Watch as Farmers Grow

Monthly Summary – May 2014

January 23rd, 2023 | Posted by Anna B in Administration | Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – May 2014)

Monthly Summary– May 2014

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by Anna Blank

General Observations: Despite a few challenges, including cold temperatures in the 40’s and low 50s, as well as a handful of equipment troubles & infrastructure adjustments, things here at North Slope are chugging along and another great season is beginning to unfold. Farmers markets are up and running, tomatoes and flowers are being planted in the field, and the greens are thriving!

Equipment (59.5 hrs):  Kubota: 12, JD2240: 10, Ford4600: 8.5, IH140: 12, Walking Mower: 6, BCS Rototiller: 2, Weed Wacker: 9. (5/5) Kubota mower readied for action: fluids checked, radiator screen cleaned and blades sharpened. (5/27) Crew ready for busy day pre thunderstorms but setback due to multiple equipment troubles. Flat tire on JDS loader, busted wrench while loosening bolts but repairs were finished. IH140 wouldn’t start, but with determination MR got it to start and worked on ripping furrows for tomato planting.

Administration (35.5 hrs.):  (5/7) MR prepared reference documents to record setbacks from property line issues regarding high tunnels. (5/8) Final official review of Greenhouse introductions including physical descriptions & design of the structures, management processes like heating, circulation, ventilation, watering, checking thermostats, etc. Also discussed supplies needed for seeding, use of the watering wand and hose, germinating heat mats, tags, GH order forms, etc.

Infrastructure (124 hrs):  (5/1) Chickens in the mud from all the rain leading up to this first week of May. Coops moved within fence to nice grass. Lots of mowing and weed whacking to do around the farm as a result of a rainy spring. (5/5) General maintenance including mowing of 579 south field, farm perimeter and diversions, market garden, corner garden and roadside edges. (5/7) JT and MR cleared bushes from access lane along 579. (5/8) Box truck came back from full service – fluid checks & inspection. Test run for walk-in cooler yielded ‘No Shut Off’ & temperature dropped below 25 degrees. Had to use box truck as back up refrigeration. (5/25) Billy goat mower in farmhouse yard, front west of the farmhouse weed wacked. Lots of poison ivy discovered in the southeast corner; will have to be decked out in full armor to defend against ivy attack. (5/28) JT & RM made repairs to irrigation system (gauge and coupler) in flower field as well as repaired the main line in the tomato field.

Greenhouse (165.5 hrs):  (5/8) Full crew on seeding flats for market sales. (5/20) Crew potting on tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Begun seeding 4-pack succession, nearly done at the end of the day. (5/23) JT and AM finished last seeding of tomatoes to 406s (for new high tunnel) and 4 packs for sales. Stringing and clipping tomatoes in Ralph’s house so as to maintain upright growth. (5/25) JT discovers that zinnias in NE corner of greenhouse were nommed on, potentially by rodents.

Composting (58.5 hrs): Compost continually dug up and sifted for potting and seeding. Compost from big compost piled used on several occasions to prepare BGBs, field beds and corner garden beds. (5/7) MR loaded ATV wagon, JT, RM and AM composted 4 BGBs, 1 corner garden bed and 9 flower beds (1 load per bed). (5/20) Composted and broad forked BGB SW (3 beds) as well as BGB on North side of asparagus (2 beds). (5/27) Compost spread in flower field and furrows in preparation of tomato planting.

Planting (233.5 hrs): (5/5) IH140 used to rip beds in 579 South (Flower) field. All 22 beds ready for compost! (5/7) TH seeded next succession of salad mix & the rest of the crew planted parsley in corner garden. (5/9) Lots of planting today. Five rows of flowers in flower field: marigolds, bells, strawberry fields, safflower and zinnias. Veg C also planted with 2 beds of kale, 3 chard and 1 cabbage/fennel. (5/14) More planting in Veg C south: kale, red & yellow beet transplants. Also added 4 more rows of flowers in flower field. (5/16) Big day for tomato planting! TH demonstrated planting of tomatoes in cow pots. From east to west in Ralph’s house: black cherry, sungold, striped german at 18” for spacing. (5/20) Next succession of salad planted, as well as 2 more beds of carrots. (5/27) Full crew tomato planting (5 beds) using favorable furrow method in field. Lots of clumping called for 4 passes through each furrow. Clumps cleared out by hand and left on edge of furrow to be chopped by tiller. TH spread fertilizer and rototilled to incorporate fertilizer. (5/30) First years seeded one bed of carrots each, all steps from composting, to raking, seeding with the single row seeder and rolling. TH & MR showed and explained specific techniques.

Crop Care (150.5 hrs): Maintenance and cultivation throughout the month including hand weeding, scuffle hoeing and wheel hoeing in all areas of the farm including BGBs, greenhouses, corner garden and field beds. (5/2) First scuffle hoeing of BGB SE. Some toscano kale replaced due to frost damage. Weeded NW fruit trees in market garden. (5/6) Weeds pulled from perennial flowers and strawberries in the 579 field. Beets, kale, cabbage, broccoli in Veg C scuffle hoed, and garlic cultivated with the wheel hoe. (5/14) Drip tape laid on beds in Veg C. Not a whole lot of rain this month so keeping up with irrigation was a constant.

Harvesting (305.5 hrs): (5/2) MR gives harvesting intro to JT, RM & AM including the importance of a sharp knife, clean crate and personal hygiene. Harvested mizuna, arugula, kale, tat-soi and radishes form Ralph’s house, as well as scallions that overwintered in CSR field. (5/14) First field harvest of happy greens from BGBs! Harvested radishes from kale bed, an example of ‘intercropping’. (5/26) Tomatoes cleared out of hoop house. Harvested 8 small tables of stinging nettle.

Handling (89.5 hrs): (5/1) Major purge and sanitation of Walk-in cooler and wash area. Weekly handling of crops harvested for markets. (5/16) JT on handling salad mix (62#) for weekend market. MR trained JT on proper handling and bagging techniques to minimize damage to fragile leaves. (5/20) Post-harvest handling workshop in Trenton; JT, AM & RM attended. (5/21) Crew discussions in the am regarding the webinar and how it fits into NSF operations: what is done well, what can be improved, etc. MR showed slide show introduction to the basic steps of handling at NSF to promote veggie freshness and safety.

Marketing (136 hrs): (5/2) 1st wholesale seedling order to WEC. (5/3) First West Windsor Farm Market. Greens were smaller than last years, though only seeded 5 days later. Colder temperatures leading up to the first harvest may have played a role in this. (5/23) Beautiful day for Summit market. Beat sales of previous year by nearly $300!) (5/28) Received inquiry from Cherry Grove Farm for Stinging Nettle for their annual cheese).

Special Projects (6.5 hrs):  (5/3) Willow trunks planted near new high tunnel in hopes of establishing a windbreak. (5/5) MR calls Soil Conservation District to inquire about approval requirements for setting up a high tunnel. Two tunnels at 30×96 = 2,880 sq. ft each will fulfill their requirements. (5/19) MR met with soil conservationist to get NRCS perspective on building greenhouses in the central west field. Was told that the 2 pending will be approved and that the total potential will be based on existing waterways.

TH harvested 6.5 lbs. of bamboo shoots from patch near seeding shed; approx. one hour of work in the rain. Bamboo shoots sold at market for $4 a pound! (5/22) TH harvests Lambs quarters bunches for sale. (5/6) After string checking the level of the high tunnel ground posts it was discovered that the 3 NW posts need to be excavated and reset.


Week 1: Heavy rains leading into the first day of May. First week sunny with temperatures in the 40s and low 50s. Warming and drying by the end of the week.

Week 2: Mix of sunny and overcast days, temperatures in the low 50s. Gusty breeze from the South East toward the end of the week.

Week 3: Starts off sunny with temperatures in the mid-40s. Still quite chilly at night. Rainy end to the week; 2” on Thursday and 1/2’” on Friday.

Week 4: Week starts off hot; 85 degrees on Monday! Tuesday showers with thunderstorms in the forecast. Most of the week remains overcast and mild in the mid-70s. Sunny weather returns on Friday.

Market Sales: Week 1       Week 2            Week 3            Week 4            Week 5           Market Total

WWFM–          $1,158             $1342              $1156              $1381              $1210              $6247

SFM –                                      $2185              $2470              $2285              $2670             $9610

Market Monthly Total: $15,857

YTD Market Total: $15,857

Season Focus for 2016

March 29th, 2016 | Posted by miker in Administration - (Comments Off on Season Focus for 2016)

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)

Basic Assessment:

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.

Long Term:

  • 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.

Wage Rate for 2016

December 2nd, 2015 | Posted by miker in Administration - (Comments Off on Wage Rate for 2016)

Wage Rate Commitment for 2016

at North Slope Farm

Posted in Consideration of Increasing Wage Rates for 2016

First Years: $9/hr

Second Years: $11/hr

Third Years: $12/hr

Experienced and Committed Workers: $13/hr

This assumes a minimum 40 hour work week, over a season from March 1 – November 30.  (41 weeks)

Maximum Expected Wages Estimated for 2016:  $90,700 + Employer Taxes (+/- $8,500)

2 first years: $29,500

1 second year: $18,000

1 Third year (24 weeks): $11,500

1 Worker (full time): $21,200

1 Worker (part time): $10,500

If everyone works full time, to achieve a 30% payroll, our Gross Goal will need to be: $300,000 +/-.  More production, more sales, more efficiently, because the same work from last year needs to be done quicker for us to do more.  Likewise production can change completely – but for the foreseeable future, North Slope Farm remains dedicated to producing a mix of nutritious food, serving our community with sustainable production of valuable products.  We appreciate your support!  Keep investing in Regional Producers!

Second Year Focus Summary 2013

January 7th, 2014 | Posted by toddh in Administration - (Comments Off on Second Year Focus Summary 2013)




This year as my focus I endeavored to engage myself in North Slope Farm’s Administrative duties. In my personal life I only have to perform these sorts of tasks in a minimal way. The farm has a well established and fairly clear way of organizing itself. Because of this, standard procedures have been formed for paying bills and capturing information. The work done during this focus has met the expectations expressed in my introduction, and has expanded my view of the farm. 

The Administrative tasks that I was most involved dealt with the finances. This included recording the market cash and other deposits, paying the bills, employees, taxes, and various other expenses, of which there were a few that stand out. These include equipment repairs, new green house plastic, Cow Pots, and our Bio Bags for market. These expenses are notable because they are not part of the monthly or weekly expenses such as payroll. There are more and more varied purchases during the beginning of the season. I also was able to fill out our annual organic certification update form. Colleen had completed the exhaustive application last year. So this year I only had to convey the same information as our practices have not changed since then.

The employees pay checks and bills were the most straight forward and familiar to me. These items form a rather regular expense to the farm and thus a rather regular schedule of paying. Pay day being every other Tuesday meant that this was also the day I would spend the afternoon in the office. Before writing any checks I would first reconcile our ledger with the bank statement. This would almost always take me some time. Not because the task is difficult but because I would have to do it several times before it came out right and I was sure of my math! Though it could be time consuming, sussing out any discrepancies can be gratifying. Ultimately any problems that occurred here were easily resolved. If we had not received a bank statement then reconciling was not done. After that I would add up each employee’s hours and enter them into our QuickBooks, which calculated the individuals pay for me. I would then write their checks which mike would later sign.

The bills followed a similar procedure and would often be done the same time as payroll. The bills however, did not require me to use Quick Books or the computer. I had to make sure correct payment on correct invoices. After paying each bill I would write the date and check number on the statement and file it in the appropriate location in the large red accordion file that sits atop the admin desk.

The taxes are an area that I am truly unfamiliar with. The taxes to me seem a complicate and somewhat overwhelming subject. Mike and I would complete these tasks together, and having gone through the process of paying them a few times has helped bring it into perspective. Paying the taxes and fees has been made relatively easy on-line; it is a matter of Staying current and having the right information to plug into to correct forms. This again is greatly aided by the established qualities of North Slope. We pull our paper files for paying taxes. Then we export pertinent information from QuickBooks into a summary to excel spread sheets. After that we follow the steps of the websites. Some sort of confirmation of payment is provided, and this we make sure to add to our files.

This focus has demonstrated to me the importance of good record keeping. There are bound to be variations in capturing some information on the farm due to the difference in the individuals recording it. This makes for a really great compilation of memories and experiences. Though some level of administration is going to be complicated, processing the financial information in a straightforward way will make it easier to access accurate information again when it is needed. It has helped broaden the scope of my understanding of farming at North Slope

Introduction to Second Year Focus

May 15th, 2013 | Posted by toddh in Administration | Training - (Comments Off on Introduction to Second Year Focus)

Introduction to Administration

Written by Todd

5 /15/2013


              Of all the key elements that North Slope farm is broken down into, Administration, is the one that I am drawn to the least. That is why I have taken the opportunity to make it my second year focus. It is my intention to gain a basic understanding of the administrative tasks of North Slope Farm. In doing so, I will be cultivating my relationship to these less exciting, but necessary aspects of managing a farm or small business. I expect that this focus will bolster my confidence for engaging in similar tasks in the future.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

              Balancing the check book, payroll, paying bills, record keeping, compiling data, data entry, filling out forms, filing paperwork, messages, email, general office upkeep, and much more that I’m sure remains to be seen. 

First Year Application page 1 of 2

July 23rd, 2012 | Posted by miker in Administration - (Comments Off on First Year Application page 1 of 2)

North Slope Farm and Stewardship Guild

386 Rock Road East, Lambertville, NJ  08530


 Application to participate in 2012 Season, March 6 through November 30.


Name: _______________________________________

 Address: ______________________________________________



 Telephone and email: ___________________________________

 Please indicate position you are interested in:

1)      Experienced (3 years) Wage Laborer ______

2)      Stewardship Guild Training Program ______

 Please briefly list your work experience; where, when, how long:


 Specifically, why are you interested in working at North Slope Farm?

 What is your availability? Days and hours:

  What, if any, limitations do you anticipate in performing your work.

 Do you need Housing?

 To qualify for higher than minimum wage ($7.25/hour) please provide references:








Please complete and return to address above

First Year Application page 2 of 2; Trainee Assessment Form

July 23rd, 2012 | Posted by miker in Administration - (Comments Off on First Year Application page 2 of 2; Trainee Assessment Form)

Trainee Assessment Form:


Please fill in the first two columns below with a value from 1 – 5, describing your level of experience with the types of equipment and farm elements.

  (one = no experience — five = experienced)


      To be filled out by year end
Farm Current Desired Dates of  
Elements Experience Experience Training  

JD 2240


Ford 4600


IH 140


Walkin Mower


BCS Rototiller



Crop Care        

 Please List the elements above that you would like to learn more about.


– For Second Year, briefly state what element you would like to take responsibility for.  Outline the responsibilities you would be willing to commit to.


 – For Third Year, describe a valuable product or service you would be interested in managing, producing or creating.  Please name your ‘Special Project’.

Administration Introduction

March 31st, 2011 | Posted by miker in Administration - (1 Comments)

Administration – Introduction

Office Orientation:                          


  • Systems Management Desk
  • Computer and Projects Desk
  • Farm Managers Desk
  • Filing Drawers and System
  • Postings, Messages and Chalk Board

Time Tracking:  (See Time Sheet by Element)  Record hours by element, (form on Systems Desk).  HalfDay; is any day where you work 4 hours or less.  FullDay; if you work 6 hours or more, you are entitled to a total of one hour “personal time” that is paid, (usually we take 1 hour lunch breaks, but you are free to structure your break time to meet your needs.)  Record your “lunch hour” with the days, primary activity.

Systems Data Management:                       


  • Bills and Receipts
  • Master Data Form File
  • Harvest Records
  • Planting and Seed Records

Office Equipment:                                         

  • Computer
  • Printer / Copier / Fax
  • Telephone
  • Message access #: ____ , Passcode: ____
  • Heater / Air Conditioner

Notes and Questions:


Computer Use and CodesAccess Email, WordPress and Flickr.  “ WEB” Folder in Filing Cabinet

The Email, WordPress and Flickr gateways are located on desktop and in the favorites dropdown list.

 Security Statement:  To promote easy access by our Guild Community, you have full privileges of editing pictures, text and content in these programs.  Always LOG OUT before closing these web sites and you will help protect our system.  Do not change your username or password without notifying the farm manager, the farm will always need to maintain management of your access.  Do not jeopardize our computer system by accessing web sites that may not be safe.  Only download material whose origin you know and trust.  Your actions on this computer are noted and tracked, protect our on-line reputation by acting responsibly.

 Your UserName:

Your Password:

Stewardship Capital

January 8th, 2011 | Posted by miker in Administration - (Comments Off on Stewardship Capital)

Stewardship Capital

Stewardship Guild Mission

January 8th, 2011 | Posted by miker in Administration | Training - (Comments Off on Stewardship Guild Mission)

Stewardship Guild

Established 2006


The Goals of the Stewardship Guild are:

  • To define and test concepts of Stewardship
  • To define and promote stewardship of Valuable Resources
  • To train individuals in Stewardship practices
  • To support Stewardship Activities


  • Active involvement in basic community affairs with the intent to identify valuable resources and promote strategies to foster regenerative management of them.
  • Current Project: North Slope Farm is a fifty acre property located in Central Western New Jersey.  There is intensive pressure on land owners to utilize their development rights or lose them.  There are multiple pressures that discourage investment in sound land management practices, (cost w/o market value, and municipal/State imminent domain seizures).  The challenge is how much to invest in agriculture in an economic and cultural environment that does not support it?  How to direct resources into a project that might not yield cash return but could achieve stewardship of valuable resources.  In this case,  the valuable resources include; worker housing, property rights, small scale business enterprises, public access to government process and community development.

Valuable Resources:

  • Resources, existing or potential, that are valuable, as defined by their function, accessibility and future projections.

Training in Stewardship Practices:

  • The guild will focus on identifying and promoting opportunities for individuals and groups to participate in Stewardship Activities.
  • See training opportunities at North Slope Farm.

Stewardship Activities:

  • Activities that promote and foster regenerative management of valuable resources.