Posted by: csacrownheights | May 14, 2009

Our May 2009 Visit to Farmer Fred!

Our group shot with Fred -- kneeling on the bottom left.
Our group shot with Fred — kneeling on the bottom left.

Well, our group of 12 CSA members braved 4+ hours of NYC/Long Island traffic, but we made it out to Sang Lee Farms on Saturday and got the grand tour with Farmer Fred!

Our future bags of CSA veggies are definitely off to a great start — Fred’s many greenhouses are chock full of green, leafy goodness, from herbs and lettuce to baby peppers, tomatoes and more. Like us Brooklynites, the seedlings don’t like the cold, rainy weather we’ve been getting so much of this spring, and Fred hasn’t yet been able to transplant everything to his 23 acres of farm. So some of our first veggies will come from the hothouses, with the rest coming right from the ground — like the asparagus!

Inside one of Fred's greenhouses

Inside one of Fred's greenhouses


That’s right — Fred grows his own asparagus! And for many of us, our very favorite part of the visit was when Fred snapped off a few stalks for us and let us have a taste — amazingly fresh, crisp and sweet! We learned that it takes 3 years for asparagus to produce — the plants grow up into a tall, fern-like plant (like in this photo), and when it matures, it sends up new shoots, which we very happily ate! Don’t worry, it will be coming to your CSA box soon!

The lone asparagus plant -- they need to be spaced quite far apart to grow

The lone asparagus plant -- they need to be planted about 3 ft apart to grow

Besides enjoying the fresh air and the lush green of Fred’s land, we also got a lot of info about Fred’s farming philosophy and organic approach to growing. After being a conventional farmer for many years, he said he decided he no longer wanted to subject his plants — or himself and his children — to sprays and chemicals. Now he follows strict NOFA certification rules (the state’s organic certifying body), and uses rotation and crop covers to nurture and build up his soils.

Thanks to Fred and his family for a great experience! Below are some other blog posts and Sang Lee links to check out!

* Another account of the farm visit on CSA member Cathy Erway’s blog, Not Eating Out in NY.

* You can see video of Fred showing off his farm in a video on Our Northport Video Blog (he’s a minute or two into the video)

* Read more about what it means to be certified organic on NOFA-NY website (Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York)


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