Special Projects are how we allow for interests and opportunities that fall outside our set practices. Individual trainees can design their own special projects or like with our Poultry Project, the farm manager might define a production effort as a special project until it proves itself over time. Winter Production and ‘TableTop Greens’ are other examples of this.
Author Archives: miker
Infrastructure is another element that is tied into all the others. Nothing would happen without the infrastructure the 1. ties us all together and 2. allows us the energy and resources to feed production systems. The time we all spend talking about how investments in Infrastructure can be designed to feed agricultural systems is what will lead to sustainable societies.
The difference between a fresh product and an excellent fresh product is Handling. The niche that local agriculture can fill is to produce quality products close to the market, THEN handle them professionally and their customers will be back each week! Here in lies the greatest challenge for small scale operations – washing, cooling, packaging and distribution. To handle these issues professionally takes investment in infrastructure, expense that only pays off with large scale production.
Greenhouses are here to stay, and in our urban state, it seems likely that the future will include a greater and greater percentage of production in controlled climates. Detail oriented managers will find great success in the greenhouse. It is definately less forgiving than the outside environment. Our greenhouses provide us with the opportunity to produce our seedlings, provide winter shelter for livestock, increasingly we are looking to increase winter production and generally a nice place to be on a sunny December day!
We have a number of tractors and small engine driven implements like a ‘walk behind’ mower and rototiller. The second year of Training is when we introduce our workers to these power tools. As workers develop their skill and interest they are encouraged to “be the one the gets the job done!” Equipment at North Slope Farm has never been our greatest strength but we strive to provide trainees with multiple opportunities to experience the power, danger and effectiveness of the combustion engine and its ‘Power Take Off.”
Crop Care is always on the Task List. There is always some way we can care for our crops. Weeding is one of those tasks that we hope to outgrow but still invest many worker hours, especially on closely spaced crops like carrots and salad mix. This element also includes irrigation, trellising, mulching and pest control.
Compost is a critical component of our Organic Management System. We add compost to the soil to counterbalance the damage done to soil structure by tillage. Our observation of soil structure at North Slope Farm is that even soil with an organic matter content of 5%, regularly tilled soil does not have strong bonds. Our permanent raised beds have around 8% organic matter and they do show significantly improved soil structure despite regular tillage.
Farm Manager, Mike Rassweiler seeks to keep the Administration simple and accessable. Primary data collection is all pen and paper, transfered to summary format at the end of the season. Administration is the back drop for all other activities, the better we do here, the better our business will be.
NOFA-NJ Twilight meeting at North Slope Farm .
Tuesday, October 26th at 5 pm.
At ‘The Farmhouse’ at North Slope Farm, 1701 Route 579, 08530
located on corner of Route 579 (b/w Routes 518 and 31) and Rock Road East.
Twilight Meeting to focus on a few of New Jerseys ‘New Agricultural Enterprises, featuring their operators, discussing the season with North Slope Farm’s owner/operator, Mike Rassweiler.
Also see www.nofanj.org for more events – and become a member!!