CRANFORD, NJ - Two years after launching Just Farmed, a community supported agriculture (CSA) program that delivers farm-fresh produce to your door, Westfield mom and founder Meredith Lehman is expanding its delivery area this year and adding more delivery options, so customers can choose to get a box of fresh fruits and vegetables from more than 60 farms weekly or every-other week.
"We can't wait to begin our third season with an expanded delivery route so more families in New Jersey can benefit from eating local and fresh,” said Lehman.
Just Farmed works with sustainable farms in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to bring in-season produce to customers fast — within 24 to 48 hours of picking, in most cases. The fruits and veggies arrive in reusable boxes chilled by ice mats during a time window of the customer’s choosing.
As a mom, Lehman makes sure that the wide variety of produce in her boxes appeal to people of all ages.
“Just Farmed can make eating healthy foods fun for kids. When they look through a Crop Box, they're often amazed at the size, shape and colors of the produce,” she said. “And when they help prepare a delicious pizza made with fresh ingredients, they're excited to eat it too. They might even get more adventurous about trying new things."
With produce coming from so many sources—many of which are certified organic—Just Farmed is able to include seven to nine varieties of fruits and vegetables of the highest quality in its boxes each week.
“Our box is always a culinary tasting. For example, we don’t just do red bell peppers for 10 weeks in a row. We do as many peppers as are available,” she said. This spring, customers can expect such treats as garlic scapes, ramps, peas, beans, asparagus, spinach and summer squash as well as melons, peaches, plums and nectarines. Eventually, in the fall, apples and pears will join the mix, too.
Also included in each box are tips and recipes that make it easy to use several of the items in each box together. Additional printable recipes are available online at their website, JustFarmed.com.
Delivery for the 2015 season will begin during the first week in May and continue through the first half of December. Participants pay $35 each week for a box designed to feed a small family. Group deliveries are also available. Customers may opt out during weeks that they won’t be home, and there’s no fee to cancel. To sign up, click here.
Here, Lehman shares a recipe for her favorite spring pizza, one of the many recipes she’ll share with customers this season.
Mushroom, Spring Onion, Garlic and Basil Pizza
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
• 1/2 medium spring onion or several small spring onions, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 (10-ounce) baked thin pizza crust
• 1 cup marinara sauce
• 1/4 cup sliced, reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes OR fresh tomatoes, sliced in ¼ inch rounds
• 4 ounces shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup) and ¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until tender and most of the liquid evaporates, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and remove from the heat. Place the rolled pizza crust on a baking sheet. Spread the sauce over the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with the mushroom mixture and tomatoes. Sprinkle with the cheeses. Bake until the crust is crisp and the cheese is nicely melted, about 13 minutes.