New Jersey is known as the garden state, and predictably, they have a lot of great stuff going on as far as gardens and farms go. Farming is one of their most prominent industries, focusing on potatoes, tomatoes, and peaches. Here are some of the best of the best community supported agriculture programs we found in New Jersey.
1. Catalpa Ridge Farm
Catalpa Ridge Farm’s CSA is in its 19th year. They deliver to Mahwah, Franklin, and Hoboken, as well as the employee cafeteria at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. Members are encouraged to participate in farm events such as helping with harvest or attending the annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting in Hoboken each summer. Each week, members get a newsletter with recipe ideas for their weekly harvest. An example of the variety in their baskets from 2013 can be found here.
2. Genesis Farm
Since 1988, the Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm has provided an opportunity for a community of people to take responsibility for supporting a farm. They practice many forms of stewardship, utilizing compost, cover crops, crop rotation, biodiversity, and seed saving. They also have a kids’ farm camp in the summer to give the next generation hands-on farm experience.
3. Good Tree Farm
Good Tree Farm prides itself on offering a variety of price points so they are affordable for people in many situations. They also ship their produce so that those who can’t visit the farm still have access to organic local produce. They manually control weeds, encouraging customers to volunteer and be involved in the care of their plants. Good Tree utilizes beneficial insects and naturally pest-resistant strains of heirloom produce in order to minimize bug damage. They have strong values and objectives that revolve around fresh, sustainable produce.
4. Honey Brook Organic
Honey Brook Organic Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program started in 1991 with 3.5 rented acres and fifty members. It has now grown to include 350 acres (some rented and some owned) and over 4,000 members. Owners Jim Kinsel and Sherry Dudas have demonstrated that it is possible to farm successfully by employing environmentally sound and sustainable production techniques, providing the highest quality organic produce at a reasonable price, providing safe working conditions, comfortable housing and livable wages to the people working on the farm, preserving the genetic diversity of food crops, and providing members with a healthy, sustainable connection to the farm where their food is grown.
5. JAH’S Creation
JAH’S Creation Organic Farm is out to prove that it’s possible to provide a continual flow of fresh organic produce year round. Their CSA covers a chunk of southern New Jersey and the farm also grows for numerous local restaurants and grocers. JAH’S CSA items are all exclusively from their fields, which yield over 150 crop varieties annually.
John Krueger of Circle Brook Farm provides produce for many New Jersey CSAs, one of which is the Westfield Area CSA. This is one of the only single-farmer certified organic farms in this part of New Jersey, and Kreuger’s large membership of many CSAs allows him to grow an exceptionally large variety of produce. CSA members are always welcome to visit and get to know the farm and farmer, and get to help out on pea picking days and other harvest events.
7. Z food Farm
If you want variety, Z Food Farm is a great place to look! They attempt to grow over 350 varieties of produce every year. Z’s mission is to promote food as a powerful cultural force for interacting with the environment and in our communities by providing high quality and flavorful vegetables, herbs, and fruits.
Z food Farm is located on land leased from Cherry Grove Farm, a dairy that makes farmstead cheeses and raises pasture animals. This farm also leases land to another CSA, Cherry Grove Organic. Obviously this land does some wonderful stuff! In Fall 2014 Cherry Grove was looking to start a cheese CSA with a local wine shop, so look out for that!
These are just some of the awesome CSAs that New Jersey has to offer. There are lots of others, so be sure to check out what options for local produce are in your area!