Monday, June 27, 2011

Catalpa Ridge News - Vol 16 No 3 - Week of June 27th

Swamps R Us !

We went from reasonable weather last newsletter to a week of off & on rain. Multiple inches of rain fell and Farmer Rich lost track of the actual amount since it rained so much. At least 2” fell since Thursday. The plants in the fields are responding positively, but the conditions to work in are not the best. We have standing water, puddles, mud and the weeds have gone crazy.  We are starting to worry about plant disease when it gets this wet, such as blight. Also root related problems may occur when it gets this wet.

From the Fields: We seeded broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, collard greens, yard-long beans, chicory, endive, and evergreen stem onions in the greenhouse to be transplanted in the field in about 2 weeks.  We are working on another round of micro-green mix in the Franklin greenhouse. We are also planning on planting some tatsoi and other oriental greens.

The seeded lettuces from last newsletter are almost ready to be planted in the fields. The fields just need to dry out a bit.

We tilled up a section of the large greenhouse where the sunflower micro greens were, but the mud was just too deep to go any further.

The crew finished planting in the round field and all the plants are doing well though somewhat water logged at this point.

The fava bean harvest this week is two weeks earlier than in years past. The harvest yields are off from past years and we feel this is due to a change in our growing method this year. We usually plant them much denser and they have always produced well. This year we planted them as they “should” be planted which is about 6” apart as a field crop. We think we’ll go back to the old way for next season. This area will be replanted with beets, turnips and fava greens.

The cucumber plants are close to needing to be trellised and the zucchini plants are doing well. They just need a few warm days to start “zuking” up! The tomato, peppers and tomatillos are finally “catching”. We were a bit late getting them in and are pleased that they are catching up.

The garlic in the back field has gone from looking perfect to being overtaken by weeds in just six days. We’ll be spending some time this week to get it under control.

We are starting to see some crop losses in the super wet spots. Some tomato & pepper plants have succumbed, but overall everything is looking really good.

Weather Report: Overall a rainy week but we were able to work in the greenhouses on the days we couldn’t get into the fields. It was productive work as we really needed to get these crops seeded for transplanting.  We heard about the “flash flooding” in many areas in Bergen, Passaic & Hudson counties on Thursday. Fawns

Animal report: The newly seeded beans are being dug up by a field mouse so they need to be re-seeded. If worse comes to worse we’ll reseed them in Franklin. The field mice are not so much a problem in what they eat, but more that they carry away the seeds and all of a sudden there are plants growing where we didn’t plant them. They like to hide the seeds they carry off. Wish they were hiding piles of gold in our fields instead of beans!  The fawns are watching.

Trip to the Farm – Scheduled for Sunday – July 24th
Want to help out at the Farm?? We like to schedule at least 2 work-days at the farm during the harvest season where CSA members can come up and help us with some projects. The first work-day is scheduled for July 24th starting at 11:00 am. Some projects planned will be to help with some mulching & transplanting. More details to come over the next few weeks.

Upcoming Events
  • August 28th – 12th Annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting @ the Hoboken Historical Museum – 1 pm – 5 pm
  • October 1st & 2nd 9th Annual Garlic Gathering @ Olde Lafayette Village 10 am - 4 pm Lafayette, NJ (Routes 94/15)
  • October 16th 5th Annual Garlic Fest @ the Hoboken Historical Museum 1 pm - 5 pm 1301 Hudson Street – Hoboken, NJ 
Week of June 27th - 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 20, 2011

Catalpa Ridge News - Vol 16 No 2 - Week of June 20th

News from the Farm: The weather has been reasonably nice and work in the fields is moving along at a great pace. Though, still a bit behind after the wet spring, the beds are getting filled with plants. We have had two full crews working during the week transplanting.

Our only disaster this week was the walk-in-cooler at Scott’s froze on Tuesday & shut down on Wednesday. Luckily it was during the week when we didn’t need it as it was delivery time. Last year when it broke, it was during the weekend and the lettuces had all frozen before the delivery. Fortunately, had it not been fixed in time, the local volunteer firehouse offered their cooler to store our lettuces & escarole in for delivery.

Our Micro-Green project is working out well as we are able to harvest weekly the micro-greens from the Franklin greenhouse. The differences between micro-greens, sprouts and baby greens are:
·   Sprouts: first stage of seed development and are consumed shortly after germination and usually are grown in jars with water.
·   MicroGreens: 2nd stage of seed development with roots & first leaves called cotyledons
·   Baby Greens: grown a week or two longer than micro-greens and they resemble salad greens

Our micro-greens are grown in soil and not at all similar to sprouts. The micro-green mixes we are harvesting may be just one variety one week, or may be a combination of two to six different greens, such as a radish & buckwheat. We are working on a mix of kale, broccoli, kohlrabi & mustard greens for future deliveries.

From the Fields: More herbs were planted as well as hot peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes. The newly seeded lettuce in the top greenhouse is half-up. It will be awhile until it is ready to transplant.

The round field has been planted with tomatoes & sweet peppers and is about ¾ full at this point. We plan on putting in more pepper plants in this field as well.

In our back field the garlic is looking extra nice, but the fava bean plants are looking a little weaker than usual.  We hope the yields will allow everyone to get them.

Our main field is showing a great looking zucchini crop. The plants are thriving and the newly planted tomatoes & peppers are doing well. It has only been a few weeks since the planting started and they have taken hold with few losses.

At our Franklin greenhouse
: The carrots this week were harvested from this greenhouse and those beds will now be replaced with micro-greens and salad mixes over the course of the season.

Weather Report: We had a lot of rain this past week which has been good for the crops. The back field did have to be irrigated as it had gotten quite dry. The temperatures have been on the cool side which is just perfect for field work.

Animal report: A few rabbits are in the main field, but as of yet have not decided to eat the crops. The “Tasmanian devil” has returned and is tossing the sunflower patch.  For those of you who have been members for awhile may remember our reports from a few years back of getting to the farm and noticing that plants had been tossed during the night shortly after they were planted in the field. There didn’t seem any rhyme or reason, just tossed here & there and we nicknamed the culprit the “Tasmanian devil”. It appears that it is back or perhaps and offspring as taken over tormenting Farmer Rich.

A few fawns are peaking through the fence at the crew probably wondering what’s going on.  They are so cute and we hope to get a few pictures of them, but more importantly hope they remain on the outside of fence.

Remember these Resources for your web access to CSA news, recipes and our Harvest Identifier:
· PDF version of newsletters:

Week of June 20th - 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 12, 2011

Volume 16 No 1 - Week of June 13th

Believe it or Not!!

We have had a very difficult early season and we were under untold stress to get the deliveries in order. First, there was continued rain most of April & May, week after week with little to no sun. This caused the fields to be too muddy and little if anything could be planted. Then our tractor’s clutch went while tilling a field. In order to fix it, the tractor had to be broken in half. Fortunately, John our mechanic was able to get it fixed in record time (within the week). If we had to go the usual route by bringing it to a tractor repair shop, there was a 30 day backlog on fixing tractors! It also would have been impossible to borrow one, as this is the busy planting season. No matter where Farmer Rich went there were broken tractors in fields everywhere over Sussex County. Then Farmer Rich got pneumonia and is still recovering.  We have a great crew this year and they all picked up the slack and amazingly the delivery finally came together for this week – believe it or not!
Tractor Before (broken in half)

Tractor After (much happier)


 Meet the Crew – Lisa returns for her 3rd year and Ali returned from being away for a year in California. Renee who manages our greenhouse in Franklin is back for her 2nd year and we have a new employee Dory. We can’t forget John, who keeps all our machines running and helps with tilling and wrapping the beds with plastic and was instrumental in setting up the irrigation system. They are all doing an amazing job in getting together the delivery and trying to catch up on the season for future weeks.


 Dory & Renee

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 16 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, the United Synagogue of Hoboken on Park Avenue and Jersey City Hamilton Park on 8th Street. We are also pleased to continue for a second year, delivering to the Food Services at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ . They have purchased shares to be used directly in the employee cafeteria at Valley Hospital and their Dorothy B Kraft Center.

A great resource for those of you new to the concept CSA is from one of our former coordinators in Hoboken, Carolyn Cope. The article is titled: 10 Secrets for Making the Most of your CSA. The link is here: We like to grow many interesting veggies, some of which you may have never tried before. We encourage you to try-it, you’ll like it!! We always provide you with recipes and have our Harvest Identified online as well.

The early deliveries in the spring will be lighter and will not have as many types of veggies, as you are eating seasonally. As the weeks progress, there will also be more variety and the deliveries will become heavier. 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: Since we are behind we are eagerly trying  to fill up all the beds that were laid last week. This week we planted tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, eggplant & peppers. Hopefully next week we’ll do as well.

From the Fields: Our back field has the following all up & growing: garlic greens, fava beans, garlic, sunchokes and snow peas.
The round field (which was un-plantable last year) has been tilled, fertilized and is ready for: tomatoes and peppers.
Our main field has all of the following already planted; garlic, eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, cabbage, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, sweet peppers, sorrel, lettuce, tomatillos, chard,  and husk cherries, There are a few beds left to plant which we plan on planting basil, Brussels sprouts and mixed herbs. We seeded 700 lettuces in the greenhouse to be transplanted into the fields when spots open up.

At our Franklin greenhouse, we have harvested for this week’s delivery the Texas super sweet onions with edible greens as well as some micro-greens. Our micro-green project has a few problems, but Farmer Rich is working on it. The onions this year are on the small side as there was little sun while they were growing April/May. They were planted in March and usually are bigger by this time. We have a nice carrot crop in this greenhouse and they probably will be delivered either next week or the week after. More onions were harvested and are drying for future deliveries. We plan on planting more micro-green mix and Oriental greens.

Weather Report: This year has presented a unique set of problems. The early season was non-stop rain and little sun with very cool temperatures. Now we have had little rain and have had to use irrigation on some fields. Though it appears to rain every day, it is not. Almost no rain for the past week.

Animal report: The crew spent an entire week during the rainy season shoring up all the fences that even a field mouse couldn’t get through! Low and behold when Farmer Rich was harvesting the lettuce a rabbit was noshing at few yards away. So far the one rabbit is our only break-in. A entire family of deer is outside looking in and so far have not attempted to jump the fence.

Week of June 13th - 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.