September 25, 2012
Throughout the season, as many of you have come to pick up your share on Tuesday or Friday, you may have noticed some young folk hauling a cart full of summer squash or carrying baskets of sweet corn. And they certainly look like they’ve been ‘out in the field’. You may wonder if they are volunteers or perhaps in a school program. They are spirited young people who have been with us since April 1st, committed to learning more about agriculture. They are our apprentices.
The apprenticeship program at the CSG began in 1998, feeling ready to take on an educational component. We started with one apprentice, realizing the responsibility of giving them an experience in agriculture. We gradually expanded our program to 4 apprentices, including a 2nd year apprenticeship. The CSG provides housing, a stipend, and lots of veggies to cook and eat. But over the years I’ve learned through them what the CSG and this land really gives them. By the time they leave us in November, they’ve gained a new inner strength and confidence. They know how to use a pitchfork, when to pick summer squash (before it becomes a winnebago), and to remain steadfast during brutally hot days of pulling and hanging garlic. They learn to cook vegetables they’ve never even seen before – and to know what variety of vegetable they are eating. On our Monday morning field walks I watch an acute level of observation evolve. There’s a depth of understanding that happens that is even more than the pitchfork and the winnebago. It’s a love of the land, a respect for the work, and a reverence for the food they are growing. They learn the power of Mother Nature with all her whims. It’s an honor to witness.
And when they leave, they leave with the spirit of our community. They’ve come to know some of you through the potlucks, on pick-up days, at the farm camp, or even outside of the farm. The CSG truly embraces them. We will always be a ‘home’ to them.
See you at the farm,
Judy (for the CSG)
I am originally from Austin, Texas, but went to college in Amherst, Massachusetts, where I studied English, and came to the CSG after graduating. This is my second season on the farm. I am so grateful to each of the farmers for both their stewardship of the land, and their generosity of time, care and knowledge to the apprentices. This second season I have come to feel farming as a vocation. It is work that is exhausting, but enlivening–it interests my mind, shapes my body, and fills my heart. After this season I want to continue into another apprenticeship somewhere in the northeast. I want to thank each of the members for contributing to this community and land which nourish all of us.
I am a first year apprentice on the farm. I’m from Indiana and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Biology in 2011. While in school, I got interested in sustainable/organic food and helped out with community gardens in my town. I wanted to further my knowledge of agriculture and decided to apprentice at Genesis after a friend recommended the farm to me. This season, I’m looking after the cucumber and tomato crops. Along with growing food, I also enjoy fascinating insects, long hikes, delicious cookies, and finding four leaf clovers.
I come to the CSG from not-too-far-away Edison, NJ. I graduated from Montclair State University in 2010 with a double major in Theater and Anthropology and made my way to the Garden’s Apprenticeship Program following my passions for learning, sustainable living and ways of being and working that honor the beauty and wholeness of the world. I hope you’re enjoying the summer squash that I’ve been harvesting this season!
Hey there! My name is Marisa and I am a 2012 apprentice at The Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm. I’m from Montclair, NJ and graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Literature and in Fine Art. Every summer throughout my college career I would work at my local suburban farmers market, where I just fell in love with vegetables and flowers; the colors and shapes are just so beautiful and stimulating! Upon graduating I knew I wanted to dabble with agriculture and with working on a local, organic farm and am grateful to have been offered the opportunity at Genesis. I have been learning so much about gardening and about myself as well. It is such a wonder to plant a seed, nurture the seedling as matures, and then harvest the fruit, which will, in turn, nurture the health of our CSA members. It sometimes is a bit mind boggling to believe that such a bounty of life and vitality comes from a tiny seed.
September 21, 2012
Happy Autumn to all,
What is going on at the farm? Where are those abundant tomatoes we are so used to getting? The PYO plumb tomatoes? The PYO Cherry Tomatoes?
Why no lettuce/greens in the past couple of pickups?
While some of you know through questions and conversations, it seems that a note of explanation is overdue…
That dreaded late blight that destroyed all the tomatoes in the Northeast in 2009 has reared its ugly head again this year. We had to destroy over sixty percent of the plants that we so carefully nurtured. The journey of growing tomatoes begins the previous year when we save the seeds. In early spring we start the seedlings in tray and as they get bigger we transplant them into pots filled with potting soil that we mix from compost made over time here on the farm, and other amendments. Around 1,500 plants in all. When the weather permits, we prep the beds and lay biodegradable plastic (made of corn), and mulch the paths with hay, grown, harvested and bailed the year before, here on the farm. Next we transplant the potted plants, and as they begin to branch out we prune each plant. We pound stakes in the ground in between every couple of plants and begin the weaving with twine to keep the plants from sprawling all over the ground. This weaving is repeated three or four times as the plants grow and mature. It is an honor to witness this life force so intimately from seed to seedling, flower to fruit. While we are thankful for the tomatoes that did come to fruition this year, we were saddened with an eerie mournful feeling when we had to rip all the twine, pull out all the stakes, and till under rows and rows of tomato plants laden with big green tomatoes.
Our other major challenge this summer has been the deer who decided that this is their own PYO CSA. Mike spent much precious time strengthening and adding wires to our electric fence on “this” side of the road. It seems to have helped in the Top Garden (the fields with the big greenhouse on the other side of the driveway from the distribution center), but on this side The Big Garden, (where the garden-house and orchard are) they are proving difficult to deter. We always knew they loved lettuce and greens, but now we know they love love love radicchio and okra too.
While members experience this as less vegetables in the distribution, I thought it might be of interest to share what these losses mean to us as growers.
Fall is here and we are shifting gears.
At this time 2/3 of the potato harvest is out of the ground and in the root cellar. The winter squash has all been harvested, mostly our usual butternuts, paydon, etc., though we did try a few new ones; Blue Ballet, Carnival, Sunshine, Rugosa. Delicatas are in the shares right now, one of my favorites. The onions have all been harvested as well as the garlic. The big sweet potato harvest is coming soon, we’ll send out an invitation to to join us in the fields. Four and a half 500 foot beds of beets 4 rows each and five 500 foot beds of carrots 4 rows each have been hand weeded and thinned, some for the fall, some for the winter. How many miles is that? This is what the HARVEST FESTIVAL centers around, so please SAVE THE DATE: Sun. OCT 21st. As many of you know this is a special day for all generations. Join us in the beet and/or carrot harvest, an amazing pot luck supper, a bonfire with music and singing, and more.
Field 9 across the road is a magnificent display of many shades of greens. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale, boc choy, tatsoi, arrugula, spinach, mustards, Hakurei turnips, winter turnips, salad and winter radishes, lettuce, and more! Glance to your right as you drive up Silver Lake Rd. from 94, or take a walk and breathe in the view. It is breathtaking.
PYO flowers have added a splash of radiant color to the season, and seem to decorate many of you as you step into the garden and walk out with your picked bouquets. They are starting to wind down, though there are still many bouquets to be picked. Thankfully the deer decided to leave the flowers for us as there were so many other pickings for them.
I can’t end this note without expressing much much grattitude to Chris and his team of volunteers. The new roof at Chan’s is up, with all the details yet to complete. Besides the roof, we also spent time scraping the front porch, pruning and cleaning up around the outside. Lots more to do, and lots of opportunities to help, Chris will keep us posted. Many thanks to Tracy and Andre for the amazing lunch they made from the farm’s harvest. What a treat!
This note has become quite long-winded. Thought you might want to know, after all, you share in the risk of farming as well as the bounty. This is what community is about and for that we are deeply grateful!
See you at the farm,
Smadar (for the CSG)
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June 14, 2012
As the shares have been bountiful, so have the weeds! We all love weeding, but we love it even more when there are many helping hands! Everyone is invited to join us in the weeds this Sat. anytime between 9.00am and noon. We will be on our hands and knees, so you can get really connected to the land! Help free the cabbage and or the onions and experience how satisfying weeding can be! Bring a hat, gloves if you have, and water. RSVP would be helpful.
Thank you Noriko for a wonderful cooking demo and delicious tastings from our spring shares: Vegetable stir fry, Miso soup with vegetables and our wheat berries, Daikon radish sauce, carrots with our farm eggs (her mom used to make as she was growing up in Japan), and rice with small black soy beans. That’s a lot of food in such a short time! At the end everyone got to eat! Yum! Thanks to all who joined us on that rainy Tues. afternoon. It was informative fun and delicious.
Ana Cecere, long time member and chef has offered to do a raw food cooking demo and tasting when the summer bounty is in. Will keep you posted.
It’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it! Much appreciation goes to Chris, Deacon and Ron for getting the roof project at Chan’s started. The plaster is now off the ceiling. Chris will keep us posted as to the next step. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Don’t forget to save Sunday June 24th from 4pm on for our FIRST POTLUCK OF THE SEASON. (No weeding or roofing involved.) More details coming soon.
As always, thanks for being a part of it.
See you at the farm,
Smadar (for the CSG)
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June 9, 2012
Welcome to all our new members, and welcome back to returning members.
There are some quick “Save-the-Date” reminders that we want you to know about ASAP:
- Tuesday, June 12, during pick-up time, Noriko–one of our enthusiastic members who is also a very creative cook–will be sharing her ways with the food that is in the share. This will include a cooking demo. Bring paper and pen, if you wish, as Noriko does not use recipes!
- Sunday, June 24, beginning at 4pm, we will host our first potluck of the year. Bring your friends, bring your family, your good energy and your potluck dish to share. Come meet our community of new and long-term members, farmers, apprentices and friends. Enjoy delicious food, singing around the bonfire, and lots of fun for all generations! Please also bring a plate, cup and utensils, and if you like, blankets and/or lawn chairs. We are excited to offer tastings of what we have available through our “Local Food Source” in the Distribution Center–including wine, cheese, breads, and grass-fed meat. Our members/beekeepers will have a demonstration hive from 4-6pm. Come meet the local artisan producers and find out more about what they have to share! We will send a reminder email in the coming weeks.
- Come join us in the pea patch on Tuesday or Friday mornings. Snack while you pick! We could really use your help. Let us know via email at email@example.com.
- There are some spaces available in our first-ever Farm Camp which runs the week of July 16. Children ages 5-12 will enjoy the farm connection. Spread the word! More info is on our website www.CSGatGenesisFarm.com. Email or call to register.
There are still some Half-Year Shares available. Do you know anyone who may be interested in joining the farm? Bring them by. Thanks!
By the way, we are looking for external-frame backpacks to use with our weed flamer. Got one lying around? We’ll take it off your hands.
Hope everyone’s enjoying the bounty. A member (thank you, Julie) suggested the website www.grouprecipes.com, where you can type in a vegetable and get a collection of recipes. Try it–it looks great!
See you at the farm,
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