Jersey tomato, potato crops threatened by ‘blight’ disease found at five NJ farms
By Kelly Johnson and Nicole Mulvaney
Hopewell Township–Organic farmer Jess Niederer is terrified of late blight, a destructive disease specific to tomatoes and potatoes that was recently discovered on five farms in the state. She knows the fast-spreading disease has the potential to wipe out her crop of tomatoes at Chickadee Creek Farms, and she also knows the first case of blight in New Jersey this year was discovered in Mercer County.
“Cherry tomatoes were my No. 2 seller last year,” Niederer said. Her crops were struck with the disease last year, but it was late enough in the season to spare her from losing a significant amount of money.
This season, the first case of late blight in the state was confirmed in Mercer on an organic farm in late June, said Meredith Melendez, agriculture coordinator for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County. Four other cases were confirmed on farms in Salem County this week, said Andy Wyenandt, a vegetable pathology specialist for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
We are sincerely thankful for our members and customers who saw us through a great 2012 growing season. We will be at the Stangl Factory Farmers Market through December, and otherwise we’ll see you at the 2013 markets! CSA sign-ups for 2013 are now open.
For local organic farmer, there’s no place like home
By R. Kurt Osenlund With her new business, Chickadee Creek Farm, Pennington farmer Jess Niederer is growing fruits, flowers and vegetables on her old stomping grounds.
When Jess Niederer decided to take the natural resource management and ecology education she received from Cornell University and redirect it into “something with a more tangible benefit,” where she could “interact with people” and “provide them with something,” she didn’t need to look very far. Born and raised in Hopewell Township, Jess grew up on an 80-acre farm on Titus Mill Road, where her father, Steve, still grows crops to this day. Six acres of it is now Chickadee Creek Farm, the independent, organic farming business Jess founded in March. Read the complete article here.