Author Archives: miker
Informal Gathering of Friends, known and new,
we’ll be meeting each Wednesday, from 5-7,
at the Farmhouse, 1701 Linvale-Harbourton Rd (Route 579).
When we are lucky, Musicians will be in attendance…
North Slope Farm will provide samples of our Specialty Herb Infusions,
And a Market Table will be available for purchase of select items,
Our Specialty Herbs, Heirloom Tomato Goodness and Ketchup,
Our Fresh Eggs and Juice and Produce as conditions permit..
If considering joining us, please call ahead of time to confirm!
609-460-4636 – pls leave brief message with number to receive return call.
Summit Farmers Market Letter to Summit Downtown Inc, Fellow Vendors and our Awesome Customers
November 14, 2016
Mike Rassweiler – North Slope Farm
Organic Produce, Flowers and Specialty Herbs
Serving the Summit Downtown Farmers Market Starting in 1998
Over the last ten years North Slope Farm has run an experiential Farmer Training Program –
serving local markets with Organic Produce and Exceptional Local Products!
In 2017 North Slope Farm will retire from the Summit Farmers Market,
focusing closer to home…
We will miss the Summit Market – but we are hopeful the Market will welcome “New” Farmers – building their Farm Business, still developing their products, to best serve our customers.
Kyle and Rita invested themselves in Three Years of Training, at North Slope Farm – focusing on Food Safety – Organic Production – Exceptional Customer Service – and have proven themselves worthy of an opportunity like Serving Summit Shoppers!
Their Operation, Harvest Moon Organic Farm, maintains the scale of production that North Slope has occupied and will dovetail nicely with Existing Vendors and Regular Sales. We believe most vendors will support our encouragement to welcome Harvest Moon Organic Farm, to replace North Slope Farm, for 2017! Please note their info below!
Thank You for a Great Market, and for Supporting Local Agriculture!
Meet the Growers:
We’re Kyle and Rita, a couple of young aspiring farmers who were born and raised in Hillsborough, NJ with a passion for growing healthy, sustainable produce in New Jersey. After apprenticing for three years at North Slope Farm in Lambertville, NJ and with nearly 10 years of farming experience between us, we’ve joined the Incubator program located at Duke Farms in Hillsborough NJ to start our own farm business. We are a diversified organic vegetable farm that offers 60-70 varieties of vegetables including kale, salad mix, Swiss chard, onions, squash, beans, peppers, heirloom tomatoes, even ginger and turmeric. Finishing our second season as Harvest Moon Organic Farm we’ve grown in size from two to four acres of production and gone from one part time employee to 4 full time employees. Our operation markets its products through a small CSA and participates in six farmers markets, Millburn, Sea Bright, Duke Farm to Table, and Asbury Fresh’s Friday, Sunday and Belmar.
Bret Morgan, Founder, Asbury Fresh Farmers Market:
“Kyle, Rita, and the Harvest Moon team have been a pleasure to work with these past few years. Their produce is always top notch and they are always some of the easiest and most pleasant farmers we’ve worked with over our six year history. I particularly respect Harvest Moon’s creativity in crop selection. They continue to grow a good mix of tested crowd favorites along with new and upcoming varieties of crops that really adds a unique element to our market. Each week I look forward to what the have to offer, I know many members of our community are in agreement that Harvest Moon is a huge asset to our market.”
Cara Kent, Market Manager, Asbury Fresh:
“Asbury Fresh was extremely lucky to have Harvest Moon Organics on board with us this season. Kyle and Rita are dedicated people who are wonderful to work with. They have a perfect attendance record and offer a high quality product. They would be an amazing addition to any market.”
Fall Observations; October 4, 2016
As the season changes from Summer to Fall, the Farm Manager takes stock of how it went and what can be accomplished before winter sets in.
We had a busy season, having to put aside our High Tunnel Project in order to get through the other Priority Lists. We were joined by two excellent workers, Sam and Christine, who brought interest and enthusiasm along with hard work and positive focus! Markets went well, matching previous years, despite increasing competition from other new markets and the increasing availability of organic produce from mainstream distributors and therefor, most supermarkets. Production this year seemed to start well, and a number of new items were added to the crop list. Flowers seemed more abundant, but records show production may have been lower than last year. We went into the season knowing increased labor costs would scour any profits, and to date that seems to be borne out, not gonna be a profitable year. The flip side of that reality, is the production utilizing reduced tillage techniques in the field shows real promise and is exemplary of how North Slope Farm is still a leader in applying Stewardship Principles to modern practice. We have maintained production, while reducing overall tillage by a significant amount and are developing a comfort level, with the steps to take, as we move forward. Tree Fruit and Blackberry production was non-existent, though strawberries produced well. Labor costs of managing and picking the berries make me skeptical of their value to us though.
Moving forward – Its all about maintaining income at the markets to try to keep from drowning in uncovered costs. I have encouraged my crew to take advantage of off farm opportunities, as they are available, (for their personal advancement and experience), so the reduced labor time requires increased efficiency in management and production – no time to slack off, even if our natural cycle tells us to get up later, stop work earlier and eat lots of rich foods! We pushed to get a last barrage of outdoor seeding done, to last us through the first hard frosts. Now we need to (kinda late) finish establishing crops in our High Tunnels for Winter Production. Also to generate cash, we need to increase our production of micro greens and are going to attempt regular plantings on Basil in pots to sell at the markets as fresh herbs. This means turning on systems in our Seedling Greenhouse, which will add late season cost we usually avoid. To make it worth it, we need to get the seeding done, maintain moisture, temperature and generally stay on top of successions of production! Likewise we need to push market sales, our service must be excellent, products must be beautifully presented, harvesting and handling must be efficient so we have time to get other improvements and additions attended to! Cover cropping will be reduced this year, in relation to reduced tillage practices. Our Favorable Furrow method provides for the establishment of clover covers during cultivation, which ideally, survive the fallow/pasture season and all fields go into the Winter with established cover. So far this has been working, and I only anticipate chisel plowing and having to cover crop 1 acre of the 8 acres involved in active production and fallow rotation. Additionally, I hope to “tune up” poorly cover cropped areas by broadcasting seed and covering with a compost layer. This may be unrealistic with our reduced labor situation, but as harvest times decrease with the die off of tomatoes and flowers, extra time may open up, just gotta manage workers, tasks and equipment effectively.
Tomato Fight 2016 –
We do not condone violence – in any form – though we acknowledge that LIFE is full of Challenges,
To face challenges we need to be strong, to be strong, we need to strive,
Throwing Rotten Tomatoes at each other, though somewhat violent, seems like a reasonably ok way to strive..
1)Tomatoes should splat.. If they are hard, they should be crushed before throwing, if with Stem – remove stem.
2)Only those who are prepared to be SPLATED, should enter the Tomato Fight Area.
3)No Tomato throwing outside of the tomato fight area. SERIOUSLY
Sunday September 11, 2016
5pm to 6:30 Potluck Dinner and Gathering @ NorthSlopeFarm 386 Rock Road East, West Amwell, NJ 08530
No later than 7pm, probably earlier, all participants will be brought to the Tomato Fight area and Warned..
Wear Shoes , Dont Come back until you are done, and assume you will twist your ankle, get snagged by Brambles,
and Stung by Stinging Nettle !!
Questions? email us at NorthSlopeFarm@comcast.net
All are Welcome – if its your first time – seek out Yellow T-Shirted folks for orientation !
- Wear sneakers, close toed shoes, that you dont mind never wearing again!
- Bring a change of clothes
- bring a towel (swimming pool available for plunging into)
- Introduce yourself to Farm Staff and Friends (wearing Yellow T-Shirts) – ask for Mike, for official welcome..
- Come prepared to relax or strive, or both, enjoy the evening !!
Food Safety Workshop – NOFA-NJ, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension
Hosted at North Slope Farm, farming organically for over twenty years, in the Garden State of New Jersey.
Wednesday September 7 ; 3 pm – 5 pm, followed by discussions, music and refreshments at our Farmstand (1701 Linvale-Harbourton Rd).
EVENT LOCATION: 386 Rock Road East, West Amwell, NJ 08530
Closest intersection – Route 579 and Rock Road East, Between Routes 518 and 31.
PLEASE REGISTER with NOFA-NJ: http://www.nofanj.org/announcements/food-safety-workshop
There will be a presentation of important information for growers and food handlers, followed by a tour of North Slope’s food handling operation, focusing on the topics and questions raised.
Following the event, participants are encouraged to linger and enjoy some live music and light refreshments.
Summer Solstice 2016
North Slope Farm FarmHouse, 1701 Linvale- Harbourton Rd, West Amwell, NJ 08530
June 20 – Monday 7 pm into the night… Got kids? bring em early for a swim, we’ll be probably be there swimming too, take a walk on the farm, down to the pond, check for ticks!
Winter is truly gone now and Summer is Here. Over the Years, The transitions surprise me, as they often have already happened, and are moving on to the next season, before I really know it!
SO we gather, to take a moment in the rush, to honor the Sun, and our relation to it – and we hope you’ll come celebrate this special time with us.
We’ll be chilling by the pool, the grill will be hot for you to throw something on to eat, there will be salads and desserts that the community brings to share.
Bring a blanket, frisbee, lawn chair, enjoy the evening and our shared world – Happy Solstice to ya – Hope to see you there !
Table Top Baby Greens –
MikeR posted 5/1/2016
Photos from Historical FIle
During the downtime, and when the greenhouse is less than full – we’ve flipped the tables, doubled them up and layered in rich growing medium. We seed
heavily, a variety of quick growing greens, and hope for a tasty harvest in two to three weeks.
Click on the photo below to access the photo web site Flickr – depending on your device and Flickr – you can scroll thru the TableTop Baby Greens Album:
North Slope Farm – Plans for 2016
Farm Manager – MikeR
Crew – Colleen, Todd, Jacob, Dan & Two 1st Year Trainees.
(Estimated Full Time Wages: $90,000) (2015: $65,000 incl tax)
Need to generate an extra $30-$40 thousand, in 2016.
- Focus on crops that we could have sold more of – Herbs, Blackberry’s, Strawberries, Asian Pears, Apples, Peaches, Green beans, Tomatoes, Flowers, Micro’s, Seedlings (?), Complete Summary to highlight items we can do better with….
- Expand Sales at Farmstand – Special Focus, with events, Email Newsletter, Visible activity, Beautification and Signs.
- Invest in Production Systems to Increase Production
- Plant more Fruit Trees, Brambles, Strawberries
- Plant High Tunnels with Fruit Trees (Peaches?) – Research and Trials – trees vs brambles vs strawberries
- Develop Dedicated Production Area/System for Micro’s
New Developments to Explore and Test:
- Farmstand: Develop area into child and visitor friendly experience.
- Juicing: Incorporate processing and bottling into the work week.
- Increasing Egg Production: Develop feed production system to reduce cost.
- Expand Speciality Herbs: Dedicate growing areas, Drying, Process and Store in farmhouse.