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first farm update of 2011!

Hello Everyone,

It was a long hard winter and then when spring came, it didn’t! March was one of the coldest I can remember and April was one of the wettest. So here we are at the first update of the season and I’m already complaining about the weather. In farming almost everything we do is dictated or affected by the weather. We need rain but not too much, we need heat but not too hot and hurricanes and hail we hope to do without. Moderation in all things, but in these days of extreme weather we rarely get the ideal balance. Every year is different, but it’s amazing how different this spring has been from the spring of 2010 which was warm and relatively dry.

We have been busy since early March planting in the greenhouse. Normally we begin seeding certain crops and transplanting onions in the field in early April. This year, due to the wet conditions we were delayed until Mid- April and even then only because we have sandy soil at the farm in Andover and I was able to find a few windows of opportunity in between the bouts of rain when the ground was dry enough to work and plant. I was forced to change my plans and plant the onion crop in Andover rather than at the original Starbrite Farm location near Blairstown. The soils there are a heavy clay and do not dry out quickly; an advantage in a wet year but a problem during a wet one. It’s unfortunate because the onions have always grown well there and since they are not grazed on by the critters and are harvested at one time, it was a good fit.

Needless to say we a bit behind in our planting, but my crew and I are working hard to get caught up. It’s hard though, when May is already a busy planting month and you’re still planting crops that should have gone in in April. It brings to mind a favorite line from a Dylan song- “odds and ends, lost time is not found again”

Ironically, now that the weather has started to moderate and I have been able to sow numerous types of tiny seeds we have had to put the sprinklers out, after a week without rain. The smaller the seed the more shallowly it must be sown and the top layer of the soil dries out quickly in the sun and the wind.

The beets and the chard are already coming up, but the carrots and the parsnips take 2 to 3 weeks to emerge and must be kept moist during that time. I have just finished planting nearly an acre of peas, most of which have already come up and been growing for several weeks. We have nearly finished planting the potatoes and onions, there are thousands of lettuces and Cole crops in the ground and growing well. The greenhouse is full of tomato, pepper, squash and other plants ready to be transplanted in the next several weeks.

We are working hard to ensure a bountiful season, but the first couple of deliveries will not be as large as  they were last year. We hope to compensate for this as we go through the season. I hope to see and meet  many of you during the coming weeks at one of the farm events.

Enjoy the spring!

Farmer John

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week 24 update

Hello Folks, I know it’s hard saying goodbye, especially to your fresh vegetables, but we have reached
the end of the season. We are in the process of making one final push to glean what we can from what
is left in the fields. Many of the greens are very small at this point. The spinach has been ravaged by the
deer, despite our attempts to maintain the fence in place. There is very little for them to eat at present
and the spinach, which they normally won’t bother with, is just too tempting and they find ways to get
in. It is too small to bunch so we are harvesting it loose and will distribute what we have by weight.
The lettuces too are rather tiny, so we will be sending 3 or 4 of them per share. We have only a few
onions left and many of them have soft centers and we have a very small amount of shallots. We are
making up small bags with an assortment- a red onion, a few small yellow onions and a few shallots. We
will be sending the culls as an extra; they will require a little more work and there will be some loss, but
there is still plenty of good eating to the larger ones. We are harvesting the Brussels sprouts, a very time
consuming task because we must trim them from the stalk. It would be easier if we could ship the entire
plant, but some have many sprouts and others only a few. For squash we have a large gray kabocha
type called Sweet Mama. These make excellent pies, cakes or soups. We will also be including some
butternut squash. We have some very nice red-skinned turnips for your holiday table. We still have
a small amount of sweet potatoes left, so we will send what we can. We have a lot of very small ones
which will be best used by boiling and eating whole with the skins.

Thank you all for your participation and support this season and a special thanks to core group
members and site hosts who work so hard to bring it all together. I wish all a Happy Holiday season and
a healthy winter.

The share for this week will be: Lettuce, choice of broccoli or
cauliflower, carrots, turnips, choice of arugula or mustard greens,
spinach, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, onions, potatoes, kabocha and
butternut squash.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Farmer John

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week 23 update

Hi all,

Today is our second to last vegetable and fruit delivery.  :-(  Ken is
delivering eggs, etc today and will continue to do so every other
Tuesday for those who preorder from him directly.

We will have sign up sheets at both sites and a “cookie jar” out for
any members who would like to order the Winter stock up share ($60.00
checks made out to Starbrite Farm – delivery on Tuesday November
30th.)  If you can’t find it, please ask Sabina or Donna.

Also, don’t forget next week is our last pick up and our end-of-season
potluck at Sabina’s house (189 Park Street) from 5-8 om.  Both John
and Ginger will be there, most likely toward the later half of the
time.  It’s a chance to say thanks to our farmers and wish them for
the winter.  So please plan on coming by, even for just a few minutes
to warm yourself with a cup of tea.

We do have some CSA organizational news.  Donna has decided that
juggling work and family and all the extras we all do, plus hosting
the CSA is just one two many things on her plate.  We appreciate all
the time and care she has put into creating a warm and welcoming site
and wish her well.  Meanwhile, Karin Johnson, a longtime CSA has
offered to host our second site at her house in Cedar Grove.  She
lives just over the “Bradford” hill,” off of Pompton Ave.

Lastly, we are looking for additional members to join our core member
group to take on some of the administrative tasks of the CSA. Besides
the warm fuzzy feeling you get for participating in something
positive, there are some partial shares available for compensation.
Anyone even a tiny bit interested, please speak with Sabina or Donna,
or email me at (EnidMelvi@verizon.net).

This week’s fruit share will include: Stayman Winesap, Mutsu and
Macoun apples.

The vegetable share for this week will be: Red Romaine, green cabbage,
radicchio, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, leeks, sweet dumpling and
delicata squash, radishes or salad turnips, Bok choi, sweet potatoes,
and tatsoi or mizuna (a frilly Asian mustard).

Best,
Enid
*****************************************************
Treelicious Farm Update

Good Evening!

We have finished packing three of our favorite varieties into this
week’s share including Stayman Winesap, Mutsu and Macoun.  The saps
and Mutzu are great for baking and eating while the Macoun remain
crisp and even sweeter for eating. Enjoy!  A few more pears will come
in the share next week to round out the season.

See you soon and best!

Ginger

*****************************************************
Starbrite Farm Update

Hi Folks,

The crops continue to grow very slowly, but that’s the way it is in
November. We do have some broccoli that is big enough to cut, although
not as large as I would have liked.   We will continue the broccoli/
cauliflower alternation again this week; with Tues. and Wed. groups
getting broccoli and The Thursday groups receiving cauliflower.  Most
of the cauliflower we have at the moment is either the green type or a
variety called Romanesco, which has a beautiful other-worldly
appearance, and which I like to call “the cauliflower from another
planet”.

Last week we ran out of radishes large enough to pull, so we
substituted salad turnips for some groups. If you had radishes last
week you will get turnips this week and vice versa.  We also have some
cute little heads of cabbage, a variety called Gonzales, which is
meant to be small- just so you know and don’t think I forgot to
fertilize it! We also have full size Bok choi this week, and no, it’s
not from the same crop as the baby Bok we sent last week-it doesn’t
grow that fast!

It will be sweet potato surprise this week; that’s not a dish you
might make, but rather speaks to the fact that we have smallish
quantities of the 3 varieties of sweet potatoes, and I’m not sure
which variety anyone will get. In any case they’re all good!

On Sunday, November 28 we will host one final volunteer work party for
anyone brave and hardy (perhaps foolhardy) enough to endure a few
hours outside in potentially frigid weather.  Some of my workers are
beginning to depart or find other jobs for the winter months and we
could use some help in gleaning what remains in the fields for the
final stock-up delivery that next week, or to donate to a food pantry.
We will begin at 1PM and end when you have had enough. You will also
be free to harvest anything you crave to take home with you. If you
can make it, please RSVP to me directly at kruegerj@earthlink.net .

The share for this week will be: Red Romaine, green cabbage,
radicchio, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, leeks, sweet dumpling and
delicata squash, radishes or salad turnips, Bok choi, sweet potatoes,
and tatsoi or mizuna (a frilly Asian mustard).

Enjoy!
Farmer John

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week 22 update

Hi all,

It’s November so I guess there’s no denying it:  we are closing in on
the end of the 2010 season.  Luckily, this year we extended our
regular season from 22 weeks to 24 weeks so that delivers would
continue all the way up to the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  So glad
we did, otherwise tomorrow’s delivery would be our last.  Instead we
have three more deliveries including tomorrows.  Yippee.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the end-of-season party at
Sabina’s house (189 Park Street) on TUESDAY November 23rd, from 5-8
pm.  Separate evite to follow.  Also, John often offers a winter stock
up share and as soon as I get the details I’ll forward them on.

The vegetable share for this week will be: Red lettuce, acorn squash,
garlic, red onions, carrots, radishes, potatoes, choice of arugula or
other mustard greens, baby bok choi, and choice of red or Napa
cabbage.

No word yet on what is in tomorrow’s fruit share.  My guess: an
assortment of apples.  😀

Best,
Enid

**************************************************************
Starbrite Farm Update #24

Hello Everyone,

We are rapidly approaching the end of the season, and none too soon
for my workers who are trying to endure the cold weather we have had
this past week. The fields here are very open and the winds are often
very strong.  The crops have endured several nights of low 20’s
temperatures with little damage, but things are growing very slowly.
I am a bit frustrated with the broccoli crop which normally does well
in the fall, but this year is refusing to size up. I know that I
promised broccoli for everyone this week, but it’s just not happening.
It’s predicted to get a little warmer later in the week, so I’m hoping
this will give it a chance to grow.

We do have beautiful red and Napa cabbage, which we will offer as a
choice this week. We also have really beautiful and sweet carrots
which will be in the shares this week and for the next 2 deliveries
(for those who have paid for a 24 week season or have opted for the
extension).  I know that many of you really love the stiffneck garlic
that we grow and probably have not received enough this year.  I am
trying to remedy the shortfall by planting nearly twice as much as we
planted last autumn.  To do this I need to save some of this year’s
crop for planting. We have set aside enough to give one medium sized
bulb in this week’s share; I know it’s not much but at least everyone
can enjoy one last taste.

For those of you for whom this will be your last pickup, I would like
to thank you for your participation and support. The CSA program is
what enabled me to get started as a farmer and what sustains me from
year to year. I and my workers have worked hard to provide the members
with a variety of quality produce and I hope we have succeeded at
least to some degree. Every year has its own particular challenges,
this year it was hot and dry conditions. Each year some crops will
excel and others will fail. This year was a better year for tomatoes
but a poor year for eggplant. White potatoes did poorly this season,
but we had a banner year for sweet potatoes. Celery root was a crop
failure this season, but we have lovely carrots, parsnips and beets. I
lament the loss of any crop, but as a farmer I have had to accept that
there are many variables beyond my control, and crop failures happen
to the best of us.  I wish all of you a safe and healthy winter and a
joyous holiday season.

The share for this week will be: Red lettuce, acorn squash, garlic,
red onions, carrots, radishes, potatoes, choice of arugula or other
mustard greens, baby bok choi, and choice of red or Napa
cabbage.

Enjoy!
Farmer John

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Week 21 update

Hi all,

All three farmers are delivering today.  No more broilers from Ken
until spring.  Wish I put some in my freezer during the summer.  :-(

We are beginning our planning for the final delivery on November
22nd.  Sabina opens her home to all members for a potluck get-together
from 5-8 pm.  We are going to send out a special potluck planning
evite in the next few days so look for that.  Both John and Ginger
will be there.  Ken, unfortunately can’t make it.

Meanwhile, Park Street members please drop off two extra bags
(preferably not paper, in case it rains onh the 22nd).  We have the
set-up crew bag everyone’s share at Park Street on that last delivery
so that members can save time and instead come right inside.  The
Nassau Rd site will follow their regular set up and clean up routine,
but please stop by Sabina’s house afterward to say hello (189 Park
St.).

The fruit share will be Mutzu, Macoun and Bosc pears.  The vegetable
share will be Boston or green leaf lettuce, beets, daikon, choice of
spinach or Swiss chard, Japanese sweet potatoes, butternut squash,
cauliflower, shallots, and choice of arugula or tatsoi.

Best,
Enid

PS:  We are short set up help today at Park Street  and Sabina spent
the night at the hospital with her son.  He broke his wrist and needed
surgery.  Anyone available to pitch in, please come by.

**************************************************
Treelicious Orchards Update

Hello,

We will continue the theme of a mixed box again this week.    We are
sending beautiful Mutzu, Macoun and Bosc pears.

Similar to last week, I would like to encourage our members to visit
our market on Saturdays to pick up the make up shares due to
vacation.  In this way they can select the best choices among our
apple varieties.  I will reach out to Megan to drop off a special
delivery to her for the two weeks due to vacation.

Many thanks!  Please stop by on Saturday if you can –

Ginger

********************************************************
Starbrite Farm Update #23

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a very warm fall up to now, but now it would seem we are
quickly entering winter. We have had lows in the upper 20’s these
past few nights and now they are predicting lows in the lower 20’s for
Tuesday night. We are scrambling to harvest or cover anything that
might be damaged by these frigid nights. Most of what is left in the
fields is very hardy and can survive quite cold temperatures, but in
some cases the edible part of the plant can be damaged. This is the
case with cauliflower- the plant will survive, but if the head has
started to form, it can freeze and be ruined.  Similarly root crops
like radishes and turnips have leaves that can withstand the cold but
if the roots project too far above the surface they can freeze, and
after thawing become spongy.

Today, Monday we harvested about 800 lbs. of daikon which had pushed
itself several inches out of the ground. We also began raking soil
over the roots of turnips and radishes to protect them. Tomorrow we
will be continuing this task as well as covering some crops with a
white ag-fabric that affords several degrees of frost protection.
Hopefully once we get through the next couple of nights we will have a
couple of weeks of more moderate lows.

Last week we began cutting quite a bit of cauliflower, some of which
ended up in the shares for the Thursday groups. This week we will have
cauliflower for all other groups and broccoli for those who pick up on
Thursday. Next week we should have broccoli for everyone. We will be
sending the daikon with leaves attached as they are quite palatable-
good in soups or stir fries. We will have sweet potatoes again this
week, this time a variety known as Japanese, which have bright red
skin and a yellowish flesh. They are quite delicious but where not as
productive as the other varieties, so there will be a slightly smaller
quantity to disperse. We are out of herbs for the time being, having
overcut the parsley. We are waiting for a planting of cilantro,
chervil, and dill to be large enough to harvest.

The share for this week will be: Boston or green leaf lettuce, beets,
daikon, choice of spinach or Swiss chard, Japanese sweet potatoes,
butternut squash, cauliflower (broccoli for Thursday groups) shallots,
and choice of arugula or tatsoi.

Enjoy!
Farmer John

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week 20 update

Hi all,

This week the fruit share includes three varieties:  Cameo apples,
Cortland apples and Bosc pears.
The vegetable share this week will be: Red potatoes, leeks, salad
turnips, choice of romaine or a red romaine –like variety, arugula,
kale, choice of ornamental pumpkin or kabocha squash and choice of an
herb (mostly parsley).

This week Ginger sent us a farm update from Treelicious.  In it, she
proposes that members who are due “make up deliveries” because of
skipped vacation weeks may stop by the Treelicious fruit stand at the
Montclair farmers market on Saturdays and select the type of apples
themselves.  If that is not convenient, she would be happy to put
together the  extra shares and deliver them on any Tuesday until
Thanksgiving.  See details below.

I also want to keep you posted on Havenwood Farm news.  Ken writes “We
did 400 more broilers this year than last but the orders increased
which chewed up much of the 400. I had several other groups contact me
this year about supplying them. They heard about us from members from
the Bloomfield/Montclair CSA or Montclair Co-op  and I said no to
these inquiries. Other than the Nutley Farmers Market, none of the
broilers went to any other group or establishment. I would bring about
6-8 broilers to the market in Nutley only after orders were filled,
and a few  times I didnt bring any broilers to Nutley. About half of
broiler purchases in Nutley were from current members of both groups
getting an extra broiler or two.

The reason for this long explanation is to reinforce the fact that I
am committed to the two groups( and the members)  that helped start
us. While I do expect growth in the upcoming years (as any business
does) those that were with us in the beginning will always be taken
care of first.   That’s just the way I am. I hope you can express to
the members that they are my priority as they built us and that the
lack of frozen broilers for the winter is due to the fact that the
orders for this year were more than we had anticipated compared to
last year. Ken ”

‘nough said.  It will be a long hard winter without Ken’s chickens in
the freezer.  More reason to look forward to spring. Hope you are
enjoying this warm October weather.

Best,
Enid

*********************************************
Treelicious Orchard Farm Update
Enid and Fruit Share Members,

This week the fruit shares include three varieties:  Cameo apples,
Cortland apples and Bosc pears.  All three are sweet and ready to
eat!  The Cameos are hard and very sweet like a Gala and the Cortlands
are known for their all around suitability for eating, apple sauce and
our favorite – apple crisp.  They are also known as they can sit on
the counter unsliced without turning brown.  Finally, the bosc pears
are hard, sweet and delicious. Please enjoy this yummy assortment.

We hope you will have time to prepare a quick apple crisp.  The
topping is so good when prepared with a cup of sugar, a cup of flour
and a stick of margarine.  Create a crumb mixture with a butter knife
and place over sliced apples in an 8X8 pan.  Bake at 350F for 40
minutes —and you are ready for a yummy treat!  (Even oven is a
little different – but you are seeking a nice brown top)  Enjoy!

If you were away over the summer months, please stop by the farm
market on Saturdays to pick up your extra share. At the market you may
select the apples in the makeup share that are best for you and your
family. If this is not convenient for you, please email Ginger and she
will create a makeup share for you for the week you desire between now
and Thanksgiving.  We hope this creates a little flexibility for our
members and will allow those who were on vacation and had alerted us
to select their own apples in the makeup share at our stand at the
Farmers’ Market.  We are open every Saturday through December from 8am
to 2pm.  As always, we will continue to experiment to make the CSA
experience a positive one for our customers.

Have a great week!
Ginger and the Kesler Family

*************************************************
Starbrite Farm Update #22

Hi Folks,

Things are beginning to wind down a bit here on the farm. We are done
seeding and transplanting crops for harvest this season. We have
finished digging the sweet potatoes and most of the white potatoes as
well.  Besides the daily harvesting of greens and root crops for the
shares and the markets, we are focused on clean up. My crew has been
dismantling the trellis for the tomatoes, removing hundreds of posts
and stakes, and pulling the plastic mulch. I have been busy
broadcasting cover crop seed- winter rye and hairy vetch, which will
protect the fields from wind erosion during the winter months. These
cover crops also improve the soil by adding organic matter and
nitrogen which is “fixed” by the vetch. Members of the Legume family
like vetch take nitrogen from the atmosphere and store it in nodules
which form on their roots. We are also preparing ground to plant the
garlic and shallots for next year’s crop. Garlic is grown from the
individual cloves, each of which will produce a new bulb next July.
Planted now, the cloves will begin to grow roots, so they will emerge
and begin to grow rapidly as soon as the ground thaws in early spring.
I plan to put in about 600 lbs. of seed garlic, 50% more than last
year, as we never seem to have enough of the popular stuff.

We are still waiting on the broccoli heads to size up, a process that
is painfully slow during the fall, with shorter days and cold nights.
The good news is that the quality is generally high when they are
ready, and many different varieties are beginning to mature. Once we
can begin harvesting we should have it consistently during the final
weeks of the season. In the meantime we have kale as the brassica of
the week.

The red potatoes we are sending with the shares this week are a bit
ugly, with a lot of russeting of the skin. You will probably want to
peel them. Fortunately they are fairly large so this won’t be a
terribly difficult task. We will be shipping some pumpkins this week
as a choice with a large gray kabocha type squash called Sweet Mama.
All pumpkins are edible, but some are better eating than the
ornamental types.  These are excellent for baking as well as for soups
and in any recipe which calls for pumpkin.

The root of the week will be salad turnips. Don’t forget that the
greens are edible and very nutritious.

The share for this week will be: Red potatoes, leeks, salad turnips,
choice of romaine or a red romaine –like variety, arugula, kale,
choice of ornamental pumpkin or kabocha squash and choice of an herb
(mostly parsley).

Enjoy!
Farmer John

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week 19 update

Hi all,
We are beginning to plan for our end-of-the-season, potluck get-
together.  According to our tradition, the potluck will be at Sabina’s
house (189 Park Street) on the last regular delivery (that’s November
23rd, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving) probably between 4-7 pm or
there abouts.  Please try to stop by and say hi to our farmers and
tell them what you thought of this season.
Tomorrow is a trifecta.  All three farms will be delivering, so be
sure to check the Havenwood Farm coolers if you think you may have
ordered eggs or broilers.
I spoke with Ginger at the farmer’s market last Saturday and explained
that, while CSA members understand many things affect crops from year
to year, including weather, pests, and wild animals, several members
have complained to me that they are missing pears and wished that the
fruit share had more variety in general.  She promised us pears in our
shares in the next few weeks.  Meanwhile, please read the Treelicious
Orchard farm update from Ginger below to catch up on some of the
issues facing the farm this year, and to hear about their plans for
special pie and cider orders. The fruit share this week will be a mix
of Mutzu and Macoun apples.
Ginger and I also spoke about the extra deliveries for those members
who took weeks off from the fruit share for vacation.  We proposed
that we designate the first two weeks of November as “vacation make-up
weeks.”  Ginger will deliver an extra share to those members who are
owed shares.  I asked her to send me a list of the member’s names who
took weeks off and number of weeks.  As soon as she puts the list
together I will forward it to you. Ginger asked that if someone thinks
their name should be on the list but doesn’t see it, or if the number
of weeks seem wrong, to let us know.  She wants to make sure everyone
gets all their fruit.
This week’s vegetable share will be Red or green leaf lettuce, choice
of escarole or endive, parsnips, red onions, Jersey sweet potatoes,
acorn squash, choice of spinach or Swiss chard, cauliflower or kale,
bok choi and choice of an herb (mostly parsley).   Also look for hot
peppers, edamame and flageolet beans as extras.
Lastly, sorry I missed sending out last week’s farm update from John.
My work week begins on Tuesdays so if he doesn’t get it to me before
then I have a hard time sending it out before the delivery. I’ve
included it at the bottom, below this week’s farm update.
Best,
Enid
*****************************************
Treelicious Orchards Farm Update
Dear Fruit CSA Members:
We have packed a delicious medly of Mutzu and Macoun appleis into each
box  for this week. Both are sweet – but we recommend the Mutzu for
not only eating but also the very best baked apples.  Enjoy!  We will
select two other varieties next week fresh from our trees for you .
It has come to our attention that several of our fruit members are
disappointed to not receive pears in the distribution to date.
Regretfully, our pear crop is extremely small this year due to the
natural cycle of the pear trees.  While we predict we will have many
pears next year – exactly opposite of this year’s crop – we are
seeking another family orchard to provide pears to us for distribution
to our fruit members.   We will provide later season pears to our
membership in the mixture of fruits in a future week.  We regret any
inconvenience and disappointment the pear crop may cause this year to
our membership, but we hope collectively that our members will
understand that growing fruit is different than other productive
activities as the crop varies significantly from year to year.
Overall, we have plenty of beautiful apples and other fall vegetables
available this season.
As we plan for the holiday season, please look for our pie order form
in your delivery next week. Our apple pies are made from fresh
ingredients, including our fresh apples. Continuing our annual
tradition, a special delivery of fresh pies based on orders placed in
advance willl be made to Montclair on Tuesday, November 23rd from 5pm
to 8pm at the Walnut Street Train Station Parking Lot.  Please stop by
the Farmers Market on Saturdays to say hi or sample one of the apples
grown at our orchard.
We sincerely thank you for your support of our Annual Apple Festival
at our farm on October 10th  The group had a fun day in the warm
sunshine overlooking the orchard – all in support of the school.  We
appreciate the opportunity to introduce many new families to our
orchard.  Thank you!
Best,
The Kesler Family
**********************************
Starbrite Farm Update #22
Hi Folks,
I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful fall weather.  There is no
rain in the forecast this week, at least for the moment. This is good
news, since the ground is quite saturated. In general this is not much
of a problem, but I do have one field that stays wet, and part of it
is planted with turnips, radishes, and various mustards.  We have
tried to cultivate these crops several times during the past 2 weeks,
but the tractor bogs down and sinks into the mud. All we can do is
lift the implements and race for the edge, so we don’t get stuck in
the mud!
We also still have about a half an acre of potatoes to dig which will
be much easier if the ground has a chance to dry a bit. I have
finished sowing seed for crops for this season, but there are many
acres of field that need to be planted in cover crop. We sow winter
rye and hairy vetch to improve the soils and protect them from
erosion. The vetch is a legume which fixes nitrogen and improves the
soil fertility.
We are still waiting for the next broccoli crop to do it’s thing, but
we have begun cutting cauliflower. There won’t be enough for all
groups this week, so some of you will get kale and should see the
cauliflower next week. We will be sending sweet potatoes again this
week, this time a white variety called a Jersey sweet. This type is a
bit drier than the orange variety but quite delicious; I sampled them
last night for dinner. We are in the process of trying to cure the
sweet potato crop so that they will store better. This requires
keeping them at a temperature between 85 and 90 degrees for about a
week. I have never been able to accomplish this in the past, but this
year we have turned a recently constructed cooler into a hot box using
some electric heaters.
We have a tremendous crop of these scrumptious and nutritious tubers;
now the trick will be to store them for distribution during the
remainder of the season. We have also begun digging the parsnips, so
they will make their first appearance in the root category in this
week’s shares.
The share for this week will be: Red or green leaf lettuce, choice of
escarole or endive, parsnips, red onions, Jersey sweet potatoes, acorn
squash, choice of spinach or Swiss chard, cauliflower or kale, bok
choi and choice of an herb (mostly parsley).   Also look for hot
peppers, edamame and flageolet beans as extras.
Enjoy!
Farmer John
*******************************************************
Starbrite Farm update #20 (belated)
Hi Folks,
We had our first frost this past Saturday night. As warm as it has
been, I was hoping we would get a couple more weeks from the warm
weather crops. The old saying “you can’t always get what you want” is
especially true in farming. I was, as frequently happens, taken by
surprise by it, as it wasn’t forecast until Saturday.  I might have
tried to cover a few crops, but by the time I learned of its
imminence, the workers had already gone home. Gone are the beans and
the basil, the peppers and eggplant, and the zucchini.  The cold also
blackened the leaves of the sweet potatoes, but that’s good news,
because now we have begun to dig them, and hopefully, soon so will
you! So far the harvest looks great, with good size and quality and
overall yield. I pulled a few out of the ground last night and baked
them for dinner; they were quite yummy.
We are still waiting for the next round of broccoli to head up, which
should happen in the next week or two.  In the meantime, we have some
Napa or Chinese cabbage and some Bok choi to offer in this week’s
share. Some groups will get the cabbage this week and others the Bok
choi, next week the contrary. Both white and yellow cauliflowers are
beginning to head as well, so look for these in the share’s soon.
We will give the spinach a rest this week and allow it to get a little
bigger, ditto for the chard and the kale. We had been thinning out the
rows of spinach as we harvest; pulling the largest plants and leaving
the smaller ones with more space to grow. I planted the spinach at the
back of one of my fields, because in my experience it was not eaten by
ground hogs or deer. Unfortunately, with fewer of their favorites
available to them, the deer seem to have acquired a taste for it. They
did a fair amount of damage before we were able to get it fenced in.
We have now had to put a fence around a second planting, which I
thought was still too small for them to bother with; wrong again!
The lettuce for this week will be an old variety called Forellensclus,
which means something like trout back in German. It is a romaine type
with red speckling, hence the name. I mention it mostly because to the
un-initiated it can appear to be going bad, but it is a very nice
lettuce with a dense head, full of many tender leaves.
The squash of the week will be spaghetti. I was planning on sending
acorn, but it appears that the spaghetti squash is not keeping very
well. This is not typical for winter squash as most keep for months. I
recommend that you use it promptly, or at least keep an eye on it, so
that it doesn’t spoil before you get to it.
We also have a choice of edamame soybeans or flageolet beans in this
week’s share. The latter are the traditional ingredient in the French
dish casoulet. They are shell beans and can be used in any dish
calling for lima beans or added to soups. They look just like green
beans, but you will be very disappointed if you try to prepare them as
such.
Don’t forget about the Farm visit, this Sunday at Circle Brook Farm
141 Brighton Rd., Andover, NJ, 07821 11 AM to 4PM  This will be a
simple event, an opportunity  for those who have wanted to visit the
farm and haven’t had the chance, to see how their food grows.  The
weather forecast looks good!
The share for this week will be: Forellenschlus lettuce, sweet
potatoes, Bok choi or Napa cabbage, choice of edamame or flageolet
beans, yellow onions, spaghetti squash, beets, choice of arugula or
tatsoi and choice of an herb.
Enjoy!
Farmer John

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weekly update, week 18

Hi Folks, We had our first frost this past Saturday night. As warm as it has been, I was hoping we would
get a couple more weeks from the warm weather crops. The old saying “you can’t always get what
you want” is especially true in farming. I was, as frequently happens, taken by surprise by it, as it
wasn’t forecast until Saturday. I might have tried to cover a few crops, but by the time I learned of its
imminence, the workers had already gone home. Gone are the beans and the basil, the peppers and
eggplant, and the zucchini. The cold also blackened the leaves of the sweet potatoes, but that’s good
news, because now we have begun to dig them, and hopefully, soon so will you! So far the harvest looks
great, with good size and quality and overall yield. I pulled a few out of the ground last night and baked
them for dinner; they were quite yummy.

We are still waiting for the next round of broccoli to head up, which should happen in the next week
or two. In the meantime, we have some Napa or Chinese cabbage and some Bok choi to offer in this
week’s share. Some groups will get the cabbage this week and others the Bok choi, next week the
contrary. Both white and yellow cauliflowers are beginning to head as well, so look for these in the
share’s soon. We will give the spinach a rest this week and allow it to get a little bigger, ditto for the
chard and the kale. We had been thinning out the rows of spinach as we harvest; pulling the largest
plants and leaving the smaller ones with more space to grow. I planted the spinach at the back of one of
my fields, because in my experience it was not eaten by ground hogs or deer. Unfortunately, with fewer
of their favorites available to them, the deer seem to have acquired a taste for it. They did a fair amount
of damage before we were able to get it fenced in. We have now had to put a fence around a second
planting, which I thought was still too small for them to bother with; wrong again!

The lettuce for this week will be an old variety called Forellensclus, which means something like
trout back in German. It is a romaine type with red speckling, hence the name. I mention it mostly
because to the un-initiated it can appear to be going bad, but it is a very nice lettuce with a dense head,
full of many tender leaves. The squash of the week will be spaghetti. I was planning on sending acorn,
but it appears that the spaghetti squash is not keeping very well. This is not typical for winter squash as
most keep for months. I recommend that you use it promptly, or at least keep an eye on it, so that it
doesn’t spoil before you get to it. We also have a choice of edamame soybeans or flageolet beans in this
week’s share. The latter are the traditional ingredient in the French dish casoulet. They are shell beans
and can be used in any dish calling for lima beans or added to soups. They look just like green beans, but
you will be very disappointed if you try to prepare them as such.

Don’t forget about the Farm visit, this Sunday at Circle Brook Farm 141 Brighton Rd., Andover, NJ, 07821
11 AM to 4PM This will be a simple event, an opportunity for those who have wanted to visit the farm
and haven’t had the chance, to see how their food grows. The weather forecast looks good!

The share for this week will be: Forellenschlus lettuce, sweet potatoes,
Bok choi or Napa cabbage, choice of edamame or flageolet beans, yellow
onions, spaghetti squash, beets, choice of arugula or tatsoi and choice of
an herb. Enjoy! Farmer John

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week 17 updates

Hi all,

Just keep repeating to yourself “we need the rain to help our
vegatables grow, we need the rain to help our vegatables grow.”  Is it
helping?  No me neither.

There will be local honey available for purchase at Sabina’s site (189
Park Street) for $8 per jar.  Limited quantities, but will possibly
get more next week.

We’ve got Cortland and Macoun apples in this week’s fruit share.  The
weather forecast looks good for this Sunday’s apple festival at
Treelicious Orchards (Sunday, October 10th from 11 to 5 pm) and I’ve
posted on the Google group website their flier with details and
directions to the farm for those who are hoping to attend.  I know I
am.

The following weekend, Sunday, October 17th Starbrite Farm will be
hosting it’s fall farm visit from from 11 to 4pm .  It’s a potluck
picnic and farm tour.  After seeing David Schiller’s pictures I want
my children and me to see firsthand where all our wonderful vegetables
come from and to meet Farmer John himself.  This week’s vegetable
share will include:
Red Boston lettuce, kale(broccoli if you got kale last week) choice of
arugula, raab, or other mustard green, cippolini onions, radishes,
string beans, summer squash, peppers, choice of spinach or Swiss
chard, butternut squash and choice of an herb.

Finally, Havenwood Farm delivers today their pastured eggs, poultry,
jams, soaps, and cheeses for all those who ordered them.  In this kind
of weather, a roast chicken in the oven comes real close to heaven.
The soup I make the next day with any of the chicken leftovers and
Farmer John’s fresh vegetables and herbs confirms it.  Throw in an
apple pie from Ginger’s orchards…

Best,
Enid

*********************************************************
Starbrite Farm update # 19

Hello Everyone,

The dry spell has officially ended!  I knew all along, as I complained
about the lack of rain, that at some point it would begin to fall
again and likely in excessive amounts. Be careful what you wish for,
as they say!  I guess it’s too much to ask, to have a balance between
the sunshine and the rain and we have to accept the feast or famine
pattern that has become the norm.

Fortunately the fields here in Andover are very well drained and have
been able to absorb the 7” of water that fell last week with no
flooding. Perhaps the greatest challenge during long rainy stretches
is getting the harvesting done. We have been in the process of
bringing in the winter squash crop, a project that now becomes more
urgent as it will begin to rot in these wet conditions. We normally
clean it and pack it into boxes in the field. Under these
circumstances we have been quickly gathering as much as we can during
the interludes between downpours and bringing into the barn to clean
and pack. This double handling is not very efficient but is the only
way we can forge ahead.

Unfortunately this strategy doesn’t work with the greens and the root
vegetables which must be pulled and bunched in the field, so my
workers must endure working in the light rain and run for cover during
the downpours. We are looking at another rainy period ahead and with
cooler temperatures, so it will be another challenging week.

The downside for you, the consumers, of all this wet weather is dirty
vegetables. The rain splashes soil all over the leaves of the plant
and there is only so much that can be removed by washing after it is
bunched. I guess we all have our crosses to bear!

While fall is typically associated with apples and pumpkins it is also
the season of the Mustard family. This large and diverse group of
plants thrive in the cool, wet conditions common to autumn.  The
family includes the brassicas such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale and
of course broccoli, as well as root crops like radishes and turnips.
The list of varieties of  mustards with tender leaves is extensive and
includes Italian favorites, such as arugula (not a lettuce as some
seem to think) and broccoli raab as well as a plethora of Asian greens
like tatsoi, bok choi, hon tsai tai  and several types which make
small flower buds, similar to broccoli raab. These vegetables will
make up a sizeable portion of the shares during the final third of the
season.

We began cutting broccoli raab last week and I forgot to mention it in
the update. It is one of the trickier crops to grow, as it should be
cut with a flower bud, which turns rapidly into a yellow flower, even
after being cut and in storage. We will be offering it as a choice
along with other tender mustards over the next couple of weeks, so
watch out for it if it is a favorite.

After much deliberation we have decided to host a fall farm visit on
Sunday, October 17 from 11 AM til 4 PM.  I know there are many folks
who would like to visit the farm, but were unable to make it in the
spring. This will be similar to the spring event with a pot luck lunch
and a farm tour. This will be a rain or shine event, unless torrential
rain is predicted, in which case we will postpone until October 24. We
will have pumpkins available for kids to paint or for carving. I
apologize for the short notice and hope that many of you will be able
to attend.  I will send out a flyer with more details shortly.

The share for this week will be: Red Boston lettuce, kale(broccoli if
you got kale last week) choice of arugula, raab, or other mustard
green, cippolini onions, radishes, string beans, summer squash,
peppers, choice of spinach or Swiss chard, butternut squash and choice
of an herb.    Enjoy!   Farmer John

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week 16 update

Howdy Folks,

Summer has officially ended and with it go the warm weather crops.
The tomatoes are definitely over for the season; the peppers should
continue producing for a few more weeks. The eggplants are full of
small fruit but they are sizing up very slowly. We will give them a
rest this week in hopes of getting one more large harvest of medium
size fruit for next week. The late summer squash planting peaked last
week and production will begin to decline rapidly. Many of the plants
already have powdery mildew issues and with wet weather coming will
probably fade quickly. We still have a good supply for the shares this
week.

We have a good winter squash crop which we are in the process of
harvesting. Next week we will begin the rotation of the various
varieties of winter squash; from acorn to spaghetti, which will take
us to the end of the season.  The first large broccoli planting is
heading up nicely and we should have sufficient quantities for
everyone this week. If we run short we will substitute kale and ship
broccoli to those groups next week.    We have put in nearly 10,000
plants so expect broccoli frequently during the remainder of the
season.  There are also thousands of cauliflower and cabbage plant
which will begin to mature during October. I expect to have lettuce in
the shares again by next week. We have some spinach which is large
enough to pick, principally a red stemmed variety. We need to harvest
this type first because it is more prone to bolting and also because
the deer have decided that they like it!

I just returned from the Garlic Festival in Saugerties NY where I went
in search of seed garlic for next year’s crop.  Garlic is grown from
individual cloves which we plant in late October.  It will begin to
grow some roots and then emerge in early spring as soon as the ground
thaws. Seed garlic is rather scarce at present and prices are high,
due to both increased demand for the richly flavored stiffneck
varieties as well as a recently discovered nematode problem in NY
State. Nematodes are microscopic worm -like creatures that attack the
roots of the plant and are spread on infected bulbs. One bulb can
contain as many as 50,000 organisms! This is a serious problem which
also affects onion crops, so those who have the problem have had their
crops quarantined. For many others testing is necessary to insure the
absence of these critters and prevent the spread of the plague.

Since I never seem to have as much garlic as I would like (or as you
would like!) to put in the shares, I was anxious to obtain a
substantial quantity for next season. I came back with my Subaru
loaded down with nearly 600 lbs. of several varieties that I am fairly
confidant do not harbor the pest. I spent $4000 on this haul.

Farming is like that, we are always reinvesting the profits in the
next crop or the next season. I look on it as money in the bank, only
a bank without FDIC insurance and that is subject to frequent
robberies!

The share for this week will be: Red skinned potatoes, yellow onions,
spinach or chard, summer squash, broccoli, string beans, peppers,
carrots, choice of arugula, tatsoi or other mustard greens, and choice
of an herb.

Enjoy!
Farmer John

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