Sunday, February 20, 2011

Become a friend of Farmer Jon's, join our Produce Club now!

Welcome to Farmer Jon's new blog!  Farmer Jon's Produce (in Selkirk, NY, about 15 minutes from Albany on 9W) provides an enormous variety of sustainable vegetables, herbs and flowers, as well as eggs, pork, and even grains to three local farmers markets (in Delmar, Vorheesville & Albany) during the growing season.  Farmer Jon has come up with a new, innovative and affordable way to structure his first ever CSA!

With Jon's "Produce Club Punch Card" system, members can buy a less expensive share of fresh produce from the farm this season, that can be redeemed starting in June - you choose your vegetables and the amount you want to spend each week! There is a listing below of all the vegetables Jon will be growing, but first let's tell you about the Produce Club.

We'll start with a BONUS!  Jon is offering a bonus $20 Produce Gift Card if you sign up for his CSA by March 21, the first day of Spring. Here's how it works: The Produce Club Punch Cards come in $112 increments.  Farmer Jon has an additional built-in bonus system that gives you an extra $12 in produce for every $100 card purchase.  4 cards must be purchased at one time and new members who sign up by March 21 will receive the $20 Produce Gift Card (for each $400 share) that Farmer Jon encourages you to share with a friend or family member in a collaborative effort to support this small sustainable farm.  That's $468 worth of produce - or about 15% worth, free!  You can purchase 4 cards for your family or split the share easily with others.  At an average of just $20 per week, that's much less than some other CSAs.  You choose how much to spend any given week, how flexible is that?  Having a dinner party?  Get a whole box full of vegetables.  On vacation?  You won't have to arrange a special pick up of your share, and it won't go to waste.  The Produce Cards are redeemable at three area farmers markets (listed below).

There are only 20 spots left available for this year, so please email farmerjon at mhcable dot com before March 21 if you're interested!  If you use up your cards mid-season, shareholders can purchase additional cards in $100 increments (+ $12 in free produce).

Farmer Jon's Produce is available at:
  • Delmar Farmers Market at the Bethlehem Middle School, Saturdays 9am-1pm (June - Dec)
  • Voorheesville Farmers Market on Rt 85 at the United Methodist Church, Fridays 3:30-6:30pm (July-Oct)
  • Jewish Community Center Farmers Market on Whitehall Road, Thursdays from 3-6pm (June-Sept)
  • Jon's Farmstand on 9W and Wemple Rd. (always open, pay by the honor system; Produce Cards can be used at the farmstand when it is staffed, Jon's hoping to find someone to work it a few days a week!)

Although not certified organic, Farmer Jon employs a combination of traditional farming methods and modern organic farming practices like crop rotation to break the cycle of pests and weeds, and recycling gleaned produce for compost that contributes to soil resilience, both of which create balanced soil nutrition and healthier plants that survive most pest disturbances.  In absolute emergencies of potential crop contamination and loss, Jon uses only organic sprays and techniques that he says every farmer must use from time to time to deter pests. Due to his diligent crop care, his fields haven't been sprayed in more than 2 years.  He get his seeds (some heirloom, no GMO) from FedCo, Johnny Selected and Harris Seeds.  Jon has been farming since he was in high school - he's a lifer, and he cares what you eat. When you join his CSA this year, you can feel confident you're supporting a carefully run farm.

Check out the amazing array of farm fresh products Farmer Jon's Produce is offering this year!

Spring: Asparagus
Spring, Summer and Fall: Arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chinese greens, cucumber, green onions, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, radishes, salad greens and mixes, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, zucchini, fresh herbs and flowers (lots of sunflowers every year!)
Spring and Fall: Peas, spinach 
Summer: Garlic, raspberries
Summer/Fall: Eggs, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, edamame, eggplant, green beans, hot peppers, leeks, okra, potatoes, sweet peppers, cornmeal
Fall: Turkeys, brussels sprouts, collards, parsnips, pumpkins, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash
All Year:  Pastured Pork, firewood, hay and straw

Visiting Jon's stand at the Farmers Market is a family affair!
I'm Britin, a friend of the farm.  My husband and I are bakers and we got to know Farmer Jon last year at the Saturday Delmar Farmer's Market as we traded our breads for his produce throughout the season.  After asking Jon some initial questions about his growing practices, we fed our family with his vegetables all year, confident we were getting our daily foods from a farmer who cares what he puts in his soils, on his plants and on his customer's dinner plates.  We've gotten to know our farmer, and we now know more about our food!  How about that?  The adage works.

Earlier this week, Caroline Gable of WKTV in Utica reported "With farm numbers decreasing statewide, area farmers continue to struggle".  I have the same romantic visions many people do of living/working on farm, but sitting in my attic at my desk, pondering the plight of farmers, I am immune to the daily, grueling routine they must endure so that our family may not only simply enjoy the fruits of their labors, but reap the benefit of robust health Farmers work so hard to provide us.  NOW (Winter) is when we all need to be investing in our local farmers!  Trust me, when you make your CSA payment this winter, you'll be overcome with romantic visions of sinking your teeth into Farmer Jon's sweet summer corn!

Get to know Jon Audietis with me this year as we chronicle the adventures of one NY Farmer.  As we continue through the growing season, you can expect we'll get right down to the real nitty gritty with more pictures and stories illustrating what it takes to farm here.  I suggest you sign up for Jon's CSA now to secure your spot and become a friend of Farmer Jon's, like me!

Hold on, Spring IS coming!  And so are tasty, sustainably grown tomatoes, broccoli, greens, peppers, garlic.....mmm,  now I'm daydreaming of locally sourced, delicious summer dinners!

A friend of Farmer Jon's,
Britin Foster
(All Good Bakers, Albany's Community Supported Bakery
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