BestofNJ.com is getting a head start on summer and all the bounty that comes from the earth that gives us our well deserved name: The Garden State. We’ll begin with just one farm, but we’ll add more as we go along and we’d like to know about the community farms or farm shares in your area. And if you are wondering about Pick Your Own Farms in Jersey, we’ll be doing a feature on them in the near future too.
The Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm:
I stumbled across the Genesis site the other day when I was investigating some slow food businesses in New Jersey and it reminded that the NY Times had done an article on community gardens and farm shares last year. I fell in love with Genesis Farms as soon as I saw it.
There’s allot that I like about this place. Their website is very last century-early internet and homey but that’s perfect for a farm. The produce looks wonderful. The members that run the farm have these warm, open faces. They remind me of the farmers that I met growing up in the cotton and peanut country of Southeast Alabama. You know that if you go there they will be easy to talk to and have things to say.
From their share page they explain how their program works:
“How Much Food in a Share? The CSA concept enables us to grow the food in the most responsible way, honoring the earth and ourselves. There are about 250 households who are shareholders. An average share is about 19 pounds of vegetables per pick-up, though it varies with the seasons. This is enough for a family of 4 who wants to eat seasonal and regional food, who emphasizes a vegetable-based diet, and who enjoys preparing fresh foods.”
41 B Silver Lake Road
Blairstown, New Jersey 07825
Telephone: The Gardenhouse (908) 362-7486
Website: NJ Genesis Farms
Blairstown is located in Warren County, north of Interstate 80 in North Jersey.
Belmar NJ Community Garden and Magical Greenhouse:
The Belmar Community Garden is a tiny little garden compared to Genesis and some of the other farms in our feature. It is an urban garden in the small town of Belmar [a bustling urban area with a population of 6,000 people] “The Community Garden group, meets during the spring, summer and fall to prepare, plant and harvest a large variety of organic vegetables.”
Belmar Community Garden
C/O The Borough of Belmar
The Belmar Environmental Commission
P.O. Box A
Belmar, NJ 07719
Telephone: No Telephone Number Given
Belmar Community Garden Website
Belmar is located in Monmouth County in Central Jersey
Honey Brook Organic Farm:
This farm is the oldest example of organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in New Jersey and it’s shares are sold out. This is actually extraordinary good news! It’s great that this model of organic sustainable farming is working so well. Honey Brook was looking for apprentices and volunteers to work on the farm at the time this article was written. The farm offers PYO (pick your own) and delivery.
Honey Brook Organic Farm
260 Wargo Road
Pennington, NJ 08534
Telephone: (609) 737-8899
Website: Honey Brook (Honeybrook) Farm
Pennington is located in Mercer County in Central Jersey
Upper Meadows Farm:
Upper Meadows was begun in 1987 and got its organic certification four years later. The farm has evolved over the years:
“We have expanded our vegetable production from the traditional “kitchen garden,” which remains as one of our fields, to over 12 acres today, that serve our CSA membership producing over 200 varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruit.”
Montague is located in Sussex County in North Jersey.
Bloomfield Montclair CSA:
The Bloomfield Montclair CSA is a community that supports the sustainable farmer John Krueger, of Starbrite Farms:
“John Krueger grows high quality organic vegetables for 5 CSA member groups and 2 area farmer’s markets. Starbrite Farm is certified organic and includes 9.5 acres of fenced and irrigated crop land in Hardwick Township.”
Bloomfield Montclair CSA Pick Up Location
189 Park Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
Telephone: (973) 783-4833
Montclair and Bloomfield are located in Essex County in North Jersey.
Cherry Grove Organic Farm & CSA of Princeton:
There are two organic farms in the area that go by the name of Cherry Grove. One Cherry Grove, located in Lawrenceville produces heirloom pork, free range chicken eggs, cheese, grassfed beef and lamb. The other one [the real CSA farm] produces vegetables and flowers and does not really have a website. It is located on Carter Road in Princeton.
Cherry Grove Organic Farm and C.S.A.
11 Carter Road
Princeton NJ, 08540
Telephone: (609) 306-5139
Cherry Grove Organic Farm CSA Website [not updated since August of 2007]
Princeton is located in Mercer County in Central Jersey.
Bear Swamp Farm CSA:
Bear Swamp Farm is a small CSA. Their season runs from the middle of June to the end of October. In 2009 they will have 29 vegetables, 6 herbs and 2 fruits to harvest and deliver to their members. A couple of weeks ago, Pedro, the farmer @ Bear Swamp, made this post on their blog:
“Crop updates – Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, kale, chard and lettuce have all been started in the greenhouse. Depending on the weather, peas will be planted in the field this week. The garlic is starting to look strong and will get fed soon.”
Bear Swamp Farm
81 Otterhole Road
West Milford, NJ, 07480
Telephone: Farmer Pedro @ 201-574-6194
Website: Bear Swamp Farm Online
West Milford is located in Passaic County in Northern Jersey.
In conclusion, we had a great time investigating these farms and learning about their work. I suggested to someone last year that we should do this in my own community of Frenchtown New Jersey and they just thought I was weird. If anyone near Frenchtown wants to start one of these, please let me know. If you think it is a great idea for your New Jersey community, leave a comment below and maybe you can find other community members and farmers in your area longing to do the same thing. I find it really strange that there is not one community supported agriculture project in South Jersey with all the farms that are down there. If I am wrong about this, please correct me and tell everyone else about it.
There is one little irony in this whole thing that I cannot avoid mentioning:
Is there really any little or big farm that does not qualify as Community Supported Agriculture? [If I live in a community and I buy a tomato from the farm down the street that has a stand of their own, didn't I just support the agriculture of my community?]
* Update * 4/11/2009: It seems that the State of New Jersey actually sees this issue the same way that I do. On the Jersey Fresh site you’ll find that they refer to all of their listed farms as “Community Farmers Markets”. Also on the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey Website they have a long list of Community Farm Markets in towns all over the state in every region.