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Haddon Heights, New Jersey, United States

Monday, July 6, 2009

It was a beautiful morning for a walk on the farm

One of the best parts about being a chef is getting to meet the people that produce the food I get to cook with. I've been really lucky to work with some great people and for about 2 years now I been working with Kim Batton from the 1895 Organic Farm in Lumberton NJ.

Well this morning I took a drive out to the farm to meet some fellow chefs about a project that I'll tell you about later.

It was a beautiful morning and I got to the farm a little before 9am and started walking around. I don't think people really realize how lucky we are to live so close to farms that really care about what they do. Kim has a small farm that she works basically by herself-- planting, weeding and picking 7 days a week from mid march to late October. She's able to produce enough organic vegetable to supply several restaurants including Elements, her own farm stand, her stand at the farmer's market in Moorestown and a Shop Rite in Marlton--- and I thought I worked a lot. Now I'm not talking about just a couple different crops, it's everything from strawberries in the spring to pumpkins in the fall, with everything you could want in between.

Now a days most people no what it's like to get fresh vegetables at a road side stand or at the local farmers market and don't get me wrong these are all great. But to go to the farm and pick them right out of the ground is just plain amazing. I've had farmers bring me stuff straight to the restaurant that was "just picked", but when you bend down and pull a beet out of the earth it's like it almost has a heart beat. Now I don't want this to turn into a discussion about the vegetarian vs carnivore or anything close to that. I'm just trying to say when you pull a beet out of the ground and bite into it and the juice leaps out of it like it was shot out of a hose-- that's fresh. Remember I'm talking about a beet not an orange or strawberry, things you think of having a lot of juice but a beet.

With the over abundance of rain in southern NJ and the abnormally low temperatures we've had the farms haven't been producing like the normally do. We've had about a week of basically dry time and they say the thermometer will be near 90' by Sunday so I'm hoping for a telephone call from kim and the farmers saying "Fred it's time, come get the vege's by the case".

In the mean time hope for good growing weather for the farmers and--

Here's a couple of random shots of the farm. I'll had more in the future when I remember to bring a real camera.

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