It was a perfect morning, blue skies and sun shining bright when I visited Harvest Moon with Christine Tartaglia, the Farm Store Manager. As we drove around the farm the scenery was breathtaking with rolling hills, gardens, and orchards – it was all so inviting. Christine was the perfect host as she enthusiastically explained the lay of the land to me. You’d never know that she’s only been at the farm just over a year – she seemed to know about everything that was going on and considering how many things were going on, that’s no small task. The farm, once known as The Outhouse Orchards was purchased by the Covino family about five years ago though they’ve only been operating it in full for about a year and a half. Expansion began straight away with the addition of chickens, berry fields, and fruit trees. The farm store is a blast from the past with rows and rows of jams and locally made delights. Harvest Moon is definitely worth visiting. The kids will love the petting zoo and ice cream shop while Mom & Dad can stock up on locally grown produce and other yummy edibles.
Name of Farm
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
How long has the farm been in the family (history of the farm)
The farm was purchased by the Cavino family 5 years ago. At that time and for a few years after that, it was known as The Outhouse Orchards. The Cavino family has a background in tree farming which they still do on the property today along with many, many other things.
How many acres are on the farm?
There are about 64 acres on the farm. Last years we were farming on about 20 acres and this year we cleared a lot more land and have planted more fruit trees and berry patches.
What do you grow?
We grow a lot of heirloom tomato varieties like Ava Purple, Big Beef, Early Girl and Sun Gold. We also grow 2 different types of cucumbers, heirloom zucchini and other squash, lettuce, eggplant, and several varieties of peppers.
How has the farm changed over the years?
We’ve expanded a lot and have plans over the next five years to expand even more. We’re adding fruit trees and berry bushes. We’ve added chickens for eggs too. We”re clearing, expanding and growing all the time.
Where do you sell your produce?
We only sell in our Farm Store right now. In the future though we may be able to sell in the markets.
Do you participate in CSA and/or farmer’s market?
We do, its our first year and we have about 20 members. We already have a waiting list for next year.
Tell us about your most successful season?
Apple picking is the height of our year. It starts late August and goes until the end of October. Of course, its totally dependent on the weather – last year we had beautiful weather and that was great! We have thousands of people coming per day. We put on a festival over the weekends with pumpkin picking, food, hay rides, pies and donuts – it’s really a good time.
What was your hardest season and why?
The hardest season for us is July and August, its quiet as far as people visiting. That’s one of the reasons we planted all the berries and fruit trees so we have more to offer during these months.
What is your favorite thing to grow or raise, and why?
I don’t really grow because I’m in the store but I think apples are a favorite of Kevin’s – he’s the Farm Manager (and owners son). Some days he walks into the office saying how happy is becasue the apples look so good. He goes out after hours just checking the apples, he’ll stay out in the orchards for hours checking each tree – he really loves the apples.
Is there a lesson that you’ve learned farming that you might apply to life?
You become very in tune with the seasons being on the farm. You realize that to eat fresh and locally you have to eat with the seasons. You learn to work with the rhythms of nature much more when you’re on the farm.
Do you have a favorite recipe from the farm that you’d like to share?
This is a great Covino family recipe. You dice up one or two tomatoes, one cucumber, half a red onion and toss it all in a bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper. It’s a perfect, easy, refreshing summer salad.