Sunday, October 23, 2016

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 21 No 20–October 25, 2016

Last Delivery of the Season

News from the Fields & Farm:  Tonight is the last delivery of the season. Thanks to all CSA members for supporting our farm.


The seasons always come with a fair share of frustration and this season was no different with the drought conditions during most of the harvest year. Our crew is the best and we thank them as well for their dedicated work ethic during the harvest year as well as their pre-season and post-season work. 


The fields will be cleaned up by the crew starting next week and we have them work until it gets too cold to work outside.


Franklin Greenhouse Report:

We always like to save several items to the end of the season protected in the greenhouse as we never know what the weather will be like for the final week. This worked out perfectly this year as the chard, beets & peppers were harvested from the greenhouse.



Weather report: We did have a mild frost at the farm. Last year around this time we had a low of 21 degrees. Most of the farms in the area did suffer crop losses, though we were not severely affected. Perhaps it is our altitude that helps us out. Saturday was very cold, rainy and windy. It was difficult to start to put the delivery together.


We received about ½” of rain during the week and we hope it is enough to get the ground wet enough to till up the beds to plant garlic.

Sunday morning was still cold and the winds did diminish so the crew went to the fields to harvest what was left for the last delivery of the season.


Garlic Planting in November:

We are planning a trip to the farm to plant garlic for next year. The date will be in November (date to be set) we will start around 11 am. It is a great family activity as well. We start by “popping” the garlic. This is simply separating the garlic bulbs into their individual cloves.


 Then we head to the field for planting. The final step is to spread straw over the planted garlic to help protect them from the winter weather. In just an hour or two with the extra help we can plant thousands of cloves. When we are finished, we plan on having a late picnic lunch.


If you are interested, just send us an email and we will send you directions and of course the date.



Thank you for your support!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 21 No 19–October 18, 2016

Frost at the Farm !

News from the Fields & Farm:  We had a low of 29 degrees at the farm and two of the fields were covered with a heavy frost. Fortunately most of the tomatoes were already harvested and the peppers were covered in the field.


Most of next week’s delivery will come out of the Franklin Greenhouse and any of the cold-hardy crops still in the field. We plan on also delivering butternut squash. We should also have some green onions and baby leeks. We hope to also be able to harvest the beet greens.


The crew cleared out the back field and harvested the sunchokes. That area was noticeably dry as most of the season has been in drought mode.


Weather report: The frost did come over the weekend. This week they are predicting 80 degree weather! Interestingly, in looking at the weather history in Sussex, the record high was 84-degreens in 1963 and the record low of 20-degrees in 1978 on the 18th of October. We had a trace of rain during the week.


Retro Picture! Michael & his brother Kevin in 2002:


It was taken after garlic planting at the farm and It was snowing that day.


Jersalem Artichoke (Sunhoke) clip_image001Wikipedia notes: The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America. Jerusalem artichokes were first cultivated by the Native Americans long before the arrival of the Europeans; this extensive cultivation obscures the exact native range of the species.[2] The French explorer Samuel de Champlain found domestically grown plants at Cape Cod in 1605.

The tubers are sometimes used as a substitute for potatoes:[13] they have a similar consistency, and in their raw form have a similar texture, but a sweeter, nuttier flavor; raw and sliced thinly, they are fit for a salad. Their inulin form of carbohydrates give the tubers a tendency to become soft and mushy if boiled, but they retain their texture better when steamed.

Storage tips for your Sunchokes: Best stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from light. We prefer to store them in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator; wrapped in paper towels and sealed in a plastic bag.


Last Delivery of the Season Next Week October 25th.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Catalpa Ridge News - Volume 21 No 18–October 11, 2016


Fresh Ginger !


News from the Fields & Farm:  We had some nice weather over the end of last week then it turned cold and rainy on Sunday. This was just in time to harvest the delivery.


The Sussex Harvest, Honey & Garlic Festival was great and the attendance surpassed prior years. We did get to meet some of our local members.


You will be receiving some fresh Ginger, just harvested from the Franklin Greenhouse. Overall we were pleased with the outcome. We have to start the ginger in February/March and it takes about 8 months to get to the point it is ready to harvest. It does have to be grown in the heated greenhouse and goes through a few different stages during the early planting cycle.



Some Culinary tips for using your fresh ginger:


Grate ginger for stir-frys, sauces & dressings.  


Slice into “coins”, then whack each coin to break up the fibers and release the ginger essence, heat oil in your sauce pan or wok and let ginger stir-fry for 30 seconds (stir-fry longer for a stronger ginger flavor, but do not allow to burn) – add your GARLIC and you have a start to a classic Oriental stir-fry.

Use a vegetable peeler to peel paper-thin slices of the ginger root, then slice thinly and add as a condiment to soups, dumplings, fresh vegetable dishes.

Make homemade Ginger Ale!


Believe it or not, the tomatoes and peppers continue to produce in the fields. In speaking with some of our members and customers from our Spring Heirloom Plant sales, their tomato and pepper production has been exception this year as well.


Here are some peppers in the lower field:



A few Green Zebra tomatoes on the vine:



Weather report: A frost advisory has been issued for Sussex County from Monday evening through Tuesday morning. Hopefully our fields will be unaffected.


Last Delivery of the Season will be the last Tuesday of October; October 25th.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 21 No 17–October 4, 2016


Garlic Fest Saturday in Sussex!


News from the Fields & Farm:  We had a rainy, cool week. The tomato harvest continues which is great to have heirlooms this late in the season. The tomato plants are close to shutting down now that the cooler shorter days are here. We are hoping for another week.


We had the second new moon in one month with the “Black Moon” appearing on Sept 30th. A black moon is opposite of a blue moon (a second full moon in the same calendar month).


We headed up to Saugerties, NY to the annual Garlic Festival on Saturday. We like to pick up some new varieties to try in the fields for next year. We were surprised that there wasn’t too much color change in the fall foliage up there yet (Saugerties is about 90 miles away). Many are speculating that the drought the area has been having (along with Northern NJ) will mute the autumn foliage colors. The leaves may actually turn brown and fall off the trees before they reach their peak color.


Garlic bed preparation will begin soon. We have to select an area that has loose, good draining soil and check the soil nutrition. Garlic grows best in nitrogen rich soil. Once the beds are ready we can start to plant. Here is a look at how we plant the garlic:



Franklin Greenhouse Report: Status quo at the Franklin Greenhouse. The only new item that we will be harvesting from this greenhouse are the Diakon Radishes. We are holding off harvesting the beets in the greenhouse with the hopes that they will size up better. Otherwise, the beet greens are gorgeous.


Weather report: About ½” of rain feel during the week. Though the fields are wet, the rain really hasn’t helped with the overall drought conditions.


Kabocha Squash – Interesting information from Wikipedia: “Portuguese sailors introduced the kabocha to Japan in 1541, bringing it with them from Cambodia. The Portuguese name for the squash Cambodia abóbora (カンボジャ・アボボラ), was shortened by the Japanese to kabocha.”


Upcoming Event Saturday 10 am – 4 pm: 



Sussex County Harvest, Honey & Garlic Festival – October 8 – 10 am – 4 pm Sussex Fair Grounds – Augusta, NJ.


Make a trip to Sussex County on Saturday and enjoy a “Stinkin Day” of Fun!


The Sussex County Harvest, Honey & Garlic Festival will celebrate the agri‑ecotourism, arts & heritage of New Jersey's great northwest with displays & info about northern NJ's open spaces. We will have garlic at this event!