120 Sussex Street Jersey City, NJ 07302 Google Map downtownharvestcsajc@gmail.com
Banner
banner

Weekly Farm Updates

Posted 4/22/2020 7:05pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hi Folks,


I hope you are all staying safe and healthy during these difficult times. We are working hard to grow your food. We have already planted close to 4 acres of potatoes, onions and leeks with more seed potatoes set to arrive tomorrow. The first planting of peas are poking up through the soil and a second planting will go in tomorrow. Carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, arugula and chard were seeded during the past week. We have transplanted some lettuce, kale, cabbage, broccoli and bok choy with a lot more waiting in the wings (the greenhouse that is) as soon as we get past that last really cold night. I’m hoping that will be tomorrow. We’ve had some rain and some pretty crazy wind but it has not been as wet as it often can be in the early spring so we’ve been able to prepare a lot of ground. We will be ready to start transplanting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and some of the other warm weather crops in about a week or as soon as it seems safe.


My crew is doing well and I have been making efforts to make sure they stay safe. They have laundry facilities in the house so that they don’t need to go to a laundromat. They have been instructed on proper and frequent hand washing, are wearing masks and have been asked to go to the supermarket as infrequently as possible. They know that they must report any symptoms to me immediately. Some of you may have heard that the Trump administration is taking steps to try to lower the hourly wage of agricultural guest workers such as those I employ. H2-A, the guest worker program that I use sets a wage rate for each state, each season. It is meant to protect American workers from being displaced and foreign workers from being exploited. It generally increases slightly each year but occasionally drops; currently it is 13.24/hr. Several years ago the wage dropped by 20 cents/hour from the previous season. I continued to pay my crew at the higher rate, since I did not feel right cutting their pay. I will continue to pay my workers the wage that they were promised regardless of any changes allowed by the Dept. of Labor.


In 2017 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 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 (corn and soy) that is locally sourced and non GMO.

We will begin egg deliveries the week of June 7th, the first week of the vegetable share delivery. Because of a delay in receiving our new flock of laying hens our production will be limited during the first half of the season. To be fair, there will be a limit of 2 dozen/week per member. In September there will be an opportunity to increase your egg order.

Hang in there folks. We will get through this and my crew and I will keep you well fed!


Be well, Farmer John

Posted 4/15/2020 8:17pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Dear Members,

Downtown Harvest CSA members are keenly aware of where their food comes from, how it is grown and how it gets to our tables.  At a time when purchasing food of any quality involves new challenges, our CSA members can take comfort in knowing that we can eat healthy produce and eggs that are supplied directly to us from the farm.  This method minimizes the number of people involved and can be safer than the complicated supply chains often used by supermarkets.

We are going to have to adjust how things are going to be done on pickup nights this summer, and we are currently evaluating ideas on how to do things safely and fairly.  People familiar with our CSA can imagine some of the solutions that we are considering and probably some that we haven’t considered.

If you have concerns and/or ideas, please write to us at downtownharvestcsajc@gmail.com.

You will be getting more information from us soon.

Sincerely, The Downtown Harvest CSA Core Group

Posted 4/9/2020 8:46pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well and managing alright during these difficult and stressful times. I wanted to share some good news with you; such a precious commodity these days. Last Wednesday I received an e-mail from the US Embassy in Guatemala informing me that United had scheduled 2 flights to the US on April 3rd and 4th.  As many of you know I bring most of my farm crew from there and was having problems getting them here. I immediately called them to let them know and next called the airline. All eleven arrived on Saturday after spending the night in Houston (no connections).  They started work on Sunday and we have been going gangbusters to get ground prepared and begin planting.  We have been planting onions and potatoes and yesterday I seeded some peas.  Soon we will be transplanting lettuce, kale and broccoli and I will be seeding beets, carrots, radishes and arugula (to name just a few). We are determined to grow as much food as we can despite so much uncertainty.

I want to thank all those who came out to volunteer on the farm during the last few weeks. I especially want to thank Amy Dennis, from the Fairlawn group who organized the Signup website page for the volunteers.  Because of the support from the members we were able to quickly get to planting once my regular crew arrived. It was great to meet so many of my wonderful members. I hope to see you on the farm again one day soon under more festive circumstances.  We are working hard for you and will do our best to keep you fed during these challenging times. Together apart we will get through this.

Happy Easter and Passover,    Farmer John

Posted 4/3/2020 3:59pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Good news!  The US embassy in Guatemala sent Farmer John an email informing him that United Airlines had scheduled 2 flights from Guatemala. He was able to book seats for 11 of his workers, and they should arrive this weekend.

Farmer John still needs volunteers at the farm this weekend (4/4 and 4/5), but things will be a little more back to normal at the farm after that, and he won't need extra help for a while.

He closed his message to us with "I am so relieved that they will be here. Now I just have to figure out how to keep them (and me) safe." 

Posted 3/31/2020 7:23pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hello members,

Hello Everyone, I hope that all of you are well and are staying safe and as secluded as possible. In a normal year I would be telling you that we have been busy in the greenhouse (which we have) and that the garlic was up and growing nicely (which it is). But as you all know this is not a normal year. We are living in the future; amid a crisis that scientists have been warning us about for many years.

Unfortunately, we did not hear these warnings and were not prepared. If there had been a quicker and more aggressive response, we might have reduced the severity of the outbreak here. But the reality is that this crisis will likely be ongoing for most of this year if not longer. We have the advantage of many brilliant scientists who are working tirelessly to find treatment for Covid-19; we have a much better understanding of viruses than ever before in history. We also have incredible technological and computing abilities which will aid in the search for treatment options. We should remain hopeful that progress will be made quickly and that the most vulnerable among us will be spared. In the meantime, we will all have to make tremendous changes in how we live our lives.

As the pandemic began to unfold my initial thought was that farmers markets would be closed or at least poorly attended. I briefly considered cutting back on my planting to cut my losses. But we all need to contribute what we can to help each other through these challenging times. People need to eat, and it will be more important than ever that they have access to fresh and nutritious food to strengthen and sustain them. Growing good, clean, healthful food is what we are dedicated to and we have a responsibility to produce as much as we can. If we grow more than we can sell it will be donated; it will not go to waste.

In terms of the CSA distribution we will obviously need to make some changes in order to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe. As we get closer to the start of the season, we will have a better idea what will be necessary. On the farm end we will need to be more vigilant than ever with our sanitary procedures. We will be instituting more rigorous and thorough disinfection of the crates and tubs we use, mandating more frequent hand washing as well as the use of gloves for the workers and delivery drivers. Clearly, we will need to closely monitor the health of all employees.

As many of you may already know, I use a Department of Labor guest worker program known as H2-A to bring workers for the season. I have a crew of 11 that come from Guatemala and another 4 from Nicaragua. All these workers have been with the farm for many years, some for 10 years. Due to the onset of the pandemic my workers have not been able to arrive. I am still hopeful that some of them will be able to arrive; meantime I am exploring various alternatives. While we have been keeping up in the greenhouse, it is now time to start planting in the field and without help we will very quickly start to fall behind. There is a great deal of cleanup work that needs to be done out in the fields ahead of planting. Woody remnants of peppers, eggplant and other crops need to be pulled and removed from the field and plastic mulch needs to be pulled up and gathered. This is hard work but requires very little skill and does not require anyone to be in close contact with others. We are asking for volunteers to come out to the farm and work a 4-hour shift.

Sign up for a shift at:
https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/3239253/true#/invitation

We are all in this together and we all need to be responsible, help and be kind one another. We will get through this but it will be a long road back to any semblance of normalcy.

Be safe! Be healthy!
Farmer John.

Posted 3/25/2020 3:54pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

We have approximately 50 soups birds(chickens) available for purchase which we will deliver on the next egg delivery day- April 1st (no fooling).  These are frozen and weigh on average 3 lbs. – some a little more, some a little less.  It will be the luck of the draw in terms of what you will receive. They make really delicious soup. They will be available on a first come first served basis with a limit of 1 per family.

The price is $10 per bird. We are also allowing members to order extra eggs (eggstras) for Passover, Easter or just to have more on hand. They will be $5/dozen.

To order e-mail John at: kruegerjohn@earthlink.net by March 30th  If at all possible you should make payment by Venmo  @John-Krueger-19.  If you do not have Venmo you will need to send me a check.

Let me know when you order how you will be paying and indicate what site you pick up at.

Make checks out to John Krueger and mail to:  John Krueger, 141 Brighton Rd., Andover NJ 07821

Stay home, be safe and stay healthy! Enjoy the Holidays,

Farmer John

(note: this offer is to all of John's CSAs, so he expects all the birds to be sold quickly)

Posted 3/15/2020 7:47pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we advise everyone to take precautions when picking up your eggs this week (March 18).


- Minimize exposure by avoiding contact with anyone on site.
- Be as fast and efficient as you can - just enter, sign, pick your eggs and leave the area.
- Please do not hang around the pick up site for any longer than necessary.

Let's do our best to keep us all safe.
If you have symptoms or if you possibly have been exposed to the virus please notify us; we can discuss alternatives.

As things are rapidly developing, please stay tuned for possible changes.

Posted 2/16/2020 6:10pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here is a link to a video that helps describe who we are and what we do.  The CSA in the video is not Downtown Harvest, but longtime members will enjoy seeing the similarities:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77Z3pHv0_iY

We bring organic food to our urban neighborhood, we work together as a community group, we contribute significantly to a local food pantry and we support local farming.

This video also highlights the culinary education side of the CSA.

Most people shop for foods that they already know how to use.  CSA members sometimes receive an item that is unfamiliar to them.  That causes research, recipe exchanges and experimentation.  A CSA can add to your repertoire in the kitchen in addition to all the other wonderful things that happen when you are a member of a CSA.  

 

Posted 2/12/2020 1:19pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Downtown Harvest CSA is thrilled to announce details of our 2020 season, our 16th year of bringing healthy New Jersey food to our urban community!

1) Farmer John Krueger, our farmer for more than a decade, will continue to be our farmer.

2) The 24-week season will begin the week of June 7th and end the week of November 15th at the same garage at 180 Sussex St in Jersey City where we have been for the last few seasons.

3) The price of a full share this year will be $720.  The early bird discount of $25 will be offered with payment before March 1st, reducing the price to $695. We will continue to use “market style” distribution for full shares, in which members choose items from bins and may be offered choices of items.

4) The price of a pre-packaged “half” share this year will be $480.  The early bird discount of $25 will be offered with payment before March 1st, reducing the price to $455.  The pre-bagged share usually weighs a little more than half of a full share, and our farmer tries to keep the variety of items equivalent to that of a full share.

5).  Items that are not picked up will be donated to the Our Lady of Sorrows food pantry in addition to shares generously donated by our members and our farmer.  Members can also donate money toward food for the food pantry when they enroll.  As in the past, we will have an "exchange bin" so you can exchange items you may not need for others that you want.

6) Members who purchase produce shares have the option of purchasing egg shares.  The fee for 1 dozen eggs/week will be $120, 2 dozen/week will be $220, and 3 dozen/week will be $330.

7) The administration fee for one Full share or one pre-boxed Half share will $25 for the 24-week season.

8) We are a 100% volunteer group that can only function effectively and fairly if everyone participates.  Members are required to volunteer for 3 hours at the pickup site during the season.  If that isn’t possible, or if you can help the group more in other ways, you must communicate with us to discuss alternative ways for you to be involved in our group effort.

IMPORTANT: Last season’s members will not automatically be re-enrolled.  We hope you wish to be a part of Downtown Harvest in 2020, and we ask you to visit our website and enroll for the 2020 season. Click on this link to go straight to the enrollment page!

http://www.downtownharvest.org/members/types

Notes: after enrolling for the 2020 season, members will receive payment instructions (enroll first, pay later).  Payment must be made by check.  However, we cannot provide refunds, so please be sure of your commitment before mailing or dropping off checks. We are looking forward to another great 24-week season and encourage you to take advantage of the early enrollment discount!

Posted 8/15/2019 7:17pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hi everyone,

So the weather continues to be excellent for both plants and humans! If this keeps up it will be a Circle Brook Farm update record for consecutive weeks without complaining about the weather! Maybe I should call the Guinness Book of World records folks- I understand they’ll certify just about anything if there’s enough money in it. There are strong storms forecast for tomorrow, so we’ll have to wait and see how that goes. In the meantime we have lots of nice produce heading your way!

We are back in business on the lettuce front, at least for this week. We still have an ample supply of cukes and eggplant and there are literally tons of tomatoes. We are moving in to some different varieties with the string beans. Two heirloom types are beginning to produce heavily- Dragon Langerie (a purple streaked wax bean) and the Rattlesnake bean (a purple streaked green pole bean). Rattlesnake beans, also known as Preacher beans down south, are quite sweet and tender enough to eat raw. They can be served as a crudité vegetable here their beautiful coloration can be appreciated, since it fades away with cooking. If memory serves I promised sweet corn for this week, but it is not quite certain that there will be enough to go around. The first planting came up a little sparse. We have many plantings behind this which seem to be catching up to each other, so corn will be abundant soon.

The full share for this week will be: Beans, cukes, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, red skin potatoes, beets, red onions, eggplant, melon, choice of ground cherries or cherry tomatoes, scallions, choice of kale, chard or dandelion greens, choice of an herb (parsley or lemon/Thai basil) and sweet corn (?). For: extras there will be tomatillos and assorted hot peppers.


Enjoy,
Farmer John.

Week 15 update from our farmerSeptember 15th, 2020

The next weekly Pickup of the 2020 season will be this Wednesday, September 16th from 5:15pm to 8:00pm at 180 Sussex St. All food that is not picked up by members will be picked up by the Our Lady of

Week 14 update from our farmerSeptember 8th, 2020

The next weekly Pickup of the 2020 season will be this Wednesday, September 9th from 5:15pm to 8:00pm at 180 Sussex St. All food that is not picked up by members will be picked up by the Our Lady of S

Week 13 update from our farmerSeptember 1st, 2020

The next weekly Pickup of the 2020 season will be this Wednesday, September 2nd from 5:15pm to 8:00pm at 180 Sussex St. All food that is not picked up by members will be picked up by the Our Lady

Have a question?
2020 Enrollment