Watch as Farmers Grow

Hemp Flower for CBD at North Slope Farm

August 11th, 2023 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs | Crops Available Now - (Comments Off on Hemp Flower for CBD at North Slope Farm)

Currently we are selling Alpha Explorer CBD Hemp Cannabis Dried Flower. It is a quick growing crop that has already been harvested and cured and is available for purchase at our weekly Farmers Market on Saturdays in West Windsor (9-1). As part of the NJDA Hemp Program regulations, we had to get a lab test done, prior to harvest, to ensure there is limited THC, and you can see below that there are quite a number of active molecules in the Cannabis plant, which is why it is of great interest as a medicinal plant. Different varieties have different concentrations of active qualities, and this is why we are seeking more freedom to grow more varieties, including THC. In the Fall, we will harvest the remaining field plantings of Berry Blossom and Cherry Wine, CBD Cannabis Flower.

North Slope Farm has been trying for over a year to get West Amwell Township to support Agriculture, but the Township Committee has it’s priorities in reverse, fast tracking an energy intensive indoor Cannabis Cultivation operation, while obstructing our proposal for Cannabis Cultivation in the Sun, allowing for passive ventilation and negligible energy consumption. While the State of New Jersey CRC, has given our Cannabis Enterprise, NJ Grow Free llc, a time sensitive “Conditional Approval,” the West Amwell Township Committee has used their lawyer to obstruct and penalize our proposal, rather than supporting agriculture, like the Master Plan instructs them to.

What we have requested is to be “granted authority” from the Municipality to cultivate Cannabis in a Greenhouse. West Amwell Township has a Cannabis Ordinance that allows us to do this, but they are obstructing us by not responding to our request to present our proposal, after insulting us personally when we first requested our due process back in March of 2022, Farmers ask West Amwell Township Committee for Municipal Conditional Approval to use traditional farming practices to cultivate cannabis. – North Slope Farm > Organic Farming in New Jersey.

Unable to pursue the logical profitable crop of Sun Grown Cannabis, we have been forced to accept the less profitable but nearly identical Cannabis crop know as Industrial Hemp, which is regulated by the NJ Department of Agriculture Hemp Program. One of the issues West Amwell Township has regulated, without regard for logic, is a restriction on Greenhouse Grown Cannabis, that the odor is not allowed to be detected within 20 feet of the greenhouse. We have been growing Industrial Hemp for two years now, in the field, and while you periodically can catch a whiff of the flowering plants, it is neither persistent nor offensive. It is logical to support seasonal production of Sun Grown Cannabis on agricultural land, respecting the State and Local laws, while also preserving Farmland Assessment on the farmland not directly dedicated to cannabis. Sungrown Cannabis, grown seasonally (not year round) is appropriate for West Amwell Twp and other rural municipalities in NJ and can provide incentives for Agricultural Investment and modernization. At North Slope Farm we remain committed to seeking ways to support agriculture and the landscape and workers that agriculture can foster.

West Amwell Farm Awarded Conditional Cannabis Cultivation License, From New Jersey.

May 5th, 2023 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on West Amwell Farm Awarded Conditional Cannabis Cultivation License, From New Jersey.)

We are pleased to share that our potential Agricultural Enterprise, NJ Grow Free llc, has been awarded a conditional License for the Cultivation of Cannabis in New Jersey. The condition is that our Municipality grant us local authority. West Amwell Township has a (much amended) Cannabis Land Use Ordinance, and we seek to comply with it. Cannabis is a plant that we’d like to grow, like we grow other plants for sale. The State of New Jersey has processed our application and recognized that we have the potential to be a beneficial contributor to the economic health of New Jersey. Our priority is to build on our strengths, producing high quality products for long established markets. Our situation represents the case of a small farm, being ignored by “Big Agriculture, Local Government, and common sense government.”

North Slope Farm is a New Jersey Department of Agriculture licensed Hemp Grower, and hemp is basically the same plant as Cannabis, with different concentrations of THC. Our application to Cultivate Cannabis must navigate the roadblocks in local government, THEN, once West Amwell grants us Authority to comply with the Ordinance, (which has residual problems relating to invasion of privacy, and unfunded and unqualified review processes), we return to the State of New Jersey, Cannabis Regulatory Commission, to BEGIN the process of establishing COMPLIANCE – where our enterprise will establish protocols, and practices to ensure the safety of the community and maintain strict auditing of our production, so local and State Government can be assured of their TAXES.

Currently we are seeking a legitimate and accountable process to prove our application deserves the support of West Amwell Township, but there is a number of issues that the Township represents, that do not promote agriculture or support small farms, or even legitimate process, which is contrary to the West Amwell Master Plan, which clearly says that cannabis is an agricultural crop, and West Amwell agriculture should be encouraged and supported.

If you have questions, please call Mike, 609-647-9754. Leave a message if you’d like a reply.

West Amwell Township Prohibits Traditional Agricultural Practices to cultivate legal crop

September 20th, 2022 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on West Amwell Township Prohibits Traditional Agricultural Practices to cultivate legal crop)

Regarding Agricultural Opportunity in our Town, and the current prohibition against it.

Under the name “NJ Grow Free llc” my wife and I and another farmer shared our business plan with the Township Committee asking “municipal approval” to apply for a NJ State license, to grow cannabis, using our existing, traditional production practices, augmented with State Law security guidelines and monitoring requirements, this February.

The State of NJ allows Cannabis to be grown by Traditional Farmers, in the Sun, both in greenhouses and in the open air. The State law provides guidance for security, consistent with the Indoor growing that West Amwell Twp currently allows.

The Township Committee ignored us, without offering any justification why a Town whose Master Plan says Agriculture is important, and Cannabis is an Agricultural Crop would be prohibited, while energy intensive indoor production is allowed.

I shared the Master Plan language and page references, for those unaware that our Master Plan clearly states it’s support for Cannabis and Agriculture, at the April 6, 2022 Township Committee meeting, please see the link below.

Township Committee minutes 4/6/22

Members of the committee may not be interested in the new opportunity that legal cannabis cultivation offers, but you should appreciate the significance of the potential to earn more money per unit of crop grown.  Everyone speaks of the decline of agricultural viability, and this is the first obvious potential to actually offer new markets and earning potential.

Right now the Cannabis ordinance is a mess, it contradicts our master plan and promotes energy sucking indoor cultivation as the only way forward.  As a long term, WAT farmer, I need to speak up, that the opportunity for a farmer like me to benefit from this new niche market, is real, and should be actively supported, not ignored.

We would grow one or possibly two successions, on a small scale, within a State Licensed, approved, secured alarmed fenced area, with minimal smell, due to the diffuse nature of natural production, outdoors, using sun for energy.

The crop would be harvested and sold with as little as two months of flowering, so only a brief time would there be smell, or risk of theft.  

All these factors are very different from the indoor, constant intensive yearround production, and excluding traditional farmers because folks are afraid of the unknown is just hurtful to farmers who are trying to promote Agricultural Viability.

The Ag community should know, this Cannabis Ordinance contradicts our master plan, is a bad ordinance, involving a quasi legitimate review process and excludes farmers from planting a legal crop, for no justifiable reason.

The Ordinance can be fixed by replacing the current prohibition of Outdoor Cultivation with, “Outdoor and greenhouse cultivation of Cannabis is permitted following the Guidance of NJ State Law.”

Also to ditch the unfunded, ill advised, extraneous local review process, relying instead on NJ State law, and the simple process of Municipal approval according to an improved Ordinance, and NJ State Licensing and Regulation.

Thanks for your attention to this important opportunity for Traditional Agriculture.  I encourage the committee to seek justification of the current prohibition against Traditional Agricultural Viability, see for yourself if this Cannabis Ordinance “serves to promote Agriculture as a positive contributor to West Amwell’s  economy…”

I can be available, as a long term resident and established farmer of West Amwell, to represent the relevance of this topic, at your convenience.

Mike Rassweiler

NJ Grow Free llc

Farmers ask West Amwell Township Committee for Municipal Conditional Approval to use traditional farming practices to cultivate cannabis.

June 17th, 2022 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on Farmers ask West Amwell Township Committee for Municipal Conditional Approval to use traditional farming practices to cultivate cannabis.)

Below is the exact presentation made to West Amwell Township Committee, after filing a complete proposal, consistent with the requirements of Applying to the State of New Jersey for a Cannabis Cultivation License for a Sun Grown, Traditional Farming operation, in West Amwell, NJ. For more information, please contact Mike at 609-647-9754. Our Proposal is consistent with the West Amwell Master Plan, while the current Land Use Ordinance is in contradiction to the Master Plan, one has to ask, why is this happening? Why would the Township exclude Agriculture from the best chance to encourage investment in Traditional Agricultural Development maybe ever. The Township Committee has made a mistake, and needs to correct it.

Presentation to West Amwell Township March 16, 2022

NJ Grow Free llc; Cannabis Cultivation as Agriculture.

Good evening and thank you for your attention. My name is Michael Rassweiler and I have been a
resident and farm owner / operator in West Amwell Township since 1995. My wife, Colleen and I and
our Co­ owner Scott Morgan formed the Entity NJ Grow Free llc for the purpose of pursuing a
Cannabis Cultivation Approval and State License, to be established on our existing Organic Farm,
located on Rock Road East.

We have submitted to the Township Committee, an information packet to provide details about our
proposed Cultivation Center. With great respect for the difficulty of the Township Authority in managing this new Industry, and as a West Amwell Organic Farmer for over 25 years, I ask for your patience to hear our Proposal, as there are some concerns we have about why Traditional Agriculture seems to be unfairly excluded from the Opportunity.

West Amwell Ordinance 06, 2021 establishes that “the Township supports the safe and appropriate
siting of cannabis related…businesses, including cultivation centers…” The ordinance defines a
Cultivation Center as “a building, structure or Premises used for the cultivation of Cannabis.”
Cannabis, as defined in the ordinance, does not include Hemp. The Ordinance also states that
“There shall be no limit on the number of Cannabis Cultivation Centers,” and, somewhat ironically that, “the look and design of such facilities shall be in keeping with the agricultural nature of the region.”

Cannabis cultivation centers were originally permitted as a conditional use in all Land Use
zones, though our zone RR6 was removed, from that list, except as a micro business, in Ordinance
10, 2021. The decision to remove the opportunity of a property owner, located in a Rural
Residential Zone from receiving conditional permission, is consistent with the Township seeking to
discourage applications, but it should not preclude the Freedom of a Citizen to Apply for a
Variance according to standard Land Use and Zoning Board public Hearing process. Especially when
Ordinance 09 2021 clearly states “ensuring the citizens of the Township of West Amwell are provided
ample opportunity to participate within this new Industry.”

There are other complexities to the situation as defined by the Township Ordinances 06, 09 and 10
2021, but none of them should be considered insurmountable and in the interest of Supporting
Agricultural Opportunity in West Amwell, we respectfully request that the following items be

While the NJ Cannabis law states that no Farmland Assessed Properties shall be licensed to
cultivate Cannabis, there is no reason why an existing farm might not give up its Farmland
Assessment, on a designated area, Pay the Rollback Penalty and have the Area designated for
cannabis cultivation, reassessed as a “Special Use Area Qualification”, thereby protecting the
continued Land Use as Agriculture but yielding the Township a higher Property Tax rate and income. Furthermore, if West Amwell cares about supporting a resident to “participate within this new Industry” it seems logical that this method would be structured without penalties and with the assistance of the Tax Assessor, especially when it ultimately supports Traditional Agricultural Practices.

Additionally confusing, the Township Ordinance after stating that Cannabis is not Hemp, refers to
Permitting Outdoor Cultivation under Special permit for the Cultivation of Hemp. We can only
remind the Township Authority that it is clearly confirming that the Outdoor Production of Hemp,
which in all but the concentration of THC, is the same plant as Cannabis, producing the same smells
and is allowed by the Township and the State of New Jersey. This needs to be taken in context with
the consideration of smells and the prohibition of them. Permitted fields of Industrial Hemp, grown
outdoors is now well established in NJ and surrounding States, and smells from outdoor Cultivation
has not been a problem. The problem with smells from Cultivation are from Indoor, Year-Round
intensive energy and actively ventilated warehouse production, especially those located in close
proximity to residences, and commercial workplaces. The clear recognition of the Township that
outdoor Hemp Production is a permitted use should demonstrate that Outdoor Production of Cannabis
should also be Conditionally Permitted. The State Cannabis Law clearly delineates those
requirements for outdoor cultivation including Secure and Alarmed Fencing, that encloses the
Cultivation Area and does not allow the public to see inside, and the Township Ordinances refer to
the State requirements as inclusive of Township requirements already.

We are not asking the Township Committee to explain these complexities·tonight.

We are asking the Township Committee to recognize that Traditional Agriculture must also be
provided Ample Opportunity to participate within this new Industry. That among the Unlimited
Cultivation permissions there must be representatives like NJ Grow Free that are owned and operated
by long standing local farmers like Colleen, Scott and Myself. We are here tonight to ask for
your Support for Traditional Agriculture, in these matters, and are pleased to answer any questions
you may have.

In the Packet there is a draft letter that we need from the Township Authority, recognizing that NJ
Grow Free has the right of any West Amwell Property owner to follow existing standards of
practice, to request Variances from Land Use Ordinances that are unduly constrictive, allowing for
the involvement of our community and judged by the Boards already formed for this purpose.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Submitted Wednesday March 16, 2022

The Township Committee Minutes approved by the Township Committee for March 16, 2022 and on April 6, 2022, Rassweiler provides WAT Master Plan quotes that demonstrate Cannabis Cultivation is Agriculture and West Amwell should be supporting its Farmers, not telling them to “move to another Town.”

3-16-2022tcm.pdf (

4-6-2022tcm.pdf (

Equipment, Education and Services Cost Sharing Available – NorthJersey RC&D – April 15 deadline.

March 19th, 2021 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on Equipment, Education and Services Cost Sharing Available – NorthJersey RC&D – April 15 deadline.)

Now is the time to Apply for Cost Sharing – from 50 % for new Equipment to 90 % for fencing to protect waterways, as well as cost sharing for Education, cover crop seed and soil testing. While you might not want to spend money on equipment or fencing, it is always worth exploring the opportunities, and this has many benefits.

North Jersey RC&D is offering Grants to Farmers in select regions of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, Click on this text to visit Their Website.

North Slope Farm and NOFA-NJ are encouraging eligible farms to benefit from this opportunity! Contact North Jersey RC&D directly, Bridgett Hilshey or Sam Loscalzo, or or feel free to contact Mike, at NorthSlopeFarm; 609-647-9754, if you are interested in assistance with presenting your Farm Plan.

North Slope Farm and NOFA-NJ are focused on supporting NJ Organic Farms, in any way possible. Education opportunties are good and NOFA-NJ has excellent Training Programming. NOFA-NJ also offers mentorship, and this could include a farm at any stage – New or Established.

New Jersey needs viable, vigerous farms and North Slope Farm and NOFA-NJ believe there is room for Specialist Training – to work with Farmers to access the resources they need. The opportunities North Jersey RC&D for cost sharing are the types of things that can help, but sometimes having extra support to get signed up is helpful. Let us know, we’d like to see Farmers Get Ahead..

609-647-9754 to connect with North Slope Farm – “What’s the Next Step?”

New Farm Ventures

March 3rd, 2021 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs | Events and Workshops | References - (Comments Off on New Farm Ventures)

To get prepared,
to Start and Maintain a Farm..
Look: Find similar examples of what you want to do..
Listen: Be honest about the challenges of which you hear..
Feel: Your Work Experience will become your greatest Asset..

But don’t be afraid to change course, and adjust your expectations. The first 5 years are probably the steepest learning curve.

  • You will learn your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Take Note of Resources,
  • Make efforts to Network,
  • Be aware of your Social Support, like family and friends, be upfront with them about your Vision and Plans, many times the support we need comes from previously unknown connections. The easiest examples being, the people we come to know, and Mentors along the way.

NOFA NJ Journey Person Program

ORGANIC OPEN HOUSE – Last Wednesday of the Month Discussion Topics

Thanks to the Exploring the Small Farm Dream Class 2020, and

Instructor: Jess Niederer

Prepping for the Farmers Market, in the Year of Covid-19

May 15th, 2020 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs | Musings from the Field - (Comments Off on Prepping for the Farmers Market, in the Year of Covid-19)

This Friday, my partner Colleen, and our friend Tami, and I, harvested a lot; hardy greens, Kales, Napa, Collards, Spinach and some Swiss Chard. Yesterday I had harvested Arugula and Micro Greens. We also had a stash of Radishes from a previous harvest.

I am very particular about the Produce rinsing, so that is my Job. Fill the bulk tanks, immerse and agitate the produce, spin it dry, bulk pack it into bio bags, until we package.

Colleen and Tami returned from lunch, garbed themselves in face masks, and packed greens for about 4 hours.

All this is fairly normal, except that the whole time, we were wearing face masks. And both Moms had to get their kids connected and functioning with Virtual School in the morning and another chance to reinforce the need to “do your virtual school work!” while trying to make lunch and get a bite themselves.

Our Farmers Market has taken many steps to accommodate Social Distancing and avoiding crowds. They have posted instructions for a new entrance, allowing a line of cars to wait until being allowed into the parking area. Instructions on customer behaviors – wear a mask, don’t bring kids, don’t loiter chatting, or gather in groups, line up appropriately and don’t take a long time shopping.

Our stand is going to be bare bones – three stations – #1 place your order, #2 here’s your produce, #3 please pay by check, or exact change and Bring your own Pen!

All our produce is going to be $5, or $10 and each unit is already packed. A lot of my customers are going to be unhappy with this, “too much greens” they’ll say. Its true, I’d rather set up the usual display, lots of colors and options, allowing browsing, custom selections and enjoyment of the moment.

But this is serious – we are farmers, and we want to get the food to you. Our customers need access to food, and honestly, if major food distribution systems falter, local Farmers Markets will, all the sudden, be valued by a lot more people. We have no idea how many customers to expect, and want everyone to get a healthy dose, of the high quality, whole foods, we are bringing you. If it seems like too much greens, chop it finer, and add it to more meals. Hearty Greens will keep you Healthy!

As a manager, and as a worker, as a father and a husband, a Brother, I am stressed out, by this Covid-19 crisis. I don’t like to wear a mask, but I believe it is critical to reduce exposure between people. I am a key shopper for my family, and just as I expect the folks who serve me, to be careful of how they act, I too am very careful to protect the food chain that I provide. I already washed my hands, all the time, now I regularly am spritzing diluted bleach solution, and wiping down every time I enter and leave a public space, because if a molecule of virus gets on me, I want to weaken and remove it. Keeping myself – and my family, and my customers – free of Covid-19, is the priority now, and it takes up a lot of time, energy and emotional space.

This Virus Crisis is a wake up call – Nature is in charge here, and anything can happen. Humans have carved wide paths through the Paradise that we’ve been born into, and we are quick to call out that others are wrong and nasty. Everyday, we make decisions about how to be, whether to hoard or to share, whether to help or exclude. You can see the people wearing masks, and making space for others, and know that they are the people who are aware of others, who recognize that their actions matter, and they make up the real strength of a community, struggling with a new challenge.

See you at the market, (if you are the designated shopper), and know that (most likely) I am smiling at you, behind my mask.

NOFA-NJ Strategic Planning Review Process – 2020

April 20th, 2020 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on NOFA-NJ Strategic Planning Review Process – 2020)
NOFA NJ Mission Statement
Brainstorming Priority Programming and Focus for NOFA-NJ January 2020
Priority Topics for NOFA-NJ Board
NOFA-NJ Items to Review, Refine and Pursue
NOFA-NJ Strategic Planning Items – To review, confirm, adjust and pursue

Organic Open House

February 25th, 2020 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on Organic Open House)

Monthly Gatherings at Farmhouse to talk about Organic Farming in New Jersey.

North Slope Farm and NOFA-NJ are hosting this event, to provide our community, a regular space, to come together. We will review Farming over the past month, check in on Journey Person Farmers Reports and Public Postings, and discuss appropriate resources and information to address current and future concerns.

NOFA-NJ is reconstructing our Journey Person Program, to Celebrate New Jersey Organic Farmers, striving to follow high standards of integrity, seeking sustainable and regenerative Agricultural Operations. The Open House will be a time for Mentors and Journey persons to get together, if possible, or connect remotely through a web based platform, that we hope to have in place by the end of 2020.

The Organic Open House is North Slope Farm’s offering to the Community, to come together, to talk about Organic Farming in NJ. The evening will start with the soul of our Intentions – organic food, and brief introductions of attendees. If a special guest, or presentation is prepared, that will be the next focus. The last hour of the evening will be directed to seeking information about how the month has been, Farming in New Jersey, and we will utilize a review of public media postings of Journey Persons and representative samples of New Jersey farmers. We will welcome stories from the field, from attendees, hopefully drawing out the stories from our Farmers, in person.

By focusing on the activity of New Jersey Farmers, we hope to focus ourselves on what is really going on, so we can talk about how to replicate successes and find solutions, to real and perceived limitations. Our success will be measured by the degree we are able to share these stories, highlight valuable resources and celebrate the success of more and more Organic farmers, in New Jersey, every Year! Watch as NOFA-NJ develops a Promotional Platform for NJ Organic Farmers, and support our efforts by becoming a supporting Member of NOFA-NJ.

NOFA-NJ Winter Conference 2019

January 7th, 2019 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on NOFA-NJ Winter Conference 2019)

Organic Farming and Living in NJ

NOFA-NJ Winter Conference 2019

click on Link above or search

Join Great Speakers, and a Great Group of People,

Collaborate, Regenerate and Celebrate!!

Wide variety of Topics,

Register Now!  Be there with us!

Farmer Mike, from North Slope Farm, will be joining Erich Bremer, Program Administrator for NJ Department of Agriculture Organic Certification Program and Independent Organic Inspector, Al Johnson to engage the audience in exploring the Organic Standards for guidance and inspiration, we hope to see you there!