I get the feeling of serenity, peacefulness and tranquility upon entering the road leading into Coverdale Farm. An institution in my life since I moved to Delaware almost seven years ago, Coverdale farm has evolved from a bucolic setting with a popular farm program to a model for farm sustainability and land conservation and preservation that is becoming ever more important to our community.
The 377-acre farm on Way Road also allows our family to experience our state in a unique way. The open spaces, freshly picked vegetables, and feeling of community have made this Florida girl gradually evolve into a proud Delawarean.
Coverdale Farm is a shared and treasured experience for my husband and me. One program we value most is their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSA provides access to high quality, fresh produce grown by regional farmers right on the grounds of Coverdale Farms. Foods like Napa cabbage, kale, summer squash, Lancelot leeks, tomatoes, lettuce, beets, pumpkins, and other vegetables, fruits and herbs. We visit often to stroll the farm and enjoy the bounty of their local harvest.
The staff at Coverdale Farm continually monitors their farming practices and ensures the food they share with our community through the CSA program are flavorful, abundant, and grown in optimal conditions. Just this month, some of the staff traveled to Quebec and Vermont to learn from some premier farmers on their productive farms.
People who join CSA become “shareholders” in the farm’s fresh produce program. By purchasing full or half shares, members contribute to the sustainability of the farm, providing working capital for the farm’s supplies such as seeds, plants, organic fertilizer and labor.
As part of their regenerative agriculture program, Coverdale has plans to construct a new marketplace and welcome center where CSA members could pick up their produce and other local farms can offer their products. There’s even a possibility that the marketplace will include a farm café.
Their three-year agriculture investment plan also includes a heated and irrigated greenhouse that will extend the growing season for some of the more popular vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
Every spring my husband and I wait eagerly for the first day of CSA farm pickup, which is usually in the first week of June. This year we signed up for a half share, which has been more than sufficient for the two of us.
Every week, I anticipate the vegetables that will be in our share and begin to think about our dinner options. Thanks to the cooking classes presented by the farm manager, Michele Wales, I have learned to make wonderful new recipes with our vegetables.
Cooking classes are free to members of the Delaware Nature Society and the Coverdale CSA. With a membership, you enter a world of fresh, local food, access to camps and programs for children and adults, the ability to pick certain vegetables, herbs and flowers, honey, eggs, (even duck eggs) local breads, cheeses culinary instruction, and more.
New this year, are the food trucks on Wednesdays (11am-2pm) – when one can buy lunch and enjoy a picnic on the farm, listening to the cacophony of farm animals enjoying the sunshine. On Saturday mornings, the farm is open for kids to help with farm chores.
A variety of special events all related to fresh, local food draw people to Coverdale throughout the year. They have Mojitos and The Milky Way coming up on July 20th. And Farm to Fork in September is one of the highlights of our year. The incredible dinner (for about 160 people) is set up on the highest point at the farm. It is an evening of locally grown food drink and camaraderie, under the magical moonlight! There is also a Potluck dinner, Pie contest and a Harvest Festival.
Coverdale Farm is a vital part of our community and is a study in working with the environment to shape the way we think about conservation and food.
It is a part of my life in Delaware and has impacted the way that I think about the relationship between health and quality, fresh, local food. Because of Coverdale Farm, I now view the natural world in harmony with community and with a sense of responsibility to Mother Earth.