Hello Everyone, 

We received .6 inches of rain this past weekend. Although not as much as I would have liked, it will greatly benefit the fall crops. The timing was also less than desirable; raining all through my Saturday morning market and costing me thousands of dollars in lost income. C’est la vie! The long term forecast looks a lot wetter during the coming weeks, so you can look forward to my complaining that it’s raining too much in the near future. We narrowly escaped frost last night; going down into the mid-30’s out here on the farm. It will warm again gradually and it seems we will have another 10 days or so before the next cold blast. This means we will continue to have tomatoes, peppers and eggplant for a couple more weeks. We have Kohlrabi ready to harvest and the broccoli crop is beginning to head. Most of you will receive kohlrabi this week and broccoli the following week. 

For a few groups it will be the reverse. We are also in rotation with summer squash and delicata squash, so if you received one last week you can expect the other this week. We have also been picking a small quantity of beans these past few weeks and a few groups have been shipped some. Hopefully with the rain the old plantings will begin to produce a little more. We also have a late planting that is about to begin flowering. We will cover these with an Ag fabric the next time we expect frost to try to get a late season crop.

We will host several volunteer days and farm visit event during October. The schedule will be announced shortly. We have a good harvest of pumpkins this year but they are simply too bulky to ship in the share to all members. These events will also be a chance for you to pick up a pumpkin (either an edible /pie type or decorative). If you are unable to attend on any of these dates you are welcome to visit us at one of our markets to receive a pumpkin.

The share for this week will be: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, kohlrabi or broccoli, lettuce, choice of spinach or chard, delicata or summer squash, choice of red skinned turnips or celery root, yellow onions and choice of an herb. We have nearly 1,000 lbs. of carrot culls (small, broken, forked etc.). We will be sending these as an extra this week. There will be enough for 1 lb. per share. If you choose not to take them they will be donated to a food pantry or soup kitchen. 

If you receive a fruit share, there will be Fuji apples and Asian pears. If you were from the MICSA and were missing an apple share last week, it will be replaced this week. 

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Everyone, 

We continue on the dry side here at the farm; having received a paltry .3 inches from Saturdays drizzle and light rain. At least it came slowly, allowing the soil to soak it up. We have another slight chance of precipitation on Monday night into Tuesday morning. We are making the best of it; using overhead irrigation to germinate seeds and keep the fall brassica crop growing. String bean production has fizzled out partly due to the dryness and partly due to persistent midnight grazing of the plants by the deer. We have the crop enclosed with a temporary fence but they still manage to find ways to get in. The deer have also been reeking destruction on the winter squash and pumpkin crop; part of which we recently fenced in as well. I have taken to patrolling the fields in my car with a spotlight each night about eleven, just before I go to bed! I chase them and then they probably come back an hour later. It is a bit futile but I am also teaching my newly acquired puppy what her job will be when she grows up! 

Tomatoes, Peppers and eggplant are still abundant. We have more plum tomatoes now, so we will be trying to give everyone a good amount of these to cook with over the next 2 weeks. Some groups received cherry tomatoes last week; the rest will get these this week or next. Beans were also shipped to some folks last week; those who did not have these can expect some this week or next as well. We also have a few Lima beans which we will be sending as an extra. It’s time for your biweekly dose of cabbage- this time it will be Napa, aka Chinese. Broccoli will be starting again soon!

The share for this week will be: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, leeks, Napa cabbage, spaghetti squash, salad turnips or radishes, choice of arugula or tatsoi, spinach, and choice of an herb.

If you have a fruit order, gala apples and peaches will be in the share this week.

Enjoy! Farmer John

 

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hi Folks, 

We finally got some rain this past Saturday, about a half an inch. The summer squash and the beans had more or less stopped flowering; so now maybe they will be revived. This week’s share will not be as large as the distributions have been over the past few weeks. I expect this will be the case for a few weeks until the brassica crops begin to head up and thewinter squash ripens. There will be a smaller amount of beans this week. Zukes and cukes are on hiatus until another planting begins to produce in a few weeks. 

We had a good run with the melons, but these too are in decline. We have a tremendous winter squash crop which we will begin to tap into next week, probably with spaghetti squash. The sweet potato crop also looks good, although we will not start to dig them for at least a few more weeks. We have an abundance of radishes at the moment and the will be lost if they are not harvested. I know these are not everyone’s favorite but keep in mind that they can be cooked in stir fries or soups and lose their bite. We also have baby salad turnips beginning to size up. Those who had radishes last week will receive these, and those who had carrots will get radishes.

The share for this week will be: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, choice of arugula or tatsoi, salad turnips or radishes, peppers, choice of kale or chard, beans, yellow onions and choice of an herb.
If you have a fruit share, this week you'll receive nectarines and hearty kiwi. 

Enjoy!
Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Everyone, Happy Labor Day! 

We don’t really get to take holidays here on the farm, so today we continue to labor away! A dearth of rain continues to make our job harder; we received a scant tenth of an inch from yesterday’s storms. We continue to have an abundance of veggies for you however. There was no cabbage in the share last week; so you know what that means…. This week it’s the red variety. The zucchini and summer squash harvest is diminishing, at least until the next planting starts producing in a few weeks. Cucumbers as well will become scarce soon, although we should have enough for this week. There is also a third planting of these that will hopefully begin to produce later this month. We still have lots of melons and are starting to have more watermelon. If you have not yet received a watermelon you will likely get one this round. The eggplant has made a comeback and is flowering producing and flowering profusely. We will shortly have arugula and tatsoi and soon after that spinach.

The share for this week will be : Tomatoes, peppers, string beans, red potatoes, eggplant, carrots or radishes, cucumbers, choice of goldenberries or cherry tomatoes, red cabbage, melon or watermelon, choice of kale or chard, white onions and choice of an herb.

If you paid for a fruit share, the share this week is Paula red apples and peaches. 

Enjoy! 
Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hi Folks, This week marks the midpoint of the season. It’s hard to belief we are half way through; I guess time flies when you’re working hard!  I am very pleased with what we have been able to provide the members thus far and from the feedback I have received, you all are fairly happy as well. We got off to a late start and I have been behind on my planting schedule almost the entire season. I have been worried that we will reach a point when the shares are not so bountiful.  That day may come but it won’t be this week! We are almost out of carrots and I was only recently able to plant more. The 2nd planting of cukes and zukes is starting to wane and I the third planting is just coming up.  With the dry weather we have had this past month it has been challenging to get seeds to germinate, have transplants survive or even prepare more ground for planting. We received 1.4 inches of rain last week, still not enough, but we take what we can get!

            The tomatoes are still coming in heavy especially the heirlooms. Beans are also abundant and you will likely get one and a half to 2 lbs. this week. Beans are easy to freeze- 1 minute in boiling water to blanch them, then cold water to stop the cooking process; toss them into zip lock bags and into the freezer. Voila! –beans for the late fall or winter months. We will probably be in rotation with the summer squash for the next few weeks. Eggplant is starting to produce better now. The kale is starting to come back-benefitting from the rain and the cool weather. We also have an unusual “green” for you this week; it is called Red Orach and is a warm weather spinach substitute. The stems are somewhat woody; use only the leaves and thinner stems. We have some radishes now which need to be harvested, but not enough for all groups. Some groups will receive carrots this week and radishes next week and vice versa. We are out of lettuce for now and probably will be for several weeks. We have some Thai basil which seems to have resistance to the powdery mildew plague that wiped out all the rest of our basil plantings.  It will be included as a choice with parsley and a few other herbs this week.

As previously noted beans are coming in heavy and we are having a hard time getting any other work done because my workers are spending so much time picking them. I am working on a fall event schedule with some volunteer days as well as farm visit opportunities.  For now I am asking for bean picking volunteers for this Sunday 8/31 at 10 am.  I will also extend an invitation to those who would like to visit the farm but have not had a chance, to come out this Sunday. I will give a tour at 1pm. Bring a picnic lunch and something to grill if you wish. Nearby Kittatinny Valley State Park offers beautiful hiking and biking trails if you would like to expand your visit to the country. This is short notice so please RSVP to me @ kruegerjohn@earthlink.net, so I will know if anyone will be coming.

The share for this week will be: tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, peppers, blue gold potatoes, scallions, beans and more beans, cucumbers, summer squash, Red Orach, radishes or carrots, kale, choice of cherry tomatoes or Goldenberries, garlic, melons or watermelons and choice of an herb.

If you are to receive a fruit share, you will be receiving Ginger Gold Apples and Nectarines.

Enjoy!       Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hi Folks,

We are still very dry here on the farm. On Tuesday evening, returning from market in Hoboken, we drove through some heavy showers but when we arrived at the farm it was dry. It looks as though we may get some precipitation this Tuesday or Wednesday- keep your fingers crossed!  

Tomatoes are coming in heavy now so you will receive a nice quantity of both regular (hybrid) and heirloom tomatoes. We are also starting to have quite a few goldenberries, aka ground cherries, husk tomatoes or cape gooseberries. These small fruit are in the tomato family and have a paper wrapper similar to a tomatillo. They are very sweet and have an interesting flavor, nutty and a bit of pineapple. They are good keepers lasting for weeks without refrigeration. Some people love them and others can live without them, so we generally offer them as a choice with cherry tomatoes. We will finally have potatoes in the share this week.  They are a bit scabby and some have lost some of their skin in the harvesting and washing process, but they taste great. In honor of the arrival of the potatoes we will also be sending leeks, in case you like to make soup.  We will also have celery this week, another good soup item. Our celery tends to be stronger flavored and perhaps a little tougher than what most of you are accustomed to with California celery. The inner more blanched stalks can be used in salads while the outer darker stalks are best in stir fries and soups. We continue to have a tremendous melon harvest. They have been quite sweet and tasty thus far and I expect to continue the trend into September.               

Last began shipping a few groups a long curvy green  fruit known as tromboncino, it is an edible gourd which is harvested while still tender and is reputed to taste a little like avocado. We will continue to rotate through the groups until everyone has had them at least once. They are prepared more or less the same as a squash.

The share for this week will be: tomatoes, red skinned potatoes, leeks, peppers, celery, carrots, melons, summer squash, beans, yellow onions, lettuce and cucumbers. Some groups will receive tromboncinos and some will get cherry tomato/ goldenberries. For extras there will be hot peppers and tomatillos.

If you purchased a fruit share, there will be Macintosh apples and white peaches. 
 
Enjoy!     Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Everyone,

We continue to enjoy mild temperatures for this time of the season. Unfortunately the several days of potential rain that were predicted over the weekend did not bring us any precipitation. We have been busy seeding and transplanting fall crops and were hoping for some rain to get seeds germinating and young plants to take root. We will have to begin moving our overhead irrigation around the fields and keep our fingers crossed for the next chance of rain on Wednesday.

We have been having a tremendous season thus far and I expect we will continue to have abundant variety and good quality produce for your dining pleasure. Every season has it’s problems though and sometimes there are crop failures. Currently we are experiencing a pause in eggplant production, due primarily to a small critter called the flea beetle. We have been working to control this pest and the plants are beginning to flower again. I expect we will be back in production soon. We have also lost a very large planting of basil to a fungal disease. This too, we are working on controlling and we continue to set out more plants, so hopefully we will have basil again in a few weeks. There were not as many tomatoes ready last week as I expected so some groups did not get any as I had promised. I apologize for the disappointment. Tomatoes will begin to ripen prolifically very soon.

The share for this week will be: Beans, lettuce, fennel, peppers, white onions, tomatoes, garlic, beets, summer squash, melons, red cabbage and cucumbers.

For those who paid for a fruit share, this weeks fruit is peaches and nectarines.

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hi Folks, 

Tomato season has begun! Yippee! Probably only a couple of fruits for this week but quantities will increase week by week. Melons have also begun to ripen so we will be shipping to some groups as availability allows. There are a lot of Korean melons an oblong yellow type which looks like an overgrown cucumber. These are very sweet and have a crisp flesh, not as soft as other melons. We also have some yellow fleshed watermelons. We will be sending our multicolored carrots again this week. We have a lot of these, and they tend to be a bit on the wild side (hey baby…), meaning they get woody if left in the ground too long. In general they are tougher that the orange carrots and are best cooked. We still have some radicchio left but not quite enough for everyone so we will offer it as a choice with dandelion greens. I know from market that these bitter greens have their fans, although for most they are just too bitter. I would never send them for all members, but if you enjoy them let one of your core group members know and we can send them as extra from time to time.

The weather has been copacetic. Such mild temperatures for July are a real blessing. We received .4 inches of rain Sunday night which was much appreciated for the seeds I have been planting and the fall brassicas which we have been transplanting.

The share for this week will be: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, string beans, choice of radicchio or dandelion greens, lettuce, cukes, summer squash, red onions, choice of kale or chard, rainbow carrots, choice of an herb and maybe melons. 

Peaches and Red Plums are the fruits of the week ONLY IF YOU PURCHASED A FRUIT SHARE. Please do not claim a fruit share if you did not pay for it. This is a separate purchase. 

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Folks, 

Things continue to well here on the farm- crops are abundant and quality is good. We dodged a bullet with last week’s storms; receiving only about an inch of rain and no high winds or hail. Only about a mile north of us they got an inch of rain in 20 minutes on Monday afternoon but that cell fortunately missed our farm. It was unusual but not un-welcome to have such mild temperatures for Mid-July.

We have the first few peppers and eggplant for you this week; with larger quantities to follow shortly. We have been harvesting a few tomatoes but not enough to distribute just yet; maybe next week…. Melons too, are on the horizon. Beans are not yet abundant but we should have enough for a half lb. per share this week. Broccoli and cauliflower has nearly ended until the fall but we still have a fair amount in cold storage, so we will try to send one or the other to all groups; depending on how quality is holding up. 

As we head into mid-summer there will be a lot of cabbage in your future. Cabbage is the only really dependable brassica crop that can be harvested during typical July and August heat. We have some beautiful small heads of green cabbage for this week and red and Savoy to follow in the coming weeks. If you are German or Eastern European or even Irish, you will know what to do with the cabbage. For the rest, keep in mind that it keeps well (literally months) in the fridge. We always try to take a week off in between cabbage deliveries, to give folks a chance to use it up. Think cole slaw or shred a bit to mix into your salads. If you still have beets, cabbage is good in a hardy borscht. We are also sending “Ailsa Craig” sweet onions this week. This is an heirloom variety which can make some very large bulbs and has a mild flavor. It does not keep well so don’t try to save them; you will be getting plenty of onions from here on out. We also have fennel and our multi –colored, “rainbow carrots” as newcomers to the shares this week.

The share for this week will be: Lettuce (2 heads again!) green cabbage, fennel, rainbow carrots, sweet onions, green peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, choice of kale or chard, beans (green, wax or purple), choice of an herb an possible broccoli or cauliflower. We will also be sending mizuna and other mustard greens as an extra. PS: if you have paid for a fruit share, the fruit this week is blueberries and yellow plums! 

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hi Folks, 

As most of you know, and with the kind support of many loyal members who prepaid for the 2014 season, I was able to buy a beautiful 80 acre property in Andover last November. The property has been known as Circle Brook Farm and I have chosen to keep this moniker. Starbrite Farm has now become Circle Brook Farm. I have formed an LLC and have opened a bank account with this name. I will be continuing to rent land from the adjacent property-Good Hand Farm, as I transition the additional 50 or so tillable acres to organic. I hope to soon begin establishing an orchard and planting a variety of berry and other small fruits. Very soon we will begin hosting regular farm visit events and I hope that many of you will have the chance to visit and enjoy this beautiful place and learn about how your food is grown.

It’s been raining quite a bit lately; not typical for July. I suppose these days it doesn’t pay to use words like normal or typical with regard to the weather. Wet conditions and warm temperatures favor fungal diseases and we are seeing the effect on some crops, such as the basil which has developed a “rust” which turns the leaves brown and the black. I am worried about the tomato crop which is very susceptible to a variety of diseases. So far they look okay and we are trying to keep ahead of the plague by removing lower diseased branches and spraying with various organic preventatives, such as kelp, garlic and some natural oils. I hope to have the first few tomatoes in shares in 2 weeks.

With the help of several families who came out on Sunday, we have brought in the garlic and shallot crop. I was anxious to get it all harvested ahead of this next round of storms, so my crew worked a long day for a Sunday, when they usually have off or work only a few hours. It is a bit of a disappointing harvest this year with most of the bulbs on the small side, due to a late start after the long winter. We will be hanging it up to dry and cure in the barn during the rainy periods this week. We will be sending small bunches of fresh shallots in this week’s shares.

We have been harvesting broccoli and cauliflower in great abundance this past week and the coolers are overflowing. Since we have had to cut it in advance of delivery the broccoli may start to yellow quickly, so I recommend consuming it promptly. We are also heavy on cucumber and summer squash. We are harvesting the last of the peas at present, so there will be snow or sugarsnaps one more time. Beans will begin in small quantities next week or the week after. Radicchio has not performed that well this summer. It is always a difficult crop that I plant twice as much of as I think I need, to ensure there will be enough. A large percentage of what we will send will be a green “trevisio” type which I have found to be more dependable than the more common round red varieties. We are also sending daikon this week, a relative of radishes, which like their cousins, probably falls in the category of “red headed step child “ with many of you. This time of year it will be especially fiery. It can be grated and added to salads in small quantities but it can also be cooked in soups or stir fries and will lose it’s bite prepared this way. It will also keep well for many weeks in the fridge.

The share for this week will be: Broccoli, cauliflower, peas (Sugarsnap or snow), cucumbers, squash, lettuce, radicchio, beets, choice of kale or Swiss chard, daikon, shallots and choice of an herb (parsley, mint, thyme or basil). 

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Everyone, 

So I think we’ve been doing fairly well so far with the share quantities and quality. Especially considering the late start we had with planting. Now it will really start to get good. We have beautiful broccoli coming in heavy right now. There was not quite enough for all groups last week, so those who did not receive any broccoli last week will definitely have it this time. We also have some lovely small heads of Napa cabbage and cauliflower is beginning to make heads. Sugarsnap peas are still abundant as well as some snow peas. We will certainly have enough for this week and I am hoping to continue for one more week with the peas. We will also be sending some sweet, gorgeous carrots in the share for this week. And there is some very nice basil as this week’s herb. Radicchio and fennel are almost ready and will be in next week’s share. Peppers and eggplant should begin in a couple more weeks and tomatoes shortly thereafter.

We received nearly 3 inches of rain from last week’s storms; more than was desired of course but we were spared the damaging winds that were predicted at one point. We were scrambling for a while on Friday trying to batten down the hatches in preparation for the “squalls” that were in the forecast, but fortunately they never materialized. We had planned a garlic harvest volunteer day for this past Sunday but it was much too wet and muddy for that. In any case the garlic is a little late this year so it was not quite ready. Many thanks to the folks from Westfield, Montclair and Staten Island who came out to the farm expecting to dig garlic and helped out with pea picking instead. We will add another volunteer day for this Sunday, July 13 at 10 am to help with harvesting garlic. We will meet at the main farm at 141 Brighton Rd., Andover and then caravan to a field in Allamuchy were the garlic is planted.

The share for this week will be: Carrots, sugarsnap or snow peas, scallions, summer squash, 2 heads of lettuce, choice of kale or chard, Napa cabbage (for those who did not receive last week in lieu of broccoli) basil, broccoli (a few groups may receive cauliflower instead), and choice of tatsoi, broccoli raab or other mustard greens.

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hi Folks, 

We received .6 “ of rain this past week. I was hoping for more but we’ll take what we can get. As we head into July we typically experience a dry spell until sometime in August. There are scattered and isolated storms predicted for most of the week so hopefully some of these will drop some rain on us. In the meantime we are busy moving the sprinklers around; to help germinate recently planted seeds and to give the brassica, carrot and beet crops the moisture they require.

Broccoli is coming in heavy now and I expect to have enough for all groups. We also have kohlrabi, another member of the brassica family. These are baseball size spheres that look like a root vegetable but it is actually a modified stem. They have a cabbage like flavor and are very sweet. They are good keepers and can be stored in the fridge for several weeks; can be steamed, roasted or eaten raw (they make a nice slaw). We also have beets this week; choose from the regular purple type or red skinned heirloom Chioggia, aka candy cane beets because inside they are white with red rings. The sugarsnap peas are coming in heavy now, so most groups will get these. 

Thank you to the volunteers from Westfield who came out to pick peas this past Sunday. We are still picking arugula and broccoli raab and are still heavy on lettuce so there will be 2 heads again this week. The herb choices will be parsley, marjoram, savory or chervil.

The share for this week will be: Broccoli, beets, 2 heads of lettuce, choice of arugula or broccoli raab, kohlrabi, choice of kale or Swiss chard, summer squash, sugarsnap peas, and choice of an herb.

Enjoy! Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Everyone, 

Summer has officially arrived and with it our first heat wave of the season. The hot weather was beneficial for the summer crops like tomatoes and peppers but a bit stressful for the cool weather plants. Cool weather crops like lettuce, radicchio, spinach and the mustards (arugula, tatsoi, mizuna etc.) react to this stress by bolting. This is the reproductive mode of the plant whereby it stretches out and sends up a flower stalk. 

We harvested a lot of lettuce this past weekend so as not to lose it. Lettuce in particular gets bitter when bolting begins. Another effect of high heat on the lettuce family is tip burn, where the upper edges of the leaves turn brown. We have a beautiful heirloom romaine called Forellenschlus, it is speckled with red and when grown to maturity has a densely packed head with dozens of thin tender leaves. We had to cut it a bit early because it gets bitter quickly. It has a little tip burn but still good quality. We are also sending a nice Boston lettuce. We also had to cut all the escarole last week and much of the frissee is bolting as well. There will be a choice between these 2 again this week, though mostly frissee this round. The heavy rains of the previous week and the heat of this past week were the one two punch for the spinach crop. Nobody likes wet feet but spinach actually dies from this condition; what survived is shooting up seed stalks. We have been cutting it over the weekend and will have enough for 2 more bunches per share this week.

The summer squash is beginning to produce and we expect to have enough for 2 per share this week. Next week we should have more. Also new this week will be baby salad turnips, these are sweet ping pong ball size roots that can be eaten raw in salads or cooked. They also have very nice edible greens. Peas are coming in heavy now so there will be larger quantities this week. The English, or shell type is the most abundant; I expect the sugarsnaps to begin producing heavily by next week. The broccoli is beginning to head up and kohlrabi is forming its bulb, so I expect to begin the rotation through the various brassica crops (cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) next week.

The share for this week will be: Forellenschlus romaine, green Boston lettuce, kale, choice of arugula, broccoli raab, or other mustard greens, salad turnips, summer squash, English peas, choice of escarole or frissee, spinach (some red stemmed) and choice of an herb (mostly dill and cilantro still).

Enjoy! 
Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Everyone,

It was a rainy week. We received almost three inches of precipitation; creating muddy conditions and making it a challenge to get the harvesting done and continue with the planting. We were almost caught up with the spring planting schedule and are now a bit behind again. It is mostly with direct seeding of crops, specifically the beans, that I feel the most urgency. We had a warm sunny weekend with breezy conditions so the ground is drying out nicely. I will be putting in some marathon sessions on my seeding tractor during this window of opportunity before the next round of rain. It is time now to plant the pumpkins and winter squash, but the beds are all prepared and I should be able to make a good start on these crops this week. We received 9,000 sweet potato plants on Friday and they have all been set out.

The peas have begun to mature but not in huge quantities, so there will be a small amount of peas (most likely English aka shell peas). By next week I expect an abundance of peas which should continue for several weeks. The bok choy is ready for your stir fry enjoyment. Much of the spinach crop began to bolt to seed so we had to cut it at a small size and will not have as much as I expected. We do have beautiful Swiss chard right now, so we will offer a choice of 2 bu. of spinach or one bunch of chard. We will be offering a choice of arugula or tatsoi and possibly some broccoli raab. There should be a lot more raab by next week. We have cut the garlic scapes (flower tops of the garlic plant) and will be sending some in the shares. For the newbies, these can be chopped finely, sautéed and added to dishes for a garlic flavor, grilled whole or blended into a pesto. Also of note is chervil, a French fin herb that likes cool weather and is a bit tricky to grow and hence hard to find in markets or stores. WE will include some as a choice with the herbs this week, so the Francophiles among you will want to watch out for that. As always in the spring we are heavy on greens, thus we will be sending 2 lettuces in this week’s share and a choice of endive (frissee) or escarole.

The share for this week will be: Lettuce(2), bok choi, choice of spinach or chard, peas, choice of escarole or frissee, garlic scapes, choice of a mustard green(arugula, tatsoi or broccoli raab) and choice of an herb (dill, cilantro or chervil).

Enjoy!

Farmer John

 

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hi Folks, 

Well here we go! The first week of deliveries has arrived. As previously mentioned we got a late start on planting due to the long winter, so the first couple of weeks won’t be as bountiful as in previous years.  I expect that we will make up for this as we go through the season. 

We have some potatoes that were held in cold storage from last season. They are in decent shape and we have sorted them and composted the bad ones. I just made some potato salad from some recently and they taste great. They may seem a little sweeter than normal because storage at cold temperatures causes starches to be converted into sugars. Held a few days at room temperatures the process will reverse itself, but don’t hold on to them for too long as they will begin to sprout.  

We also have a beautiful oak leaf lettuce, some nice spinach, radishes, kale and a choice of an herb. I expect English peas to be ready for next week as well as garlic scapes.  Kohlrabi, cabbage and broccoli should start to mature in 2 weeks and soon we will have summer squash.

The weather has been cooperative; we received 1 “ of rain at a nice steady rate overnight this past week. This is exactly what we need every week but it rarely occurs! Temperatures are moderate- warm enough for the heat loving plants like tomatoes and peppers, but not so hot as to hurt the cool weather crops like spinach and the brassicas.

I have been invited by a group called Reverb that works with The Dave Matthews band to participate in a fund raising event at his concert this Tuesday June 10. They raise money to donate to a food bank by selling seed packets at the show. They partner a farm with the food bank and the money raised is given to the farm to buy produce for the food bank.  We participated last year and received $700 and delivered over a $1000 dollars of potatoes, cabbage and other produce to The Food bank of Monmouth County. It is also a chance to promote the farm (and see a free show!) I can bring one volunteer with me to help out and presently don’t have anyone. I know it’s last minute, but if there are any Dave Matthews fans out there who are free this Tuesday and would like to meet me at the venue or at some agreed upon location on the way, be in touch. The show is at the PNC Bank Center in Holmdel and we would need to be there by about 5 PM.   kruegerjohn@earthlink.net
 
The share for this week will be Potatoes, spinach, kale, lettuce, radishes, and a choice of dill or cilantro.            

Enjoy!     Farmer John

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy

Hello Everyone, Happy Spring! 

At least I hope it has arrived and it’s time to sing “Here Comes the Sun” because it was certainly a long hard lonely winter. As you may have expected we are off to a late start this season, due of course to the persistent cold and wet conditions. I managed to get some peas and spinach planted on April 14th and they have come up nicely. I was able to take advantage of some beds which had black plastic mulch remaining from last season, which helped to warm the soil. We have been planting onions and leeks for the past 2 weeks and are about ¾ of the way through putting in about 80,000 plants. About a week and a half ago I planted a lot of carrots and parsnips.  With these I am still waiting for germination; they are always slow to emerge and more so with cold soil. 

Early this week, just ahead of the heavy rains, I seeded arugula, broccoli raab, turnips, radishes, beets and Swiss chard. We have also been very busy in the greenhouse since the middle of March and it is crammed full of plants waiting to be set out. Today my crew planted 6,000 radicchio, escarole, endive and lettuce plants.  In the week,  ahead we will be starting to plant the potatoes as well as transplanting broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower. May will be a hectic month since we are 2 weeks behind in planting the cool weather crops like the brassicas, and in another 2 weeks it will be time to start setting out the first of the tomatoes and eggplant. We have also started a lot of zucchini and summer squash in the greenhouse, which will be ready for transplanting in 10 days. These grow quickly and I hope to have some in the shares by the second week of deliveries.

It is likely that the early shares will not be as bountiful as in the past couple of years but my crew and I are working hard and we will do our best to make up for it during the course of the season.

I hope to see many of you out here on the farm in the coming weeks for one of the volunteer work days or for the Farm visit picnic which is coming up on June 7th.      

Best Regards, Farmer John

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AuthorDan McCarthy

My name is John Krueger and I am the owner/operator of Starbrite Farm. I have been interested in organic gardening for over 25 years, as an avid gardener, and as co-founder and an officer of the Cook Organic Gardening Club. I earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from Cook College, Rutgers University in 1989.

 In 1996 I was hired as Farm Manager of Heirloom Harvest Farm in Blairstown NJ. During my six years at Heirloom Harvest I was able to draw on my experience as an organic gardener and to gain experience in the techniques and equipment for larger scale vegetable production. I was given the opportunity to attend numerous conferences and workshops related to organic farming.

In 2002 the owner of the farm decided to discontinue operations in NJ. I was determined to continue my involvement with organic farming and that year I began working with Richard Moran at Starbrite Farm in Hardwick Twp. NJ. Dick had been farming organically on his property for 10 years since retiring. In 2003 Dick allowed me to take over operation of the farm and I began working with the Bloomfield-Montclair CSA and selling at the Montclair and Morristown farmers markets.

 For the 2006 season I was chosen to be the farmer for the Downtown Harvest CSA in Jersey City. During the 2007 season a new CSA group in Westfield was added and Starbrite Farm supplied produce for 200 members among the 4 groups.

 In 2007 I began leasing an additional 7 acres from Good Hand Farm in Andover Twp. In 2008 I began leasing a part of Circle Brook Farm which is adjacent to my fields at Good Hand Farm. The property includes a large house where I now live and house workers, and a large barn.      The barn is the center of our operations; it houses 2 walk-in coolers and serves as packing house, mechanic shop and lunch room, among other functions. The entire Circle Brook Farm encompasses 80 acres and includes a second small house and barn. It has been my hope and dream since 2008 to one day purchase the property.

In 2010 the farm served approximately 400 members through 7 pick-up sites. In 2011 planting in Hardwick Twp., at the original Starbrite Farm property was suspended. For the 2012 season I began renting a 10 acre parcel in Allamuchy, about 5 miles from Andover. The property features deer fence and a well/water system. In 2012 we served 650 members and sold at 3 farmer’s markets- Montclair, Teaneck, and Denville. There are currently distribution sites in Montclair (3 locations), Westfield, Jersey City, Morristown, Newark, Metuchen, Staten Island, Caldwell, and Millburn. For the 2013 season I added one new group in New Brunswick and increased membership to about 700 members.

In November of 2013, thanks to the generous support of many CSA members I was able to turn a long time dream of owning my own farm into a reality. I have purchased the 80 acre property known as Circle Brook Farm. This has been my home for the last 6 years and now will be for the rest of my days. I now have an additional 50 acres of land that will be transitioned into organic production. I am anxious to begin planting fruit trees and bushes, and slowly begin expanding into production of eggs, and other grass fed animal products. I have a grand vision of a diversified and integrated farm, something akin to the typical small farm of 100 years ago, except with the cutting edge techniques and materials available in the 21st century. It will be a sustainable operation producing nutritious food for as many folks as possible with a minimum of external inputs; one of many emerging “model farms” that are leading the way as we learn to farm for the future. But more than this it will be your farm. A place for CSA members and market customers to visit; a place to bring your children to teach them the source of their food.

Posted
AuthorDan McCarthy