Spinella Farm

  (Waterford Works, New Jersey)
Life on a 100-year-old market farm
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Thoughts for Monday, June 2, 2014

We managed again to do very well at the market on Saturday. Next week we start the CSA and I am looking forward to seeing all of my old and new members.

We lucked out in that the weather broke in time to get plenty of strawberries and asparagus for the market on Saturday. The berries were the first pick of a new patch and they fetched a premium price. It's nice to hear customers tell you that you have the nicest produce in the market. Only one person grumbled about the price of the asparagus which I thought was more reasonable than the strawberries!

We hilled the potatoes on Saturday afternoon after market. It is the first time with our new ridgers and they worked out great once we got the hang of it. It sure beats the old method of doing it by grub hoe.

The mornings have been quite chilly the last few days. Yesterday and today we woke up to readings of 48 and 51. By midmorning the temps start to pick up and soon it is warm but not too hot, getting into the low 70s. We are just about finished putting in drip lines for the irrigation so that will be a big lift.

We started to cut garlic scapes which means the plants are in the home stretch in terms of being bulb ready. I was surprised how many people at the market on Saturday knew what to do with a garlic scape. Then there was a person who told me she cooks for living and had never seen them before! It just goes to show how big and wonderful the world of food really is. That's why I like to discover things that most people have never seen and grow them for market. 

 
 

Thoughts for Thursday, May 8, 2014

New chefs are like new parents. They want all the best for their restaurant and go out of their way to tell you so. They're going to use local fruits and vegetables. They're going to be sustainable and they are going to save the local farmer from extinction. Then reality hits.

Don't get me wrong.We have a number of dedicated chefs to the cause. But most of the time, a well-meaning chef loses his enthusiasm once a couple of realities set in:

1. Local food can be more expensive to purchase then wholesaled stuff from a purveyor. Farmers, like myself, deliver their product fresh. If we wanted to be paid cheaply we'd go to market with it.

2. Some fruits and vegetables need to be cooked more than one or two ways because they can be available for much of the growing season. It takes a leap of faith to challenge your clientele to leave their comfort zone which for most is food served fried or baked.

3. Preparation can take time and time is money when a cook's help has to clean the fresh stuff and get it ready for service.

The reason I wrote this is because I just delivered product to a new chef who told me all the things I wanted to hear. Will he be true to his word? Time will tell. But I'm not holding my breath. If I had a $1 for every chef or cook who told me that they were buying local and serving it as the focal point of their menu and did not, I'd be out of the farming business and comfortably at poolside during the summer. 

 
 
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