alliums ameraucana Anthony Bourdain aphids Appleseed Permaculture aquaponics arthritis artichokes Asian Vegetables aussie basil baby chicks baby turnips bearss lime bee keeping beet greens beneficial insects benner tree farm Biochar Bitter Melon blight blooming hill farm boothby blonde cucumber brix broccoli brussels sprouts cabbage cabbage hill farm camp hill farm cancer caraflex celeriac chicken coop chickens children chinese tamale chives cilantro cilantro root coconut cold frames collard greens Compost coriander corn crop rotation cruciferous crucifers cucumber Dan Barber dan kittredge Dave Llewellyn detox dirty dozen dragon fruit Dutch white clover dwarf citrus eggplant Elderberries factory farms farm to table farmer's market farmers markets Fava beans ffarm to table fish oil flea beetle flowers food allergies food combining food miles founding farmers four wind growers Fred Kirschenmann french bulldog G6pd deficiency garlic garlic festival garlic scapes geese Glynwood grass-fed beef Great Outdoors Listening Tour green tomatoes greenhouse growing indoors Hanalei Hemlock Hill Farm heritage turkey heritage USA hudson valley farms hurricane Irene hyssop iced tea infections influenza Insect control isothiocyanates joan gussow jolie lampkin joong kaffir lime kale Kauai kohlrabi korean licorice mint Ladybugs late blight leeks lettuces local food locust tree maine avenue fish market menhaden meyer lemon mycelia mycorrhizal natural fertilizers nectary nightshades No Reservations Nurse cropping nutrient density okra organic Baby food organic christmas tree Organic Pest Control Parsley Paul tappenden peas Permaculture pesticides pesto petite watermelon plant sap pH plymouth barred rock pole beans potatoes preserving food purple basil qunice Radish Greens rainbeau ridge farm raised beds rampicante raw food real food campaign red hook Rockland Farm Alliance ronnybrook farm row covers salt-preserved duck eggs sambucus nigra seed saving seedlings Sheet mulching small space soil analysis soil blocks soil conductivity sorrel Squash Vine Borer star fruit sugar snap peas sustainability sustainable fishing Swiss Chard tabbouleh TEDx Manhattan terracing three sisters tomato sauce tomatoes trellis trovita orange turkana farms Tuttle Farm urban zen volt white clover winter harvest Winter Squash Young Farmers Conference
Indispensable Books and Resources
  • Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    by Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    by Eliot Coleman
  • The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    by Gary F. Zimmer
  • The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    by Barbara Damrosch
  • 1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    Organic Insect Control
  • Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.

    The best farming and growing magazine money can buy!

  • Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks
    Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks

    2" Soil Blocker

  • Mini Soil Blocker
    Mini Soil Blocker
  • New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    by Emily Brooks
  • What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    by Tasneem Bhatia, Editors of Prevention







Short journal entries detailing the nuts and bolts of our ventures in growing food at our micro-farm


Pest of the Month: Squash Vine Borer 

SVB moths. They appear more like wasps when they fly.In our first growing year we grew an abundance of winter squash.  It was so easy to amass this large quanity of storage fruits for the winter.  The second and third year proved to be a big disappointment as we were invaded by the nasty squash vine borer (SVB).  It attacks plants as a moth laying eggs at the base of leaf stalks.  The larvae then develop into these gross looking light green catepillars that burrow themselves into the healthy large stems of squash plants.  The first sign that something is wrong is the the appearance of wilting leaves.  It looks like you forgot to water your patch of squash.  Upon closer inspection of the base of the main stem you will find your stems gouged open with several SVBs inside happily munching away and slowly killing your plant the many young fruits attached to the vines.  Burrowing SVB catepillarI have literally picked these bugs out and tortured them on a nearby rock.  They have killed off so many of my squash crops that I've taken it personally.  After removing the pests, it is possible to bury the damaged area in the soil and it will reroot but I've never been able to keep up with it and eventually give up losing the patch.


This year we are trying something else: using a row cover to prevent the moth from laying its eggs at the base of the stalk.  After planting a variety of winter squash: red kuri, buttercup, butternut and delicata we set a floating row cover on all the plants.  It's mid June and this is the time the SVB moth starts egg laying.  If you do get this nasty pest, remember not to compost the vines at the end of the season but to throw them out in the garbage.

We use a lightweight fabric cover made by Agribon

We're not the only ones doing this.  This is a squash field at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, also covered with a row cover.  We are wondering weather or not this is going to present a problem with pollination, however.  Our squash just started to flower...  Another experiment we'll report back with.


Stone Barns use of a row cover on the their field of winter squash



The Intern's Corner: Can You Eat Radish Greens?

Photo by RissaIn my quest for "nose to tail" eating of vegetables, I was hoping one of my interns could find a way to utilize the radish greens I typically discard.  Rissa Landman (pronouced like Lisa but with an "R" and not to be confused with rapper RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan) is currently at Hunter College studying nutrition education, is also interning at Slow Food USA and is the mother to two gangsta French Bulldogs Spanky and Gus.  Here she writes about radish greens, which by the way, contain more vitamin C and calcium than the roots that we usually eat.


We stood around looking at each other and shrugging our shoulders. Are radish greens edible? Are they good? Pam had just thinned a bed of watermelon radishes and while the radishes themselves were still babies, they were topped off with large and beautiful green leaves. It would have been a shame to just discard them.

I did a little investigating and found out that they are indeed edible and quite versatile. I came across suggestions ranging from simply sautéed with garlic and olive oil to one using radish greens in a potato soup. The next night, we were making mussels with green coconut curry so I opted for a quick Vietnamese style pickling of both the greens and their baby radish companions.

They made a great side! The greens have a peppery taste – think very intense arugula – and a soft texture similar to spinach. They took well to the pickling – sweet, tart, and peppery - and the baby radishes added a nice crunchy texture. I have learned my lesson: the next time I find myself with a bunch of beautiful radishes, I won’t forget to utilize the greens. I would be a crime not to.


1 small bunch of radishes and their greens
1/4 cup rice vinegar 
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put vinegar, sugar and salt into a large bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add sliced radishes and chopped radish greens and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to several hours before serving.

Serves 2.

Photo by Rissa



Here are some other ideas from Chowhound for radish greens.


Lettuce Mix Masters

The salad of immortalitySince March we've harvested close to 20 lbs of our lettuce mix.  Normally we don't like to toot our horns BUT we've gotten so many people addicted to our lettuces that we have to admit, they are the best tasting lettuces out there.  No longer is lettuce a background to something else, these babies stand on their own: bold and spicy, extra healthful because of the addition of baby mustards, you wouldn't ever want to dilute them with anything else like a strong dressing.  They stand on their own.  Some of the comments we've received:


"the greens were OUTRAGEOUS!!  Just the color alone was a treat.  Makes all other lettuce seem like watery nothingness....  Thank you!" - Anne H

"Wow- just finished the last of my greens- they were amazing, and I'm wanting more!  Thank you so much for producing such amazing produce!" - Lauren B

"Your lettuce mix made for the most intensely flavorful, sprightly salad--peppery and delicious, with some heat. We had monkfish from the market, too, so it was my idea of a perfect meal. Our thanks to the growers". Barbara B


Many vegetarians have commented that it's the best lettuce they've ever had and more than a few have said after leaving it in the fridge for 2 weeks, it tasted like it was just harvested.  They couldn't believe it.  So, yeah, we're tooting our horns rightfully so.  One of the interesting things we've learned about growing lettuce is that it's harder than you think.  It takes a while from germination to the point where they can be transplanted.  For us, this works better than direct seeding.  But once established they can be cut again and again.  After doing 6 Farmers' Markets this season selling our seedlings, more than a few people asked for lettuce transplants.  We don't sell these because their prime time is cooler weather: spring and fall.

Secret bold ingredients: Sylvetta Arugula and Golden and Purple Frills baby mustaIt seems so counterintuitive.  Most people eat salads in the heat of the summer; a time where lettuce can bolt or go bitter.  When you tell them when they are best grown, most people are very surprised.


This summer we'll experiment more with some varieties like Thai lettuce that can withstand some heat.  We'll likely plant them under things that can provide shade or utilitze the lower light areas of the growing area.  We'll let you know how it goes...

Everything is hand harvested. Pippa harvesting tatsoi. 


The Intern's Corner: Permaculture Basics

Mycelia in soilForget Pippa Middleton...Pippa Purdy, one of our 4 bright and hardworking farm interns, also a graduate student at Teachers College at Columbia in the Nutrition Education program, reflects on her experiences starting our permaculture edible forest garden a few weeks ago.


What better way to spend Earth day a few weeks ago than immersed in planting trees, digging holes, playing with worms and getting to know some plants? The four of us interns arrived at the micro-farm at 10am ready to go! We started by prepping the plants and digging some holes (and becoming well acquainted as to why Rockland County is called Rockland County!) None of us had heard of or knew much about Permaculture prior to meeting Pam and Charlie. Even after our first experience, it is hard to put into words exactly what it is. The biggest impression I came away from this first experience with was that it is an entire ritual of planting that involves much more than nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sun and water.  Not only is it a brilliant system that utilizes the symbiosis of nature, it is a reminder to step back and consider plants and what they provide as well as the complexities and beauty of nature. An example of the complexities was illustrated through learning about plants that act as dynamic accumulators. We planted comfrey and yarrow, as well as several other types of plants, at the base of the fruit trees.  The plants’ purposes are to act as nitrogen fixers and enhance the ability of the roots to take up nutrients from the soil. Yarrow:Botanical PrintThey increase the nutrients in the soil and enhance the formation of mycelia which in turn allow the plant to absorb more nutrients. We actually saw the mycelia, which appear as white, tiny thread like branches, in the woodchip mulch that we used. It was pretty cool.  Yarrow is also beneficial because it attracts particular pollinators, like ladybugs and bees. Another tidbit – if you are out in the forest and get a cut, yarrow can help to heal your wound!


We also had an opening and a closing circle in which we had a chance to say what we are grateful for and what we learned throughout the day. It was so inspiring to hear everyone’s thoughts and experiences at the end of all the hard work. It was the perfect way to sum up a great day of learning, digging, and working hard to create this amazing new system that will grow and evolve for decades to come! As we learn more about permaculture in the months to come we welcome your questions and look forward to sharing this experience.



Alison, Pippa and Charlie at the Palisade's Farmer's Market. Come and see us next Saturday!


The Art of Tomato Planting

Note all the "hairs" on the tomato stemWe kicked off last weekend with our first sale at the Palisades Farmer's Market and this week starts the first time we'll be at the Nyack Farmer's market.  It was a wonderful turnout and, as usual, the perks of having a stand is that we meet so many new people in the community as well as seeing familiar faces and friends.  As always, our tomatoes are the most popular selling seedling.  Well, our seedlings are really plants when you see how big and healthy they are.  We often get questions on the best way of growing them.


One of the reasons we plant our plants in Cowpots (made of cow manure from Connecticut dairy farmers) is that it's not only sustainable, but it allows for minimal root disturbance when transplanting - usually an added form of stress for the plant.  It's worth the extra expense.  Other "biodegradable pots" made of peat or coir, in our experience do not break down easily and you'll often find that they are somewhat still intact when you pull that plant out of the ground in the fall.  Not a good sign.  Cowpots, as long as you water them heavily at the start, will easily break down and simultaneously give your plant a boost of nitrogen for growing from the manure.  Neat huh!


The other thing to realize about tomatoes is that you want a plant that has an extensive network of roots.  The more roots the better and stronger your plant because a) the plant will have better drought tolerance and b) better access to soil nutrients.  This concept applies to all things that you grow.  What is especially interesting about the tomato are all the "hairs" that you see on the stem.  These have the potential to become roots so the deeper you plant and cover those hairs with soil the more roots will establish.  Neat, huh! 

We suggest removing the bottom 2 tiers of branches and leaves and plant to the hilt of the next level.  If your soil is not optimal when you dig down deep i.e. you hit sub soil which is clay-like or sandy, your other option is to plant the tomato sideways.  Initially the plant appears to be sideways and tilted on the ground but no worries, they plant will go towards the sun and straighten up.



Tomatoes like water and as mentioned, if you are planting in Cowpots, water heavily the first week to start the breakdown process.  Avoid watering directly on the leaves if possible.  This helps prevent diseases like blight splashing up onto the leaves and prevents leaf sunburn.  One thing we do recommend is not just watering the small area around your newly planted tomato, but the entire bed around the plant.  If you just provide water to a small localized area around the plant, the roots (yes, it comes back to the roots) have no incentive to grow longer since all the water is in close proximity.  So even though it feels like you're watering bare soil, you are indeed providing water for that nearby tomato and encouraging its roots to grow long and seek out nutrients and minerals further away from its location.


We'll be at the Nyack Farmers Market Thursdays on May 12th, 19th and 26th from 8AM - 2PM and again at the cozy and comfortable Palisades Farmers Market Saturdays on May 14th, 21st and 28th from 9AM - 1PM.  We have 27 varieties of tomatoes but much much more!  Heirloom, unusual and hard to find seedlings are what we love growing.  Everything is organically grown and have been amended with nutrient dense growing techniques for the healthiest plants in the universe.  Come visit us this month!

Palisades Farmers Market

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