Central New Jersey is home to numerous grocery stores: large chain or local mom and pop, certified organic or not-so-much, we’ve got you covered. With so many alternatives to choose from, health-conscious, budget-minded consumers may find it all a bit overwhelming.
A recent visit with Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm in Pennington made options a little less daunting, and a lot more attractive. We met with Jess to discuss her Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA, for short.
Simply put, CSA customers pay in advance for their fresh produce for the season, and in exchange for this commitment receive three things: convenience, cost, and connection. It’s a win for both the CSA farmer and consumer. A member’s pledge guarantees them a discount all season long – no need to drive from store to store for the best deal on beets – while the farmer has much needed capital to invest in his or her business.
There are three things that make Chickadee Creek’s program exceptional: first, it is “market” based, meaning consumers select what they need, as they need, from several conveniently located farmers’ markets. Loathe lettuce? Cash in on kale. You have the flexibility to please every member of your family. Don’t cook very often? No problem – you can redeem your credits all at once for that summer blowout you’ve been planning. If you are concerned about not using up account dollars, don’t be: unused credits can be applied to next season’s harvest.
Second, Jess offers members a tiered incentive – the more you pay up front, the deeper the discount you receive. It’s a savvy business move on her part, and a smart buy for the consumer. For those of us who can eat our bodyweight in heirloom tomatoes, this is good news.
And third, the sense of community can be immensely satisfying. Neiderer jokes, “market is my day off,” a chance to connect with clients and enjoy the fruits of her labor. CSA members are “loyal no matter the weather.” The latest addition to the family is The Stangl Factory Farmers Market in Flemington, former home of Stangl Pottery. Featuring New Jersey’s last bee hive kilns, it is the perfect setting, marrying old world artistry with fresh, locally-sourced artisanal treats.
Chickadee Creek Farm offers a thoughtfully curated array of produce including: Sweet Corn, Cucumbers, Spinach, Onions, Cabbage, Strawberries, Watermelon, Ginger, the aforementioned Heirloom Tomatoes, and even the “World’s Best Potatoes.” Based upon Jess’ infectious enthusiasm, it would be hard to argue otherwise. But don’t take our word for it.
Watch our exclusive video as she shares an insider tip that will have you turning a new leaf in the kitchen.
Post written by Kim Palumbo
Look for Chickadee Creek Farm at the following area markets:
The Pennington Farmers’ Market, Saturday 9 – 1 (June through October)
The Princeton Farmers’ Market, Thursday 11 – 4 (May through November)
The Rutgers Gardens Farmers’ Market Friday 12 – 5 (May through November)
The Montgomery Farmers’ Market Saturday 9 -1 (June through October)
The Stangl Factory Farmers’ Market Saturday (Year round)