this past week. About 1" fell during the week over a few days, which was much better than getting it all at once. The temperatures have been hot but not unbearable. The harvests begin very early in the morning before the heat increases so that we can get the lettuces and greens into the cooler.

Animal report:
We had a bear on the farm watching Lisa & Hannah planting in the back field. We guess it was taking inventory of what they were planting to see if it wants to break in later in the season for some treats! All in all, there have been minimal problems with the animals so far. The fences are doing their job, except for the family of rabbits which are inside the fence. So far they didn't find the carrots!

Interesting Notes for the week: We are on a farming e-mail list for Sussex County Farmers and this week received a link to an interesting video for an idea in helping to clean up the Gulf's Oil Spill. The header was "never underestimate a farmer's ingenuity" A simple, "green" way to get the oil out of the water - probably way too simple for BP or the government to figure out. Anyway, if you want to view it, click here: Sure makes sense!rhubarb3.jpg

Not everyone's favorite, as some people love it and some just don't want to even try it due to its tartness or as I like to say "zippiness". Make a sauce for meats or
fish, combine with fruits for pies, even make pancakes! See recipes on the blog or page 2 of the PDF copy of the newsletter.

Week of June 14th - 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 at anytime during the season. 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, June 06, 2010

Volume 15 - No 1 - Week of June 7th

Lettuce Begin!

First, thank you for supporting our farm. It is only through the continued support of our members that our farm continues to be sustainable and we continue the practice of farming. We welcome back many of you who have been supporting us for most of our 15 years of CSA deliveries as well as welcome many new members this year. It is also important to acknowledge the efforts of the coordinators at all our drop-off locations. Without drop-off locations that are fully supported the CSA concept is lost. We should all participate in the sense of "community" by helping out, sharing recipes and giving support to each other.

We welcome back our sites at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, Hoboken Midtown on Willow Terrace, Hoboken West on Grand and Jersey City Hamilton Park on 8th Street. A new welcome is in order for The United Synagogue of Hoboken on Park Avenue. We are also pleased to announce that the Food Services at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ have purchased shares to be used directly in the employee cafeteria. They wanted to get more locally grown produce into the diet of their hospital employees. In April, during their Earth Day activities, I spent the day with them to introduce their employees to our farm and shared with them pictures and what seasonal produce we would be delivering.

For those that are new to the concept CSA, it may be a challenge at first in that you are eating seasonally. What is ready to harvest is what is delivered each week. You will be receiving your "just picked" veggies right from the farm. Carolyn Cope who was a coordinator for a number of years in Hoboken and who has since moved to Red Bank, has posted some great tips on her food blog. The article is titled: 10 Secrets for Making the Most of your CSA. The link is here:

CSF deliveries are not meant to replace you having to shop, but to supplement your veggie choices each week. The deliveries in the spring will mostly consist of greens (lettuces, chard, Oriental greens). As the weeks progress, there will also be more variety and the deliveries will become heavier. Also along the line, you will meet many interesting vegetables, some of which you may have never tried before. We encourage you to try-it, you'll like it!! In the newsletter each week I include recipes for the items that are being delivered. If you have some recipes you would like to share, we can post them on the blog for others to try.

Community supported farm members soon become connected to each other as the weeks go by. We welcome you all and look forward to working with all of you.

News from the Farm:
There have been some changes with our employees this year. Ali our full-timer last year has since moved to California pursuing a career in farming. We welcome Hannah as our full-timer. She apprenticed at Genesis Farm for two years before joining us this spring. Lisa & Jessie have returned this year, again working part-time. New part timers also include Nancy, Allyson, Renee and Erin. We also have been fortunate to have John work part time who has been invaluable on the mechanical end. He was the main force to build the new greenhouse and is keeping our tractors, pumps and equipment operating. They have all been working hard over the last several weeks.

We work between the farm in Wantage and the extra greenhouse in Franklin. The Franklin greenhouse is especially important for our early deliveries. We also work with other local farmers during the season to continue to provide a variety of produce to you each week that we may not be growing or if we have had a crop failure. They all are local and have similar growing practices. A few large fields at Scott's farm are being planted with our tomato, pepper, squash & eggplant transplants. We have already planted potatoes & garlic in our fields there.

From the Fields: Each year presents a new set of challenges and we adapt accordingly to the trial & tribulations of farming. When we were ready to plant in the spring the large tractor that pulls the mechanical transplanter broke so all the planting had to be done by hand. Thank goodness we have an excellent crew, who adapted to our 19th century farming techniques!

Our new field in the back has the following all up & growing: garlic greens, fava beans and new beds ready for tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and herbs to be planted this week. The round field (which was unplantable last year), has dill, spinach, New Zealand spinach and 8 rows of heirloom tomatoes already planted, most of which are up & growing. Our main field has all of the following already planted; eggplant, garlic, peas, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, peppers, sorrel, lettuce, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatillos, chard, husk cherries, kale and cabbage. There are a few beds left to plant.

At our Franklin greenhouse, we have harvested for this week's delivery greens, and the Texas super sweet onions with edible greens. The onions this year are a lot smaller this year than in years past. The onion sets we received from the grower to plant for this crop were smaller. Many problems go back to last year's conditions (cold & wet). This also affected our seed orders as well. Probably about 1 in 5 varieties that we wanted to order were not available.

The rest of the onions will be harvested & dried over the next few weeks so you will be seeing more onions in your deliveries. We also have rosemary, basil, carrots yet to harvest from Franklin. We plan on replanting the beds with more Oriental greens and some cherry tomatoes.

Weather Report: Unlike last year, which was cool & wet, we have been having dryer & warmer weather. The crew has been out in the fields planting on those 90+ degree days and Farmer Rich & John have spent the last week installing irrigation drip tape. We also installed overhead irrigation in the round field as well as over the fava beans, beets & garlic.

Animal report: So far only a few rabbits & groundhogs have been probing the fence line, no doubt waiting for the crops to get a bit bigger before attempting to break in. The fences were all either replaced or repaired weeks ago and we are confident that they will continue to keep the animals out. The family of terns have again returned. We hear them constantly but have not yet found where they are nesting.

Baby Onions.jpgPick 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 at anytime during the season. 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.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

CSA deliveries - Starting the Week of June 7th

The harvest season is finally here!!! The CSA deliveries will be starting the week of June 7th. All CSA members who have signed up be on the look out for an e-mail from us over the next day or two outlining the delivery schedules for each drop-off location. We'll also be putting together the newsletter, recipes & pick-of-the-week to e-mail everyone on Monday. Thank you for supporting our farm and we look forward to a bountiful season! Sue & Farmer Rich