829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Salad Days

My family and I are members of a local Community
Supported Agriculture program at
Honey Brook Organic Farm in Pennington, New Jersey.

For a few hundred bucks a year, we get weekly shares of
incredibly fresh, organic, and local vegetables and herbs
from May through October. Vegetables that are harvested
 are separated into bins and displayed in the farm shed (above).
  There you learn your allotments for that week..There are
 pick-ups seven days a week, it's so popular.  We've
 got Sunday morning, which sort of forces us to get up
 early if we want to sail that day!

We actually have an individual membership, but still
come home with a ton of stuff.  We've only just begun.

Sometimes they give us a choice of two items.
This morning was either a bunch of gorgeous
scallions, or a bunch of these super breakfast
radishes.  Which do you think I chose?

Early in the season, we get alot of lettuce  like red leaf,
bibb, red bibb, and then other greens like arugula, spinach,
chard, collards, kale, and bok choy to name a few.

Fennel.  My mouth is watering.  Sliced paper thin and
added to salad,  sliced in 1/2 inch discs and
then drizzled with olive oil and roasted until browned.
Even the fronds lend flavor to any dish, and look cool to boot.

Some of the U-pick items include snow peas.  You need
to train your eyes to detect the pods, because they so handily
blend in with the leaves and vines.  I eat the large pods when
I come upon them so as not to waste the time of the pickers
after me.  No doubt they would leave them to become
tough and stringy.  They can all thank me later.

In the super-heated wind that washed over us on Sunday,
my wife and I persevered and managed to pick the absolute
last strawberries of the Jersey strawberry season.  No need
to venture out in those patches again this year. They gone.
I must admit, I'm proud of myself for sweating my butt off
and searching out every last berry.  Twenty years ago, I 
would have said, "U-pick?", Nah...YOU pick.  I eat.
It's amazing how patient I've become with certain things.
24 years, remember?  Didn't get there by accident. 

We ended up with a gallon (4 quarts) of strawberries.
Our prescribed amount was supposed to be 6 qts,
but the ones rotting on the plants were not making the
trip home with us.  Can you guess what we're having
for dessert tonight?


  1. Nice post. Didn't get the chance to make the oysters this weekend, work got in the way (I hate that). But we do have a nice patch of basil that is waiting for the right time. I really do like the idea of your community farm.


  2. One thing I miss a lot are Jersey tomatoes.

    The clever genetic scientists at UC Davis have managed to engineer a tomato that will not roll off of a tomato truck, and will bounce harmlessly, even if it does.

    But golfballs will do the same thing and taste better.

  3. Steve: I've gotta believe that you get many opportunities to get really fresh, local oysters during your travels. Just keep the oyster knife handy. And the glove if you're not so adept.

    O Dock: I miss you a lot and I never met you.
    Funny, but I prefer the tomatoes from rt. 539 going to and from the boat, grown in the sandier soil, to the ones grown totally organically at Honey Brook. We Jersey guys are particular about the tomatoes. And corn. Lots more to come on that topic. Promise.

  4. Wonderful. Wish we had that here. We do have farmers markets where you can talk to the people growing the food. Well, and our neighbors are mostly farmers. But not so many organic farms - yet.

    Word Verif: goistr - a gentile oyster

  5. Goi vey. That's their problem. They're all too gentile. They don't feit bach.

  6. Something gourmet-ish, like strawberry-rhubarb crostini?

    Or was it a classic strawberry shortcake, with barely-sweetened, freshly-whipped cream?

  7. Just plain old strawberries with whipped cream. All 3 quarts of them. (the fourth went to our backyard neighbors) We did have a little help from one of my daughter's friends.

  8. Are the strawberries already finished back home?! Mine are only just beginning to flower here in Scotland... and when they are ready, they rarely ever make it to the table. They just go straight down the gullet! In University, when I worked on an organic farm in VT I got an ulcerated mouth/tongue from eating too many strawberries and tomatoes ALL DAY LONG. Wow, those were good days. The broccoli raab in my allotment has just come into leaf and I have had some tonight sauteed with oyster sauce and garlic. Delish! I bought the seeds in the covered market in Little Italy in the Bronx a few years ago and it now just self-sows if you let it go to seed. Look out for it next time to are in the city. xxx La-de-da (...Thunbergia, Lobelia and Digitalis, la-de-da)

  9. Wait a second.. vegetables...swans...sailing.. What's going on here, are we going to see a post about basil?

  10. Kate: An ulcerated mouth/tongue? That sounds uncomfortable. I think you got one of those at your sister-in-law's bridal shower too! What time does it get dark over there these days? I love oyster sauce. Amoy brand in our local asian grocer. La-de-da..Don't forget the foxglove too! Love, me.

    Joe: You never know. I get hungry at the weirdest times. I may actually do something on sailing again as well.

  11. You know I nearly mentioned eating all the strawberries at the bridal shower all those years ago, but didn't think you'd remember. Clearly I made an impression with my frugivory even at age 8.

    It's starting to get dark here around 10:00 PM...but by the soltice it will be 11:00 before dusk comes. This is the nice time of year...winter is horrendously dark.

    The oyster sauce I use is a Thai brand (written all in Thai) but I believe it is called "MaeKrua." It's the only one I could find at the Asian grocer without MSG.

    Yes, of course foxglove too... sorry, I've upgraded to it's Latin name - Digitalis to be consistent with the others which are Latin. I'm botany-geeking out now...time to go back to writing my thesis. K xxx