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Tomato Mountain Farm

 

Member profile details

First name
Chris
Last name
Covelli
Phone
608-335-1198
City
Brooklyn
State
WI
Logo
Name of Farm
Tomato Mountain Farm
Farm Bio
The name is homage to owner Chris Covelli’s first foray into farming in the ancient Baraboo Mountain Range. Among the mountain cliffs Chris grew tomatoes and built a foundation of knowledge that is still being built upon two decades later. Uncompromising from the start, Chris has always been dedicated to quality first and over the many years Tomato Mountain Farm has garnered a hard-earned reputation for its commitment to craft.

Purchased in 1999, the current site of Tomato Mountain Farm is nestled in the foothills of Brooklyn, Wisconsin. Transitioned from conventional corn and soybean agriculture, its 12 acres were soon producing quality, certified organic vegetables with tomatoes occupying center stage. Tomato Mountain Farm quickly built relationships around Wisconsin and Illinois, selling to farmers’ markets, restaurants, and stores, while also running the farm as a CSA.

After building a great line of jarred products, their year-round home delivery CSA became the center of the farm's attention. There is undoubtedly much that lies ahead for this company, but for now, the view from ‘The Mountain’ suggests the future looks bright.
 

Farm and Contact Information

Name of Farmer(s)
Chris Covelli
Primary Contact Person
Brian Elias
Email of Primary Contact
Phone No(s) of Primary Contact
608-335-1198
Others Associated with the Farm
Sheila Essig, sales rep /delivery driver
Dan Jakes, sales rep /delivery driver,
Physical Address(es) of Farm(s)
N7720 Sandy Hook Rd
Alternate Address, if any (explain)
4257 W Drummond, Chicago IL 60639 (Chicago office and warehouse)
Number of Tillable Acres or Acres in Production
12
Number of Years Farming
20
Business Type
  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
Website Address
Twitter Handle
tomatomountain
Other Social Media?
Instagram - @tomatomountain
 

CSA Information

Number of Years Selling as CSA
6
Number of CSA shares last year/season
380
CSA Share Types
  • Vegetables
Delivery Areas
  • Chicago Loop
  • Chicago North Side
  • Chicago South Side
  • Far West Suburbs
  • Home Delivery (only)
  • Near West Suburbs
  • North Shore Suburbs
  • Northwest Suburbs
  • South Suburbs
Explain "Other" or provide specific communities/neighborhoods served
Our home delivery covers all of the City of Chicago and suburbs North to Mundelein/Lake Forest, West to Hoffman Estates/Wheaton, and South to 135th St.

See our Delivery Zone Map at http://tomatomountain.com/home-delivery-zones.
Are you interested in adding new pickup sites?
No
CSA Seasons
  • Winter (Jan-Mar)
  • Spring (Mar-May)
  • Summer (May/Jun-Oct/Nov)
  • Fall (Oct-Dec)
Describe your CSA Share(s)
Winter season - 6 weeks (delivered bi-weekly)
Mid-January through late March
Don't let the cold weather get you down--our frost-sweetened Winter spinach is one of the best crops we grow all year. Boxes will also include stored root crops, jars of our delicious Whole Roasted Tomatoes, and farm-frozen items such as our pureed butternut squash.

Spring season - 12 weeks
Mid-April through the first week of July
The perfect time of year for lovers of greens (lettuce, kale, chard, bok choi, spinach), with a handful of roots like sweet salad turnips, radishes, beets, and carrots.

Summer season - 12 weeks
Early July through September
The bounty of the main summer season, including a wide variety of tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, summer squash, herbs, and much more.

Fall season
Early Oct through Dec
Includes great greens, including our super-sweet winter spinach, brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi), roots (turnips, beets, carrots, leeks, radishes), and storage crops such as winter squash, potatoes, onions and garlic.
Is any portion of your CSA Share(s) produced on other farms?
No
Other (non-CSA) business from farming
  • Farmers Markets
  • Wholesale (Stores)
  • Wholesale (Restaurants)
  • Value-Added Products
CSA Payment Methods
  • Check
  • Credit/Debit
  • Online
  • Installments
  • Monthly
  • Post-Dated Checks
Do you offer any add-on items from your farm or other farms?
Yes
If Yes, which add-on items do you offer from YOUR farm?
  • Additional Vegetables/Fruits
  • Bulk Quantities for Canning/Preserving
  • Value-Added Items (e.g., Salsa, Soup, Jam)
If Yes above, which add-on items do you offer from OTHER farms?
  • Fruits
  • Honey
  • Eggs
  • Maple Syrup
  • Cheese
  • Grains/Beans
  • Cooking Oil
If you selected Other or any of the above items, please itemize farms, locations, production methods
Eggs are from New Century Farm, certified organic
Honey from Dennanne, located in Elgin - awesome folks, good production methods.
Fruits from Green City Market vendors TBD
Grains from Hazzard Free Farm in Pecatonica
Sunflower oil from Driftless Organics
Other value-added items from Green City Market vendors.
Have you ever had a major crop/livestock loss? How did/would you handle it with your customers?
We had a huge hailstorm in June 2014 that took out a big portion of our tomato crops. We did purchase additional tomatoes from a nearby organic farm to fill out a few weeks of tomato deliveries, but I listed "no" on the question above because we don't expect to have to do that again.

We communicated clearly with customers that we were doing the tomato purchase; we also used our back-stock of canned tomatoes and frozen squash produced on-farm to make sure customers got their money's worth of products. Having a back stock of things like storage crops and frozen items helps us fulfill our obligations.

If all manner of terrible thing happened, we would consider offering full or partial refunds, while requesting members to keep their funds in the farm, with a promise to make it up to them later. We would also probably purchase items from other local farms.
How do you build community between your customers and the farm?
We usually have an annual farm potluck.
 

Farming and Production Practices

Describe your farming practices
We are USDA certified organic by MOSA.
What organizations, if any, monitor or certify your farming practices?
  • USDA Certified Organic
If you indicated USDA Certified Organic, are all of the products in your CSA certified organic?
  • Yes
Describe your pest control practices
We use Integrated pest management. We rotate crops responsibly, choose varieties that are resistant to common pests in our area, avoid planting during times when pest populations are high, maintain catch-crops, plant cover crops in fallow fields, and use mechanical barriers when plants are small. We use National Organic Program compliant organic pesticides when needed, and NOP compliant organic "knockdown" pesticides no more than twice in a growing season.
Describe your weed control practices
Weed pressure is controlled mechanically through light tillage, hand-weeding and flaming.
Describe your efforts to prevent and treat diseases in your crops
Our primary disease pressure resistance measures are to rotate crops responsibly, and plant disease resistant varieties. Our tomatoes are grown in hoophouses to prevent diseases spread by soil splash. We sanitize equipment and flats in between uses to prevent disease spread. Field workers use hand sanitizer and latex gloves before pruning tomatoes. We inoculate many crops with beneficial fungus. We do not "treat" diseases-- plants that show disease are removed from our fields.
Describe your efforts at enhancing fertility
We amend our soil with certified organic compost, peat, composted chicken manure, feather meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal and a NOP approved mineral-organic blend that we design each year based on our soil testing results. We add mineral-organic micro-nutrients only when a recent soil test indicates their deficiency.
Describe your seed/plant start sources and practices (including use/avoidance of GMO seeds)
We purchase our seeds from a limited number of supplies, all who specialize in organic seed, and do not sell GMO seeds. We purchase organic seed when available, and conventional seed when organic is not available, as permitted by the NOP. Our seed purchase and sowing records are meticulously recorded and audited annually by MOSA. We don't purchase any plants.
 

Band of Farmers Pledge

I agree to The Band of Farmers Pledge.
Yes

                            


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