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.
The “Greens and Beans” page was created as a space to share nutrition information and recipe ideas for the bounty of life giving plants foods that we grow and make available to our community. It is for individuals who are interested in cooking and eating with the seasons.
An Unexpected Reaction To Carrot Soup
It reminded me so much of a traditional sweet potato dish that I loved to cook during my years in Sub Saharan Africa. I was unexpectedly transported back to that coziest of places next to the cooking fire, preparing my evening meal. Comforted by the sounds of neighboring families drumming, dancing, singing, chatting about the day and relaxing for the first time since just before sunrise. This is what I experienced after just one bite of carrot soup.
Each bite of soup brought on an additional wave of memories. Happy moments woven into the difficult, yet soul-satisfying daily life of a subsistence farmer, in a small village, in Africa. Most villagers (myself included) found hope, joy, warmth and comfort each night around the fire. Bellies full and satiated further by song, dance, fire and community. All matter of pain and suffering were dissolved into the night. And at the peak of my carrot soup induced trance, I am quite sure I proposed marriage to the chef.
We served up our carrot soup alongside: Basil Mashed Potatoes, Basil Pesto with Brown Rice, Corn and Beans, Mixed Greens Salad with Tomato and Parsley and Basil Lemonade.
Carrot Soup Recipe
Recipe details to be updated, but for now here is a sneak peak at the flavors involved.
Onion, Carrots, Peanut Butter, Soy Sauce, Hot Pepper, Basil, Cooking Oil.
Really the recipe will be posted just in time for our fall carrot harvest.
Let’s Talk Nutrition
Carrots are one of the best sources of carotene, a substance that is converted by the body into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for proper vision, especially night vision. Carrots also provide fiber, calcium, potassium and other trace minerals.
1 cup of cooked carrots (fresh carrots not frozen or canned) contains:
Calcium 48mg, Carbohydrates 16g, Protein 2g, Fat 0.1g, Calories 70g, Phosphorus 47mg, Iron 1mg, Potassium 354mg, Sodium 103mg, Vitamin A38,300 (IU), Ascorbic Acid 4mg, Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin <1mg.
Accept all of what this brilliant root has to offer by not peeling. Wash the carrots well but try your best to keep every good bit for your soup pot. To retain maximum amount of nutrients, you can steam your unpeeled carrots and top with chopped herbs, either butter or olive oil and a little sea salt.
You can also try raw carrots cut into sticks for snacks or appetizers (they make great dippers), shredded carrots go well on salads. My favorite is grated beets, carrots and fennel with citrus sesame dressing. You can find the dressing and salad recipes at Thesuppersprogram.org.
As fall approaches we can talk more about roasting root vegetables which a another delicious option for carrots. Carrot and parsley juice is refreshing and energizing any time of year but everything serves our bodies best when eaten in season.
The Next “Greens and Beans” Cooking Club meeting will be Thursday September 9th. For more information or to RSVP please call 609-647-9769.
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!!
The NOFAsummer conference in Amherst, MA was inspiring. We started the journey with a three hour field salad harvest at 6am with our friend Ryan, who used to work at Cherry Grove Organic Farm. After the harvest we began the drive up to the summer conference. We arrived just in time to make a two mile bike ride to U Mass and hear Bill MacKently, from St. Lawerence Nurseries, talk about alternative energy on the farm. He was enthusiastically spreading do-it-yourself construction of renewable energy sources. Saturday morning started off with Robert Fuqua describing how a 4 cycle engine works, repair techniques, and where to get parts. Next stop was Agroforestry in the Northeast taught by Conor Steadman and Mia Frank. This was a great introduction to permaculture. Small fruit on a organic farm, by Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge, went into production techniques for blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, grapes, currants, and elderberries. After the workshop we got an amazing tour of Hampshire College CSA. They didn’t have a weed in sight! Saturday night consisted of finding a guitar case for Sam in a dumpster, riding a moped around a corn field, and meeting more friendly people that are into sustainable ways to approach life. Sunday morning started off with Potato Culture, by Bryan O’Hara of Farms at Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon, CT. This peaked my intrest in potato growing. I stayed for his next lecture on winter production techniques. He explained cost effective ways of extending your season in the field, and how to direct seed crops in December for an early harvest in spring. After the conference we drove to Battleboro, Vermont. We stayed at Harvest Hill Farm where we fed their four pigs and took a walk through their vegetable and herb garden. It was an a amazing time. Sam and I left Ryan at his home, a converted chicken shack, and headed back to NJ with a culture for Kumbucha while listening to Tilth.
Tomato Fight – words have so many meanings…
Our intent is Fun, Celebration and Sharing – space, time…
Our 4th annual, the Tomato Fight began many thousands of years ago, September 12, 2010 will be one more in the history of tomato pickers, family and friends, around the world.
Party starting at 6 pm – Tomato fight begins before Dusk.
Nomad Pizza will be there serving their specialities – Pizza, More Fun, Serious Perspective and Playful Insight…
There will be T-Shirts ($12 each), and a contribution box.
Bring a change of clothes, swimsuits optional, BYOBeverage.
If you want your farm recognized “officially” please bring a few buckets (at least) of Soft Tomatoes. Ultimately, the vision of farms, sponsoring teams (with tomatoes) has been shaping. To date, the rules are:
Soft Tomatoes Only – with stems removed.
Tomatoes are not intended to Hurt – but YES to SPLAT!
Stay in the Tomato Fight Area, as designated by “Hey You, get back to where the other crazy people are!”
Don’t go into the Fight Area unless you are prepared to be Splatted by Tomatoes. Wear Shoes and Assume You Will Get Hurt !
If new to the event, please introduce yourself, the t-shirt Table near the Pizza Truck will be a good place.
Questions? Please email NorthSlopeFarm@comcast.net with TF2010 in the Subject line.
The “Greens and Beans” Page was created as a space to share recipes, nutrition information and hopefully inspiration to friends, family and community members who would like to incorporate these life-giving foods we grow into their diets.
KALE for BREAKFAST
We start our kale in the spring after the threat of a hard frost passes. This cooler climate seems to keep the plants happy and the leaves tender, crispy and sweet. Although kale hangs on through the hotter, dryer summer months, it grows best in the cool crisp autumn air. Like most vegetables in the brassica family, kale is sweetened by a touch of frost. Some call it the perfect fall crop.
Kale was our very first “Vegetable of the Week” for our “Greens and Beans” cooking club. Below are some suggestions based on our night in the kitchen with kale.
There were four or five recipes we trialed at that meeting and the results gave us some tips to share.
Most of us agreed that if kale has just recently come into your life, you should start off with a recipe in which the kale is cooked. Steamed, blanched or in a stir fry. You can transition to raw salads and even juicing if you become a true kale “junky” like myself. We also noticed that our favorite recipes included lemon juice, olive oil and a touch of sea salt.
1 bunch kale (lacinato or red russian) chopped
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil
2 tablespoons water
Heat oil in a pan on med/high heat, add garlic and saut’e for 1 minute, now add kale and 2tbs. of water (to prevent sticking) and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
This basic recipe is delicious on it’s own. You could also try adding one of the following to the basic recipe:
1) Fresh juice of 1/2 lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
2) 2 tablespoons balsamic vinager, 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup feta cheese.
3) Try adding 1 cup sliced mushrooms and 2 tablespoons tamari to the saut’e pan at the same time you add the garlic. OR
4) Add 1/2 cup chopped kale to your omelet or scrabbled aggs in the morning.
It was during a nutrition course I took that I first started really paying attetntion to how my body (and mind for that matter) responds to different foods. I discovered I am a “greens girl” through and through. How do I know? Try keeping a journal or log of what you eat and how you feel before and after each meal, snack, drink and dessert. It is time consuming but even if you track just a few days you will discover something. Over time you will be able to adjust your diet resulting in increased energy, mental clarity, digestive wellness and overall optimal health. (*Learn more about keeping a food/mood log this fall/winter at our Suppers meetings. For more information go to thesuppersprograms.org)
Here is what I found out about kale:
Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K (1328%DV), vitamin A (354%DV), vitamin C (89%DV) and manganese(27%DV). It is also a very good source of dietary fiber (3g/1cup cooked), copper(10%), calcium(9%DV), vitamin B6(9%DV), iron(6%DV), potassium (8%DV), lutein and the phytochemicals sulphurophane and indoles which research suggest may protect against cancer.
These percentages are based on the average person ages 4 and older consuming a 2000calorie diet. Remember that we are all biologically individual and amounts may vary based on our indivudual needs.
As a “greens girl”, I eat kale for breakfast. Try it!
(*Just a reminder that none of the information found on the “Greens and Beans” page is medical advise. For that you should always visit witha medical professional.)