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Archive for May, 2009

I’ll be attending sessions on Community Gardens and Green Mapping. Looks like a great day with some very interesting speakers, many of whom are active in NJ community and environmental Issues. I’ll provide some details here next week on the event and any strategies or initiatives coming out of it.

For More Info Go Here

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via NJ Monthly.

A new CSA is forming in the Morristown area reports the The Green Divas.

The season will last from June 18 to November 12th with weekly deliveries to Morristown from the farm in Hardwick.

The Green Divas tell us:

John Krueger is the owner/operator of Starbrite Farm, which has some shares left for this season. He has a BS in environmental science from Cook College and has been farming organically since 2002.

So if you live in the Morristown area and are looking for fresh veggies, show a fellow Rutgers man some love.

Upstream Red Team!

Starbrite Farm
4 Old Orchard Rd.
Hardwick NJ 07825

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La Vida Locavore reports that Rep. Henry Waxman has posted a draft of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009

Our very own Representative Frank Pallone is one of the co-sponsors of the bill.

It doesn’t appear that the bill is overly burdensome for small farmers and producers. For instance, it includes exemptions for farmers that sell direct to consumers and restaurants. However, as Jill Richardson reports, the bill is 120 pages long.

We’ll have to pay attention to ensure equity and regulatory “empathy” for small farmers, producers and those who wish to start a small farm or local food production business.

Jill Richardson at La Vida Locavore is also asking for folks to call or email their congresspeople to ensure that pathogen testing and reporting is enacted as an amendment to the food safety bill. This would require food companies to test for pathogens and report positive findings to the FDA.

A directory of the NJ Congressional Delegation is here: NJ Congressional Delegation Directory

Don’t know your congressional district? Go Here: Find my Congressperson!

We’ll keep an eye out on the bill and let you know what happens.

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Update 5-31-09: Early Jersey Strawberries at Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck

Delicious Orchards had a fair amount of cartons out with Jersey Strawberries. They’re not quite ripe yet or fully in their glory but they are still very yummy. I Served some last night as an appetizer with some bread and cheese.

Quick & Dirty Cheese & Strawberries Appetizers

*Brush slices of a hearty multigrain bread with olive oil – I used a blood orange flavored olive oil in this recipe
*Toast till semi-crispy in a toaster or conventional oven
*Wash & Slice Strawberries
*Slice a Creamy Cheese – for this recipe I used a “Swedish Farmers Cheese” from Delicious Orchards but a Havarti, a Brie, or any other kind of creamy farmers cheese would go nicely. But if you only have a cheddar or blue or something else on hand, feel free to use that.
*Place Cheese on toasted bread slices, surround with freshly sliced Jersey Strawberries
*Yum!

You could also melt the cheese on the toasting bread. Either way it makes a hearty appetizer or nice lunch.

Delicious Orchards
Route 34
Colts Neck NJ

I was at a picnic for a one year old’s birthday celebration in Central Park on Saturday and we had amazingly fresh strawberries with champagne. Karen, the friend of a friend who brought them, bought them at the Union Square Farmers market on Saturday morning. She said they were from NJ and were one of only two fruits in the entire farmers market that day. .

So keep an eye out for Jersey Fresh strawberries – coming soon to a market near you!

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For the past few weekends Diekers farm on Bordentown Road, right at the Sayreville/South Amboy border, has had wonderfully fresh spinach and leeks in. And they even wash and bag the spinach they sell!

A great assortment of fresh flowers and plants are in too. So if you’re out and about this weekend or heading on on the Garden State Parkway after a long weekend stop by Diekers.

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A large part of this blog was created while sitting at Espresso Joe’s on West Front Street in Keyport. It’s a great little locally owned coffee house of the type I’d been looking for since I moved back to NJ at the end of last summer. They have Live Music on Saturday nights, open Mic nights on Wednesday and host an assortment of poetry readings, recitals from kids’ music programs and local photographers work. Excellent music is piped in when live acts are not performing and Ed whips up a mean Chai Tea Latte.

Locals predominate during the week and it’s not unusual to see local shop owners and office workers coming in with their own mugs for a quick refill. Various groups of local residents and municipal workers wander in and out in small groups and chat about the latest goings on. The sandwiches are great and they sell homemade chocolate chip cookies on occasion.

If you sit in the front you can get a great view of Keyport Harbor, even on foggy, rainy, misty days (the kind I like best in early spring). I’ve found Espresso Joe’s provides the right sort of comfy vibe for when I really need to concentrate on writing or editing, or when I just need to focus and pull my thoughts together.

Wireless, good music, excellent Chai and plenty of yummy food to reenergize with. Espresso Joe’s is a great place to think and work. Many thanks to Ed for letting me use it as my virtual office! This blog wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without it!

Espresso Joe’s
50 West Front Street
Keyport, NJ, 07735

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Why Pocket Farms?

The Garden State. To some an oxymoron, but to those of us born and raised here, those of us who have biked, hiked and walked the highways and byways of New Jersey, the richness of New Jersey’s agricultural heritage appears around every bend.

As a kid running and biking through Union County and along the Jersey Shore, roadside stands and small farms appeared around almost every bend. After returning from Minnesota last summer, I was surprised to see Diekers Farm on the Sayreville/South Amboy border still standing wedged up right against the Parkway. With such a warm and late fall last year, they provided me with enough tomatoes to create plenty of sauce to last right through early March. Dieker’s is now a farmland preservation site, so they will be in business for many years to come.

New Jersey fed the growing New York and Philadelphia urban markets for well over two hundred years. Oysters from the Chesapeake Bay were seeded in Keyport Harbor and shipped through Raritan Bay and New York Harbor to restaurants and hotels in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Tomatoes, corn, peaches, blueberries and cranberries thrived in coastal New Jersey’s sandy loamy soil. Chickens and eggs from NJ competed with the large farms of the Delmarva peninsula for access to the Philly and New York markets. Potato farms surrounded the Freehold of Bruce Springsteen’s youth. Dairy farms covered the hills of Sussex County.

In recent years the idea of sustainable and local agriculture and products have grown in peoples consciousness and farmers markets, local farm stands and local produce, fruits meats and fish have become must haves for many families. These changes in consumption patterns and consciousness dovetail nicely with New Jersey’s historic role as the Garden State. Maintaining our historic strengths in agriculture and fisheries is of crucial importance as our competitive advantages in the pharmaceutical industries erodes, as we adjust to restructuring in the financial services industry and with our competitiveness in telecommunications probably gone for good.

Sustainable agriculture depends on local markets and local sources. Bio-regional food systems are based on climate, geography, soil, water and terrain. Despite New Jersey’s intense urbanization and nation-leading population density, agriculture, and more specifically local agriculture, can and should make a comeback as a very significant component of the New Jersey economy.

Pocket Farms and roadside stands are everywhere despite the loss of many acres to houses over the last twenty years. Our intent with the Pocket Farms blog is to raise awareness of local agriculture and local markets in New Jersey. We hope to serve as a clearing house for information on the diverse programs and resources available to NJ farmers and growers. More importantly, we’d like people to think seriously about urban farming and community gardens in their own towns and neighborhoods. No matter how dense your town or neighborhood there’s always room for a nearby market garden or urban farm A farm grows in Brooklyn

Our sidebar will host a robust and growing list of NJ pocket farms and roadside stands. For starters there’s a great Web Page from the State Department of Agriculture that provides a list of roadside farms and stands by county. It also provides a handy Harvest Dates Availability Chart.

We hope that our readers will email their favorites to us and keep us informed of seasonal changes in availability. First sighting of Jersey blueberries, last sighting of Jersey Tomatoes. Let us know what you’re seeing and where.

If you want to guest blog on urban farms, market gardening, NJ Fisheries, or similar topics shoot me an email at pocketfarms@gmail.com

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