RESIDENTIAL / FOOD

The USDA supports the local food movement. They state: "Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing."

Three local options in the Maplewood/South Orange area are the Purple Dragon Coop, the Highlands Harvest Club CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and the Maplewood Farmer's Market.

Purple Dragon is a Co-op.  Purple Dragon works with a network of small family farmers growing food nearby in the safest and most healthful ways possible. Their farmers raise blueberries, asparagus, lettuces, mushrooms, cooking greens, peas, green beans, onions, squashes of every variety, and tomatoes. They provide apples, cherries, peaches, plums, pears and nectarines. More distant farms provide citrus, bananas and vegetables in the off-season.  Most of their produce is certified organic, some is IPM (use integrated pest management principles), and occasionally, Certified Naturally Grown.

Highlands Harvest Club is a CSA.  Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA), is a system where families purchase a share in a particular farm’s yearly produce.  The farm then provides its CSA customers with weekly allotments of the freshest, most wholesome herbs and vegetables.  "You’ve heard of the benefits of buying local – now we’re offering you a great way to enjoy fruits and vegetables grown right here in Chester and have the opportunity to make an investment in these locally grown foods, which in turn helps to keep New Jersey green!

The Purple Dragon Coop and the Highlands Harvest CSA take delivery in Maplewood and South Orange, respectively.

The Maplewood Farmer's Market is on Springfield Avenue at Indiana Street.  It takes place on Mondays from 2:00-7:00 p.m. from July through October.  In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, you can find a variety of cheeses, olives, baked breads and goods, pickles, flowers, and more.