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Weekly Updates

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 7/18/2017 1:59am by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hello Everyone,

So it continues to rain and I continue to worry; it’s an occupational hazard I guess…  We got 2 inches last week and thunderstorms are rolling through as I sit down to write.  I was about to head out and plant some seeds, having waited for it to cool down a bit. The rain was not really forecast until about an hour before it arrived and by the time I got to the barn where my seeding tractor is kept, the wind was kicking up and the first drops began to fall. This is another aspect of the challenges of a wet season- finding windows of opportunity to get the planting done.

When the ground is too wet it can’t be worked- plowed and tilled to prepare seed beds.  If the beds are too wet the mechanical seeder does not function properly. Once the beds dry the surface crusts over and they must be tilled again before planting.

In Mid-May I put in a small planting of beans with the intention of planting a much larger patch a few weeks later. Unfortunately six weeks went by before I was able to plant more.  The peas have petered out now and we normally have beans to replace them.  We expect to have small quantities to give in rotation over the next few weeks, but it will be awhile before the beans are bountiful.

That being said we have a wonderful share for you this week!   I honestly don’t know how it could get much better, at least until the tomatoes and melons arrive. Rainbow carrots and fingerling potatoes!  Broccoli and Cauliflower!  Whoo-hoo!

The share for this week will be: Rose Finn Apple fingerlings, green peppers, rainbow carrots, eggplant, summer squash, cucumbers, lettuce, yellow onions, kale, broccoli and cauliflower (for those who did not receive it last week). Premium shares will get choice of a green radicchio or dandelion greens and choice of an herb.

(Note: Downtown Harvest CSA is a Premium Share CSA).

 

Enjoy!

Farmer John

 

Posted 7/10/2017 9:13pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here is this week's message from Farmer John:

Hello Everyone,

So it’s been a wet season thus far and it seems that this weather pattern will continue into the normally dry month of July. We have received 5 inches of rain in the past 2 weeks, when we normally hope for an inch a week. This is not bad for most of the crops but it is a little worrisome for the tomatoes and the cucurbits (squash, melons and cukes) which are susceptible to fungal diseases.

We are doing our best to keep them sprayed with protective organic remedies such as biologicals, oils, garlic and kelp. Let’s hope the rain eases up a bit soon!


Eggplant is beginning to come in but in small quantities; some groups may receive some this week and others next week. We have run out of kohlrabi, so if you did not get any and you really like it (that would be about 3 of you lol) we will try to make it up to you it the fall when we will have another crop. We know who you are and (approximately) where you live!

Fortunately the broccoli is about to abound and a few of you will get cauliflower this week. The rest of you will have to wait your turn. We’re back to beets in the root category this week and we have basil enough for all including some Thai and lemon types.


The share for this week will be: lettuce, peas, broccoli, beets, kale, chard, red onions, summer squash, cucumbers and basil. Possibly eggplant and possibly cauliflower. Premium members will get a second lettuce and another herb.

(Note: Downtown Harvest CSA is a Premium Share CSA)

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted 7/10/2017 7:10pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here's an exciting message from our farmer:

Hi Folks.

We are pleased to announce that we will now be offering an egg share.

This past spring we built a “chicken tractor”- a mobile chicken coop used for raising birds on pasture. We acquired a flock of laying hens; Rhode Island Red crosses. The birds are now beginning to lay and the flock will soon be in full production.

The birds are outside all day, where they feed on the grass and other plants and insects as well as the vegetable wastes which the farm generates. The birds spend the night on roosts inside the chicken tractor protected from predators. Their foraging diet is supplemented with milled grain that is locally sourced and non GMO. We have not been able to find a nearby source of organic feed in the quantities we require.

The cost of the share will be $85 for the remainder of the season (18 weeks) and we will begin deliveries the week of July 16th. This is for one dozen each week; if you need more than a dozen you may buy multiple shares.

Anyone who signs up and brings payment to the pickup site this week will receive a free dozen. Anyone who would like to try a dozen before committing may purchase a dozen for $5 for this week only. Enjoy! Farmer John

From Downtown Harvest:

We need to give Farmer John an accurate count of how many eggs to deliver this week. If you wish to purchase a trial dozen eggs for $5 on Wednesday or take home a dozen free eggs on Wednesday by paying for the 18 weeks that will start Wednesday July 19, please e-mail us at downtownharvestcsajc@gmail.com by Tuesday evening.

The eggs will be brought to our pick-up site in coolers, and Farmer John is planning to be there to meet members and answer questions.

Posted 7/4/2017 3:33pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here's this week's message from our farmer:

Hi everyone, Happy Fourth of July!

We have a wonderful share for you this week. The peas continue to come in and we have carrots; peas and carrots just like my mom served us out of a can (not!). Also new for this week are cucumbers; we have some Kirby (pickle type), English (long slender, burpless and mostly seedless) and some regular slicers. You will get some of each type in the coming weeks.

We also have fresh sweet onions with the tops still on. You can use the tops to make soup stock if you are so ambitious. They don’t keep well, so use them up soon. You’ll be getting lots more that are better keepers soon. Peppers, eggplant and potatoes are coming soon and tomatoes too (although not soon enough!)

The share for this week will be: Lettuce (2 heads for premium shares), kale, carrots, Swiss chard, peas, summer squash, broccoli or kohlrabi or Napa cabbage, cucumbers, and sweet onions. Fennel and an herb for the premium shares.

(note: Downtown Harvest is a Premium Share CSA)

Enjoy!
Farmer John

Posted 6/26/2017 10:51pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here's this week's message from our farmer:

Hi Folks,

We received some good rain last Friday evening and overnight into Saturday, but it cleared off early Saturday, giving us a beautiful day for the farm visit picnic.

Attendance was a bit low but those who came out had a nice time. I hope many of you will have a chance to visit sometime this season. I enjoy meeting the members, especially the children. As I have previously mentioned, I was raised on canned vegetables so it’s wonderful to hear about how the kids enjoy fresh veggies.

We should have had Napa cabbage for everyone this week, but the high humidity combined with the heat wave caused many to succumb to bottom rot. We have another planting that will be ready soon, so we will distribute what we have for now and some will have to wait a couple of weeks.

The broccoli is starting to head up so those who do not get cabbage may get broccoli or kohlrabi. I was hoping to have carrots for you this week but they are still a little small, so we will wait until next week for them to size up a bit. Summer squash is coming in heavy now so expect lots!

The share for this week will be Lettuce, choice of Swiss chard or spinach, kale , summer squash, peas (mainly Sugarsnap), scallions, Napa cabbage or broccoli or kohlrabi and choice of an herb (parsley, chervil, sweet marjoram, summer savory) and endive (frissee) for the premium shares.

(note: Downtown Harvest is a Premium Share CSA) 

Enjoy!
Farmer John

Posted 6/21/2017 9:47pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hello members, We look forward to visiting John's farm this Saturday.

Members of the Core group will be there, and we hope you can join us.

Farm Visit- June 24th and 25th - 11:00 AM. Saturday 6/24 will be the main day for CSA members with Sunday as a rain date and for anyone who cannot make it on Saturday. This will be a potluck picnic, please bring a vegetarian dish to share with others. Grills will be available for anything you wish to bring to cook. There will be tours of the fields at 11:30 am and 2 pm. There is a u-pick strawberry farm just north on Rt. 206 if anyone would like pick strawberries for themselves before or after the event. Volunteers are welcome to help with set up, parking and to pick strawberries for a shortcake desert.

A state park- Kittatinny Valley is nearby with wonderful trails and camp sites available. This year we are also asking for volunteers to help pick peas for an hour or two prior to the start of the farm visit picnic. Volunteer days-

I know there are many people who would like to come out to lend a hand and I certainly can use the help. On Sundays during the delivery season we will have volunteer days. These will be to help with harvesting labor intensive crops like peas, beans, garlic and onions. For these volunteer days members should notify me directly by e-mail of their intention to attend. Please send me an e-mail during the week prior to the event and not weeks or months ahead. kruegerjohn@earthlink.net

Volunteer days- Sundays - Meet at 141 Brighton Rd., Andover, NJ Saturday, June 24 @ 9am and Sunday, June 26 @ 9 am -Help with pea picking.

Sunday, July 2 @ 10 am – pea picking Sunday, July 9, 10 am - Help with the garlic harvest. Sunday, July 23 @10 am - Help with bean picking.

Sunday, August 7, 10 am - Help with onion harvest

Posted 6/20/2017 2:25pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here's this week's message from our farmer:

 

Hello Everyone!

I remember the first time I tasted fresh peas; it was something of a revelation to me. Raised on canned veggies, peas were something I particularly detested and I shoveled them on to my sister plate when she wasn’t looking. Walking in a friend’s garden we pulled some from the vine opened the pods and popped them in our mouths. Wow! I had never tasted anything (or at least any vegetable) so sweet and delicious. It was an epiphany-my pea epiphany.

Now when I chat with members many have told me that their peas never make it back to the house- their children devour them on the ride home. Lucky kids! It’s a shame the pea season is so short, but for now we have quite an abundance (a pea preponderance).

The English, or shell peas convert their sugars to starch very quickly so use them as soon as possible. If you do not eat them raw, steam or sauté them very lightly. The sugarsnap peas hold their sweetness much longer.

It’s a wonderful share this week- we still have lots of beautiful greens and we have begun picking summer squash. We also have baby beets and elephant garlic for you. Elephant garlic is not a true garlic- it is more closely related to a leek. The bulb has a mild garlic flavor and can be used in dishes just like the regular stuff or roasted (whole in it’s wrapper) to make a spread.

Since we harvest them green the stalk can be used as you would use a leek.
Don’t forget about the Farm visit this weekend. We may have a passing shower or two but hey, it’s summer in the Northeast! There will be places to shelter from the storm.

We are also asking for volunteers to help with the pea picking (9 AM-ish) before the visit begins at 11 AM. There will be other opportunities throughout the season to come out and lend a hand and to show you family where their food comes from.

The share for this week will be: Spinach, arugula, peas, lettuce, bok choy, baby beets, elephant garlic, zucchini and choice of an herb (cilantro, dill, chervil). Premium shares will have escarole, a second head of lettuce and extra peas and zucchini.

(Note: Downtown Harvest CSA is a Premium Share CSA)

Enjoy!
Farmer John

Posted 6/16/2017 5:22pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hi Folks,

Well we’re havin’ a heat wave (in case you hadn’t noticed). While the workers are a little wilted, the soil fortunately has sufficient moisture that even the cool weather crops can tolerate the heat. And the warmth loving crops- tomatoes. peppers, squash etc., are looking great and are finally beginning to grow.

I am pleased to proclaim that we are picking peas. They were planted a bit late but they have been thriving in the cool, moist spring we have had. It is with doubt the most beautiful crop I have ever grown.

So while we must continue to hope and pray for a world of peas there will at least be plenty of peas in the share this week. I expect them to be abundant for the next 4 or 5 weeks, which is convenient since it will take me that long to use up all my pea puns and p-alliteration.

Also new this week are garlic scapes- these are the flower tops of the garlic plant. They can be grilled, minced and sautéed, or blended with olive oil, nuts and cheese to make a basil –less pesto. They are said to have a mild garlic flavor, although personally I find them almost as strong as the bulb itself.

We continue to have lots of gorgeous lettuce, spinach, herbs and other greens. We expect zucchini to begin next week and probably baby beets. And, yes kale (and broccoli) are coming soon.

The growth of these crops was slowed by the brutal attack of the flea beetles, but they have overcome this adversity and are growing well. In the case of the kale I wanted to give it one more week to grow before we begin stripping all it’s leaf away.

Don’t forget : the Farm visit will be Saturday June 24. It will be a pot luck barbecue with farm tours. The main day for CSA members will be Saturday, however if you cannot make it on Saturday you are welcome on Sunday the 25th .

The share for this week will be: Red leaf or red romaine lettuce, arugula, either radishes or salad turnips, spinach, garlic scapes, either Sugarsnap or English (shell) peas, Swiss chard, choice of 2 herbs (dill, cilantro, garlic chives or mint).

Best, Farmer John

Posted 6/16/2017 5:17pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hello Everyone,

I apologize for being so late with the first update of the season. We have been working hard to get the planting done after a bit of a late start. In late February it seemed we would have an early spring but the winter came back with a vengeance. The big blizzard brought us nearly 2 feet of snow and then several weeks of rainy weather left the fields too wet to plow until early April. Since then the weather has been acceptable; a bit cool through April but with adequate rainfall. Due to the mild winter we are having more trouble than usual with our most pernicious pest- the flea beetle. They are small black critters which jump when disturbed- hence the name. They are specific to the brassica/ mustard family; lacing them full of holes to the point where they can actually kill a young plant. We try to cover as much as we can but there are acres of these crops in the spring and we had to use a lot of our Ag fabric to cover the onions, which has a new pest, recently emigrated from Europe.

So, I am a farmer, specifically an organic farmer because I am an environmentalist. When I was in high school I read Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and as a nature lover was alarmed at the havoc man was wreaking on the natural world. I became convinced we had to learn to grow our food in manner that did not contaminate the planet. As I learned about organic agriculture I also learned about the enormous energy inputs involved with modern farming and the question of sustainability; that now common and overused buzzword. Scientists were just beginning to sound the alarm bells about climate change. In the 90’s, it seemed that the evidence was solidifying and the world would begin to address this serious threat. I began to see another important role that organic farming had in protecting our planet- carbon sequestration.

I predicted that with the carbon tax, i.e. cap and trade that farmers would be paid for increasing the organic matter in their soil. Well I was wrong about that, but not wrong about the importance of organic agriculture in combating climate change. In fact over the years research has been done and evidence is mounting that a shift to organic farming and to rotational grazing can not only mitigate the effect of carbon being released, but actually begin to reduce atmospheric carbon. In addition conventional agriculture allows the release of nitrogen in various forms that are more potent greenhouse gases than CO2.

And now the environment is under attack; the current administration is trying to gut the laws that protect our air and water and reverse the progress that has been made over the last 40 years. And climate change denial will not only impede steps to reduce emissions but actually spur an increase. There is a political battle to be waged and I am sure that many of you have been to marches and are involved in other ways. But I believe that the economic power that we wield is even more powerful than the political power we have as voters and constituents.

Local farmers have a huge role to play in environmental protection and they need support. Local organic producers are under attack as well, not only from bad government policy but from economic factors and social trends. CSA membership has been declining rapidly over the last 3 years as well as farmer’s market revenues. People are opting for convenience- home delivery or buying cheap California organic produce in the supermarket. We need your help. It’s hard to know how to advertise or promote these days but word of mouths remains the best option. It’s important that you talk to your circle of family and friends about supporting local farmers. CSA’s and buying direct at farmers markets are the only way to do that. Buying from coops, supermarkets, home delivery services or meal plans like Blue Apron only enriches the middlemen. Small local producers cannot make it on wholesale prices. In future update I will continue to expand on the theme of farming and the environment.

The Farm visit will be on the weekend of 24th and 25th.

Best, Farmer John

Posted 1/28/2017 12:53pm by Judy Crane.

Downtown Harvest CSA is open for enrollment for the 2017 season, our 13th year!

Enrollment is still openSeptember 19th, 2017

People who wish to enroll can still do so for a fee of $30.00 per week for the number of weeks remaining until November 15.  Members who also want egg shares can still purchase them for a fee of

Farm update for the week of September 18September 19th, 2017

Here is our week 16 update from Farmer John Kreuger of Circle Brook Farm: Hi Folks, So you might think that by now things would start to ease up a bit here on the farm and I would have time to write t

Week 16 Pickup on 9/20/2017September 19th, 2017

LOCATION: The location for your pick-up is at the garage east of the OLC Church at 120 Sussex St,.Jersey City. TIMES: Your share will be ready for you at 5:30 pm and member pick-up ends at 8:00 pm. At

Have a question?
2017 Enrollment