Box Contents – Holiday Harvest Week 4, 2017

Box Contents – Holiday Harvest Week 4, 2017

Holiday Harvest Week 4, 2017: December 21, 2017

Thursday Classic Harvest Boxes

Ultimate Box Family Box Essential Box
Apple Cider Apple Cider Apple Cider
Granny Smith Apples Granny Smith Apples Granny Smith Apples
Fuji Apples Fuji Apples Fuji Apples
Arugula (Greenhouse) Arugula (Greenhouse) Arugula (Greenhouse)
Basil (Greenhouse) Basil (Greenhouse) Basil (Greenhouse)
Pinto Beans Pinto Beans Pinto Beans
Broccoli Cabbage Carrots
Cabbage Carrots Peppers (Greenhouse)
Carrots & Parsnips Fennel (Greenhouse) Potatoes
Fennel (Greenhouse) Peppers (Greenhouse) Popcorn
Peppers & Hot Peppers (GH) Potatoes Radishes
Potatoes Popcorn Butternut Squash
Popcorn Radishes *Bonus Tomatoes*
Radishes Butternut Squash *Bonus Tomatoes*
*Bonus Tomatoes* (GH)

Thursday Jersey Fresh Necessities Boxes

Ultimate Box Family Box Essential Box
Apple Cider Apple Cider Apple Cider
Granny Smith Apples Granny Smith Apples Granny Smith Apples
Fuji Apples Fuji Apples Fuji Apples
Basil (Greenhouse) Basil (Greenhouse) Basil (Greenhouse)
Beans Beans Beans
Broccoli Cabbage Cabbage
Carrots Peppers (Greenhouse) Peppers (Greenhouse)
Peppers (Greenhouse) Potatoes Potatoes
Popcorn Tomatoes (Greenhouse) Butternut Squash
Potatoes Butternut Squash *Bonus Tomatoes* (GH)
Tomatoes (Greenhouse) *Bonus Tomatoes* (GH)
Butternut Squash
*Bonus Tomatoes* (GH)
Please note that from time to time you may receive different items in your box than what is on the list. This is due to the natural growing process and at times we may experience shortages of specific produce, and may have substituted the items for other produce.

KurtDeskSmChristmas and Holidays, 2017 by Farmer Kurt

It is very interesting. Everywhere I go people are always asking: “Are you resting now?” Most folks think that farming ends when it gets cold and then starts again when it is warm…meaning that farmers have little to do during the off season and get a long period to relax. This is far from the reality of local agriculture in New Jersey today. Yes, the days are shorter, there are less team members to actively manage, work load pressure is reduced, and there is even time for everyone to take a vacation from work. Yet, the reality is that farming is a year-round event here at Alstede Farms.

We currently have 26 year-round full-time staff members on our team here at the farm…and that doesn’t include our children. As you might expect repairs and maintenance, animal care, and grounds keeping are all year-round tasks that require constant attention. In fact, this part of our team is always ready to go 24/7. For instance, we must always be prepared to respond to snow, to heating issues in our buildings and greenhouses, to adverse weather, and to unexpected breakdowns of our equipment and trucks. No matter what time of the day or night, and what day of the week it is, we always have someone on call prepared to address any issue that may arise. This constant preparedness reminds me of our wedding night back in 1997 so I will diverge for a moment…

Barbara and I were married on Friday evening, January 18, 1997. It was an extremely cold night meaning it was going down to the single digits. We were married in the Congregational Church here in Chester and I had always wanted to drive to church on my wedding day in our Model T Ford. So just before dusk my father, two brothers, and my best man crammed into the old Model T and off we drove from the farm to town. It was really cold and there were no sides on the car. My youngest brother continually reminded us about how cold it was all the way over to the church; perhaps he thought that somehow talking, or in his case complaining, about it would make us all warmer. But it didn’t. Once on site we welcomed the warmth of the sanctuary and our guests and we enjoyed a wonderful ceremony. Upon completion we braved a bunch of cold pictures outside on one of our farm tractors, an antique fire engine from the Fire Company, and in front of our historic church. We celebrated our union afterward with a reception on our church hall and had a wonderful time. Just as we were wrapping up my pager went off. This wasn’t my fire pager, rather this was my farm pager. Mind you this was before the days of cell phones so we used a pager. One of the things connected to my pager was our greenhouse cold temperature alarm…and sure enough on my wedding night as we wrapped up our reception the greenhouse alarm went off indicating that the heat had gone out. We didn’t have the size team working with us then as we do now so who do you think was on call for emergencies that night? You are correct…the new Groom. So off I went with my best man to fix the heat in the greenhouse while my brothers and farmer friends all made sure that Barbara understood that this was an appropriate welcome to farm life. Fortunately, it was a quick fix and our wedding festivities continued into the evening afterwards and this story has now become a favorite of ours.

As I mentioned earlier our farming is now essentially year-round. Even now just days before Christmas we are actively harvesting vegetables from our greenhouses and we just made a fresh batch of apple cider yesterday. These were activities that we unheard of years ago. We are also busy building two new high tunnels that will be in service this spring. With high tunnels and heated greenhouses we are now growing and harvesting crops here in Chester nearly all year long. That means that there is always work going on! Tree fruit and small fruit has also created a variety of “off season” work. Just this week we were applying compost to our high bush blueberries. In January we will start pruning our apple trees with raspberries and peaches to follow. We are also making some improvements to our physical farm this winter as we return long abandoned farmland back into production and improve our deer fencing and irrigation infrastructure to support this additional land.

Administratively we are full speed as the end of the calendar year also marks the end of our farm fiscal year. We are actively making year end purchases of necessary supplies and farm inputs so that our accountant and Uncle Sam are appropriately pleased with our balance sheet at year end. Over the years wrapping up the end of our business year has become an increasingly bigger task that keeps me quite busy through New Year’s Day.

Winter time is also education time for all of us on the farm. We all attend specialized trade shows and conferences where we view new equipment, meet with various vendors, network with regional colleagues, and participate in educational sessions that help us hone our skills. My conference schedule this winter includes the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting, the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference, the New Jersey Agricultural Convention, and a special outing to Germany for Fruchtwelt am Bodensee; a biannual fruit growers conference that showcases up and coming equipment and resources in Europe that we don’t always see here right away in the USA.

In spite of all this busyness, we do look forward to a little time off to spend with our families, recharge, and relax a bit. The older I get the more that I realize that I need a recharging period. Perhaps it is wisdom that is teaching me to slow for a period of time…or perhaps it is age. Either way, I enjoy it!

I would be remiss if I did not reflect back upon the many successes that we were blessed with on our farm this past year and recognize the role that God plays in making everything work. You have all heard me tell you before that the more I farm, the more I marvel at the wonders of His creation. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone that supports our family farm, and each of you, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and all of God’s wonderful blessings this New Year!

Culinary Expert Jenn“Food For Thought” by Jennifer Borealo

By the time you pick up this share we will be in the middle of the week where we cook and bake more than any other time of the year. As the kitchen manager in charge of most of the meals we have to look at what can be made ahead and what has to be prepared last minute. Most recipes have a point where you can stop, store in some way and continue to cook for a short time before serving. I like to have some recipes started just in case I have that unexpected company so that is my plan in the next few days. So much food and I will be feeling a little guilty and a little full and this share is not just about the one holiday dinner, it is about a few days of food preparation. I am including a recipe for Potato Arugula Salad that lightens up the menu a bit. I almost always keep some boiled or roasted potatoes in the refrigerator making meal prep just a little quicker. Emily Fredrix Goodman posted a recipe for Potato Latkes that she prepared with eggs. They look fabulous and that menu would work for almost any meal however at the moment I am thinking great for a breakfast guest! Last week at fresh discoveries we used Jennifer Neiderhoffer’s recipe for an event at the farm. It was for Potato Kuglettes that are similar but baked in a muffin pan. We used a traditional size pan and lined the bottom with parchment, the recipe is available on the web-site. I think a little lower in fat and baked in the oven so not so much “on time” either way, they are both favorites! Joanne Jaeger posted a recipe for Chicken with Cranberry Beans that I am including in the packet this week. This looks like it could be a great recipe to serve on the night before a holiday when we are so busy. Beans can always be prepared in advance, the chicken and the sauce can be prepared and kept separately and then put together and simmered to blend flavors and complete the chicken preparation. Looks like a very satisfying meal! Keep in mind that beans/legumes should be a part of our everyday diet. It may be a part of your “good health” plan for 2018. Beans will keep in a cool dry place in a jar or plastic container for months so they do not have to be prepared now. I am writing this letter on the second to last night of Hanukah and I am hoping it was a very joyful time for all of you! I am also sending out Merry Christmas wishes to all as well. May the New Year be happy and healthy and bring you back to us in the spring again! I am hoping that most of you have already signed up for next year, taking advantage of the special offers available. I know that you are also aware of the work that will go on in your absence. Believe it or not, it has already started. I have been thinking that this year we really are saying so-long, not good-bye. We can keep in touch through Facebook. You can always send me an e-mail, and you can keep an eye on our Fresh Discoveries classes and plan to join us for one or more. We have a few events on the calendar already so check the web-site. Last but not least, remember that our farm store is open every day and we would love to see you. Until we meet again enjoy the freshness and take good care.