Wednesday, March 4, 2015

River Bend Farm Meat Shares

Farm & Fork Society is proud to offer our Spring, Summer and Fall meat shares from River Bend Farm in Peapack, NJ! This offering is available to anyone interested and not exclusively to Farm & Fork Society members. This year we will have three scheduled pick-ups, April, June and November. When you order through Farm & Fork Society, you will receive an additional 10% off.

To order for April delivery, download the River Bend Farm order form here.

Just a reminder that Early Bird pricing for the 2015 season is now over. Commitment form and checks are due May 1. 

River Bend Farm Meat Shares

Angus Beef Sampler includes 40 pounds of beef: 1/3 steaks that may consist of Rib-eye, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Sirloin, Tenderloin and Ranch (Chuck), 1/3 Roasts that may consist of Chuck, Rump, Round, & London Broil and 1/3 Ground Beef. (Reg. $425 - Farm & Fork Society $382.50)

Berkshire Pork Sampler includes 35 pounds of pork that may consist of ham, ham steaks, chops, spare-ribs, bacon, 3 kinds of sausages and a pork shoulder. There will be no Scrapple in the Pork Sampler. (Reg. $275 - Farm & Fork Society $247.50)

Pick-up Schedule 

Friday, April 3, 2015 
Angus Beef Sampler and/or Berkshire Pork Sampler 
Orders due by March 20, 2015
(Pick up location in Short Hills, 11AM - 1 PM)

Friday, June 26, 2015
BBQ Grill Pack (just in time for the 4th of July, exact contents/price to follow soon)
Orders due by June 1, 2015 
(Pick up at Farm & Fork Society in Downtown Millburn)

Friday, November 20, 2015 
Angus Beef and/or Berkshire Pork Sampler
Orders due by October 15, 2015
(Pick up at Farm & Fork Society in Downtown Millburn)

About River Bend Farm

River Bend Farm, Peakpack, NJ, is dedicated to producing healthy, all natural meats. The All-Natural Angus Beef is pasture raised and of superior quality. The animals are raised humanely, with no antibiotics or hormones. The cattle receive a small amount of grain while on pasture to achieve the desirable amount of marbling and tenderness, and in the winter they are fed home-grown grass hay.

Like their beef, River Bend Farm's Berkshire pigs are raised all naturally, on wholesome grains supplemented with an abundance of garden scraps and loads of apples. Berkshire pork is prized for its flavor, tenderness, and juiciness.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Farm & Fork Society 2015 Season Detail and Early Bird Pricing

Welcome to the Farm & Fork Society, 2015 CSA season. If you are a returning member, welcome back! If you are considering becoming a “shareholder”/member, we hope to provide you with vital information that should assist you in making an informed decision.

As a member of the eighth season, you will be joining dozens of families from Millburn-Short Hills, Maplewood-South Orange, Summit, Livingston, and the surrounding area in a vibrant community that supports the sustainable farming activities of local farmers.

New this season is Early Bird pricing for all shares with the exception of cider. Prices are listed below in "Shares Offered" section. Early bird contracts must be received by March 1.  If you would like to pay for Early Bird for one share but are not ready to commit for another, you can add on after March 1. 

The Farm & Fork Society season runs from June 12 through November 20, 2015. Members pick up their shares on Fridays from the Wells Fargo Parking lot located at the corner of Essex Street and Spring Street in downtown Millburn (Behind Bhakti Barn Yoga). Pick up times are from 12 PM to 3 PM.  

All members are expected to volunteer 1 or 2 short shifts per season to assist in the distribution of weekly shares. A volunteer sign-up sheet will be coming your way before the season begins.

Each member is required to pay a $25 membership fee to help cover the costs of running the CSA and any supplies that are needed.

Click here to download your Farm & Fork Society Share Contract. Instructions on where to mail checks and how they should be written out are included on the contract. Please click here to download the CSA Rules and Regulations, please review prior to mailing your contract and check.  The commitment form and checks are needed no later than May 1.

By joining the Farm & Fork Society you reap the rewards of being a member of a community supported agriculture group. Please recognize that there is no guarantee of the exact amount of produce to be received each week. The farm cannot offer refunds, should you be unable to continue through the season. The farms strive to provide us with the highest quality products at a reduced rate from market price throughout the season in exchange for your advanced commitment to the farms. By submitting your contract you are also agreeing to the rules and regulations of the CSA. Full details on rules and regulations can be found on our website. 

We look forward to seeing our long standing members again in the 2015 season as well as welcoming all new Farm & Fork Society members! Our goal is to continue to build a wonderful community within and around our farmer partners while providing healthy and seasonal food to you and your family!

All the best,
Melissa and Wendy

P.S. To keep up-to-date on the Farm & Fork Society:

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Shares Offered
Vegetable Share -- Certified organic vegetable delivery from Circle Brook Farm  in Andover, NJ. The quantity of each week’s share varies. Share produce may include but is not limited to tomatoes, summer and winter squash, garlic, onions, different types lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, beets, eggplant, peppers, swiss chard, beans, herbs, carrots, cabbage, spinach, and more. Usually 5-10 types per week. Vegetable share runs for 24 weeks. $650, Before 3/1 $625

Fruit Share  -- Eco-certified fruit delivery from Breezy Hill Orchard in New York. Weather permitting, shares will include cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries,, peaches, plums, nectarines, rhubarb. apples, pears, and possibly cranberries (from an organic farm in Massachusetts). Fruit share runs for 23 weeks. $345, Before 3/1 $325

Poultry Share -- One whole fresh free range, antibiotic and hormone free chicken (Approx 4 lbs/frozen) from Knoll Krest Farm for 23 weeks. $430, Before 3/1 $410

*Supplemental Shares

Egg Share -- Eggs (pastured, free range, antibiotic and hormone free, organic brown) from Knoll Krest Farm in New York. One dozen a week for 23 weeks. $125, Before 3/1 $115

Pasta Share -- Fresh homemade pasta made with free range, antibiotic and hormone free, organic brown eggs from Knoll Krest Farm in New York. 12 oz per week, a different shape and flavor each week for 23 weeks. $125, Before 3/1 $115

Poultry Half Share -- One whole fresh free range, antibiotic and hormone free chicken (Approx 4 lbs/frozen) from Knoll Krest Farm every other week for 12 weeks. $225, Before 3/1 $215

Cider Share (Fall Season Only, 9/4-11/20)-- Fresh farmhouse cider from  Breezy Hill Orchard for 12 weeks starting September 4. $60

In addition to our above mentioned add-on shares, we offer supplemental shares from other local farmers throughout the season including Vermont organic maple syrup and honey from Green Mountain Maple Sugar Refining Company and a beef and/or pork shares from River Bend Farm.

*You must be a vegetable share, fruit share or poultry full share member to add on any supplemental share.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving 101

The First Thanksgiving 1621 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899).
A Little History

Giving thanks for a bountiful harvest is commonplace in almost all religions and societies; it is quite ancient in origin. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid homage to their gods after a successful harvest. Thanksgiving is also very similar to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. In North America the history of Thanksgiving Day can be traced back to England and the Protestant Reformation. In the United States, Thanksgiving is a national holiday which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November even though it is well past the actual harvest itself. Thanksgiving is also a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada and celebrated on the second Monday of October.

Did you know that in England days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving services were an important aspect of the English Reformation during the reign of Henry the VIII? This was his Protestant answer to the large number of religious holidays that appeared on the Catholic calendar. For a little more history behind the holiday and for information on other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving or have a similar holidays click here

The First Thanksgiving

In 1620 after a rigorous 66 day voyage a small ship called the Mayflower dropped anchor near the tip of present day Cape Cod and it’s passengers were ready to embark on new lives. The English men, women and children aboard this vessel were a group of Puritans and separatists who were seeking a new home where they could practice their faith freely and others were lured by the promise of land ownership and new found wealth. After crossing the Massachusetts Bay the Pilgrims began to establish a new colony at Plymouth. During the first brutal winter many of the colonists remained on board the ship where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and other contagious diseases. Only half of the original 102 passengers survived to see the spring. When they finally moved ashore they were surprised when they met an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. They were soon introduced to other tribes including the Patuxet and the Wampanoag. The Pilgrims along side their Indian teachers, were taught how to cultivate corn, extract maple sap, catch fish and also how to avoid poisonous plants. In 1621 after the first successful corn harvest the Governor at the time, William Bradford, called for a celebratory feast and invited the colonists and their local Native American allies. This first autumn harvest celebration lasted three days.

On the Menu

There is no historical record of the exact fare served at this first Thanksgiving celebration. Edward Winslow who chronicled the event noted that Governor William Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the feast. Wild turkey would have been likely plentiful in the region and was a common food source for the settlers and the Native Americans. It is also possible that the hunting party returned with other birds such as ducks, geese and swan. In lieu of a bread based stuffing, the birds may have been dressed with herbs, onions and nuts for extra flavor. Below is an interesting quote from explaining why people feel so sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal. Surprisingly it is not just the fault of that big ole Turkey!

Did You Know?
Many people report feeling drowsy after eating a Thanksgiving meal. Turkey often gets blamed because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can have a somnolent effect. But studies suggest it’s the carbohydrate-rich sides and desserts that allow tryptophan to enter the brain. In other words, eating turkey without the trimmings could prevent that post-Thanksgiving energy lull.

The pilgrims who attended the first Thanksgiving feast probably got their fair share of meat as well. Winslow reported that the Wampanoag tribe arrived with their offerings which included five deer. Historians theorize that the deer was likely roasted on a spit over a fire and that the venison might have been used to cook up a stew. Culinary historians also believe that this first meal would have consisted of seafood which is not often found on today’s menu. Abundant in New England were mussels and they were often served with curds (a dairy product similar to cottage cheese). Bass, lobster and clams might have been on the table as well. Local vegetables that may have adorned the table would include onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and perhaps peas. Corn was plentiful as well. Corn would not have been eaten on the cob but removed and turned into cornmeal. The cornmeal would be cooked into a porridge that was occasionally sweetened with molasses. Potatoes (mashed or roasted) were certainly not on the first Thanksgiving table. The potato was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards who brought them over from South America in 1570. It had not made it’s way back over to North America at the date of the first Thanksgiving feast! The native inhabitants were known to eat other plant roots like Indian turnips and groundnuts which may or may not have been served. Fruits might have included blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and as we know cranberries! The cranberries would not have been made into sauces or relishes as the Pilgrims had depleted their supply of sugar. This culinary tradition happened about 50 years later! The settlers and the Wampanoag tribe did eat pumpkin and squashes that were indigenous to the area but the colony lacked the butter and wheat flour to make a proper pie crust. The pilgrims improvised by hollowing out a pumpkin and filling it with milk, honey and spices to make a custard and then roasting the pumpkin in hot ashes.

Becoming a National Holiday

The second Thanksgiving in 1623 was in celebration of the end of a long drought that prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and then thanksgiving became an annual or occasional practice in other New England settlements as well and during the American Revolution. In 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States in celebration of the end of the War of Independence and ratification of the US Constitution. In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt a Thanksgiving holiday and each state celebrated it on a different day. In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, began a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Ms. Hale waged her campaign for 36 years sending countless letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally honored her request during the height of the Civil War in 1863. Lincoln issued a proclamation to “heal the wounds of the nation” and a Thanksgiving celebration would be scheduled for the fourth Thursday in November of that year. It remained that way until 1939 when FDR moved the holiday up in order to spur retail sales during the depression. With much opposition, Roosevelt was pressed into signing a bill to make the official date of Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. For additional fun facts about Thanksgiving click here. For more about Thanksgiving traditions and modern Thanksgiving dishes go to this information packed page at from


Thanks for all your submissions! For more recipe ideas check out this great article from the New York Times which highlights Thanksgiving recipes state by state.

Farm & Fork Society Member Recipes 
Cranberry Sauce with Crystallized Ginger
Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce
Overnight Soft Herb Rolls
Parker House Rolls
Foccacia with Roasted Butternut Squash
Spinach Salad with Bosc Pears, Cranberries, Red Onion and Toasted Hazelnuts
Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad
Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pecans
Brussel Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries
Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic and Country Ham
Green Beans with Lemon and Pine Nuts
Homemade Green Bean Casserole
Cumin Carrot Fries
Creamed Carrots
Dreamy Creamed Carrots, Onions and Mushrooms
Cauliflower Gratin
Peas with Lemon, Mint and Scallions
Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Sweet Potato Salad
Honey Glazed Root Vegetables
Strip House Creamed Spinach
Celery Root and Potato Gratin
Classic Mashed Potatoes
Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
Danish Red Cabbage
Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding
Sheet Pan Stuffing with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
Juniper Brine
Roast Turkey with Bourbon Pecan Stuffing
Good Eats Roast Turkey
All Purpose Gravy
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream