Honey Brook Organic Farm’s co-owner Jim Kinsel first began growing crops on 3.5 acres of the non-profit Watershed’s nature reserve in 1991. His partner and wife, Sherry Dudas, joined farm staff in 2003. The farm has grown to more than 60 acres at the Watershed and hundreds of additional acres in Hopewell Township and in Chesterfield, New Jersey. More than 3,000 families purchase shares of the produce from the farm each year.
In the Honey Brook Farm’s recent newsletter, Kinsel and Dudas said they are now excited to announce that the seat of their Hopewell farming activities will be moving from the Wargo Road location to the preserved farm they manage for Dr. and Mrs. Bhanwarlal Chowdhury on the corner of Pennington-Rocky Hill and Elm Ridge Roads, beginning in the 2021 season. This farm is one and a half miles from the Wargo Road farm and closer to Pennington.
Kinsel and Dudas have managed this farm organically for more than ten years and occasionally over those years have offered limited pick-your-own crops to Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership. The Chowdhurys’ farmland is especially suited for growing watermelon, pumpkins, winter squash, broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower, and Kensel and Dudas expect minimal damage from deer or crows on that farm. They say the Chowdhurys are very excited and pleased to host CSA members on their farm!
A pioneer of organic farming and the Community Supported Agriculture model in New Jersey, Honey Brook Organic Farm has provided healthy produce for tens of thousands of families over the years, while helping them learn about the origins of their food, and demonstrating environmentally-sustainable farming practices. The farm also has provided an important educational platform for thousands of children, adults and campers from the Watershed.
“For 30 years, Honey Brook Organic Farm has demonstrated that organic farming can be successful financially, while maintaining strict environmental protections,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of The Watershed Institute. “We congratulate and thank Jim and Sherry for their leadership.”
In 2008, Kinsel and Dudas received the Edmund W. Stiles Award for Environmental Leadership, the Watershed’s highest award.
“We are grateful for The Watershed Institute’s confidence in and support of our stewardship of this land for the past three decades and we continue to be grateful for the support of our CSA members for enabling us to pursue our passion for organic farming,” Kinsel said
Watershed Institute benefactor Muriel Gardiner Buttinger purchased the Wargo Road farm in the early 1980s from the Wargo family and donated it to the Watershed in order to create a “model organic farm.” The farm was known as the Watershed Organic Farm until the name was changed in the early 2000s. Honey Brook Organic Farm was one of the first operating organic farms in New Jersey, and is the oldest certified organic CSA program in the Garden State.
Kinsel and Dudas purchased farmland in Chesterfield, New Jersey in 2007 to expand their operations into Burlington County. For over a decade, they also rented farmland in Hopewell Township from the Chowdhurys, which is enrolled in the State’s Farmland Preservation Program. Kinsel and Dudas not only will consolidate their farming activities to three farms by exercising a provision in their contract with the Watershed to terminate the farm lease, but to also devote more time exploring ways their farmland can be a resource for carbon sequestration projects.
Kinsel and Dudas concluded their newsletter announcement as follows:
“We have been most gratified to nourish the thousands of member-supporters over the past thirty years at the Wargo Road farm. Many of you have pleasant memories of the farm, perhaps from watching your kids grow up climbing the popular magnolia tree in the picnic grove, or relieving stress by picking your own flowers, herbs or tomatoes or simply chatting with your fellow members in the Distribution Center. You have encouraged us during times of weather and Covid-19-related stress and let us know how important your farm visits were to you and your family. We are extremely grateful for and humbled by your support and look forward to continuing to serve you and are eager to see you “somewhere over the rainbow”! “
For more information regarding Honey Brook Organic Farm, see honeybrookorganicfarm.com.
This article was compiled from the Honey Brook Organic Farm newsletter and from press submitted by the Watershed Institute. Feature photo is from Honey Brook Organic Farm’s newsletter, the photo of Sherry Dudas was submitted with the press release by the Watershed Institute.