When Sherry Dudas and farmer Jim Kinsel began dating in 1997, he was poised to take his successful Community Supported Agriculture (“CSA”) farm program to the next level. A CSA program is a type of “cooperative,” where a consumer financially commits to a season of produce in advance of the growing season, thus becoming a “member” of the farm. Each week from June to November, members receive a variety of freshly harvested produce which may, depending on the season, include vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruits (including strawberries). Begun in Pennington in 1991 as Watershed Organic Farm, Kinsel’s was the first CSA in NJ operated on certified organic land.
In 1997 Kinsel was just beginning to turn a profit and exploring ways to become more profitable. He knew that in order to increase the number of members he could serve, he needed to increase the acreage he was farming. Dudas’s unique work experience turned out to be exactly what Kinsel needed at that critical time, as she had years of conservation and farmland preservation experience, having worked for Rutgers’ Gardens, the Delaware & Raritan Greenway, Green Acres and the NJ Farmland Preservation Program, where she administered the Right to Farm and Farm Link programs, and had experience matching farmers with available farmland.
After several years of searching for farmland to acquire to expand the CSA program, the couple (who were married in 2007) purchased two permanently preserved farms in Chesterfield Township, where they now live.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is connecting people with the land that nourishes their bodies and souls. We often hear from our members that their weekly farm visits are a treasured time where they can unwind, meet up with friends or family, or use the farm as an outdoor classroom for their children. We are grateful to be able to offer them an opportunity to get fabulous locally grown organic produce at an affordable price and to encourage them to think of the farms as a respite from their otherwise harried lives,” Dudas remarked. “I also love introducing new members to the produce we’ve become renowned for, like our richly flavored heirloom tomatoes.”
Now known as Honey Brook Organic Farm, its members can pick up fresh produce from farm locations in Pennington and Chesterfield, and they also deliver pre-boxed shares of produce to 32 communities throughout NJ and eastern PA. Check out honeybrookorganicfarm.com for more information.
Honey Brook Organic Farm, 260 Wargo Road, Pennington. 258 Crosswicks-Ellisdale Road, Chesterfield. 609-737-8899. www.honeybrookorganicfarm.com. See ad, page 17.