You’ve heard the recommendation to eat organic, locally-grown food because it’s fresher and hasn’t been transported from hundreds (or thousands) of miles away. That may be easy to do if you live in the Midwest, but how do you do that in New Jersey? Maybe you’ve tried buying organic vegetables labelled “Local” at the markets where you shop. Now it’s time to move to the next step: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
Community Supported Agriculture is described on the web site of New Jersey’s Honey Brook Organic Farm as:
“an attempt to address the many problems of modern agriculture by redefining the relationship between the farmer, consumer and the natural biological systems which comprise a farm. A CSA program is a type of “cooperative”, where a consumer financially commits to a full season of produce months in advance of the start of the growing season. Each week from June to November, members receive a variety of freshly harvested crops. Since the nutritional value of produce declines significantly while on supermarket shelves, as a member you…enjoy the freshest, most nutritious produce available – harvested daily for you and your family by the farm staff.”
Honey Brook Organic Farm has two locations in western New Jersey. It provides its CSA members with either a boxed bushel or a boxed half bushel of freshly-picked produce each week, delivered to various pickup locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Yesterday we picked up our first boxed bushel, which contained several kinds of lettuce, baby bok choi, spinach, cilantro, radishes and strawberries. Dean’s Natural Food Market in Shrewsbury is cooperating with the farm and serving as a convenient local pickup location each Wednesday from 3 pm to 7 pm. We have a “harvest calendar” showing what fruits and vegetables are expected to be available in each month, but we realize that weather conditions may affect the amounts and types of crops we receive each week. Since we shop at Dean’s Market anyway, we just plan our produce shopping to stop there every Wednesday.
In addition to receiving the weekly delivered boxes, CSA members can take advantage of a “pick your own” program at the farm once per week. Last weekend we drove out to the farm’s Chesterfield location, our designated “pick your own” farm, and picked 8 quarts of the biggest, reddest strawberries we’ve seen in a long time- yum! Chesterfield is near where Monmouth, Mercer and Burlington Counties meet – about 50 miles away – so we may not be picking fruits and veggies every week, but it’s fun to do and it’s in a beautiful area that we’ve never been to before.
If you’d like to know more about Community Supported Agriculture, go to the Honey Brook website http://honeybrookorganicfarm.com/ and click on the various tabs. If you like the idea of eating fresh, organically-grown fruits and vegetables all season, you might want to become a CSA member yourself. Len
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