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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

Entries in peas (2)


Higher Peas, More Peas: Constructing a Simple Trellis

Pre-sprouted Peas. Hopefully they will survive the upcoming hard frosts in the next few nights. Was Phil wrong? Where's Spring?After three seasons of growing legumes, I can say that every time we have planted them I have been the recipient of disappointing glares throughout the growing/harvest season when the plant quickly reached the top of my homemade trellis and the vines began their inevitable gravity fueled trip downwards. This season, I have vowed, will be different.  I will walk triumphantly amongst these fine plants as they ascend towards the heavens.

In this entry I will describe a simple homemade trellis that is both aesthetically pleasing, functional and hopefully durable. Oh yeah, and will cost less than purchasing a pre-made trellis. Oh yeah, and again, will be produced locally, by HMG’s favorite laborer, me!

A homemade trellis can be made fairly easily with the following tools: circular saw, screwdriver, drill, corner brackets, mending plates and screws. First step is to decide how big you want your trellis to be. And yes. I could not avoid saying it.  When it comes to trellises, size does matter. If you build a small trellis, it does not matter how you dress it will lose all your pea plants to a larger, more confident trellis.

Next step is the wood. Obviously I would not recommend using any treated wood as the final product is going into your pie hole and you would not want to put anything that baked in the sun against treated wood into your mouth. That being said, cedar is a great choice as it provides natural rot and insect resistance and should last for years. I went to Beckerle’s in Congers and purchased 10 foot 2 x 4 pieces which they were kind enough to rip (cut the wood with grain-a harder cut unless you have a table saw and a large room where it is located). So I was left with 2 x 2 pieces in 10 foot lengths. The pieces are laid out in an H configuration (with the top having a piece across, so yeah not really an H but how else can I describe it....maybe a square with legs) and screwed together with 3 inch outdoor decking screws into pre-drilled holes. (to avoid splitting the wood). Next another H configured piece is put together. The two pieces are then laid on top of each other and outdoor, rust resistant hinges are used to join the two pieces, or you can just have a one sided trellis which you can affix to a pre-existing fence or wall. After that step, for extra support, outdoor rust resistant corner braces can be placed over every corner where two pieces of wood meet and screwed in to provide extra support.

Ok, so now you have a 2 giant pieces....I left out the size because it will depend on how high you want to go..I chose 8 feet high and 6 feet wide. I was going to do 8 feet wide but in a moment of clarity I realized just as I was going to screw the pieces together that it would of been myself who was screwed when I constructed a trellis in the basement that would not fit out the door. Embarrassment avoided. Next step is your actual trellising material. I use 2 x 4 inch holed outdoor welded fencing wire which comes in many different sizes. Next I lay the wire out over the trellis. Cut with wire snips. Fix to trellis with mending plates and also under the corner braces (so don't put them on till youhave your welded wire cut and laid out over the frame).....and voila....a trellis fit for the neediest of peas.

Thats it for now. I just realized that we need two more trellises.


The Raw Food Detox: Transitioning Back With A Renewed Perspective On Food

Freshly shucked peas. The work it takes makes you think twice about using that bag of frozen peas as an icepack for your knee.Two weeks ago, in an attempt to detox from a suboptimal diet, we began a strict 7 day raw food cleanse knowing full well that we'd be irritable, hungry, weak and likely symptomatic with headaches, dizziness and weakness.  We knew we'd have to overcome it with persistence and discipline.  And we did it!  What's more surprising is that we are continuing with this detox program but attempting  to make it seasonable, local and real world.  The reason is this: we feel better, lighter, trimmer, our sleep is deeper and eating this way has forced us to enjoy and appreciate fruits and vegetables even beyond the level we reached from growing our food for the last 2 years.  It has also forced a sense mindfulness and presence during eating because it has allowed the clear clean notes of the food to shine through unencumbered by extraneous fillers like sauces, bread and elaborate seasonings.  In a nutshell, this was, for 1 week, a vegan, extremely low carbohydrate (but not carb-free) diet.  After the first week we began adding animal meats back in and some more starches.


The Basic Principles:

1. Eat as much raw foods (cooked no higher than 112 degrees) with the larger meals at dinner.

2. Crucial combination of foods.  This was the most difficult for us.  Though I am very aware of how fermentation can occur with certain combination of food types  (I've had several patients with digestive issues get dramatically better) it is VERY hard not to have protein with carbs.  Eggs without bread?  Meats without potatoes? Chicken without rice? 

The food groups to keep apart for 3-4 hours: a)Animal meats, eggs, raw cheese and fish  b)starches (rice, pasta, bread and cooked legumes)  c) nuts/seeds/dried-fruits   d) Fresh fruits.  Non-starch vegetables may be combined with any of these.

This is based on how quickly food leaves the digestive track and I have seen patients experience less bloating and gas with food combining principles.  The principle is that our digestive tracks were not designed to handle complex meals.  Each food type has very specific enzymes produced by the body to breakdown those substances, for example, lipase is made to breakdown fat, lactose for milk sugars etc.  Food combing is not new.  Carlos Gracie, founder of the Brazilian Gracie Jiujitsu, has championed a food combining diet. He lived until the age of 92 and his diet and teachings still live on.Broth made from leeks, pea pods and parsley



This is NOT a local food diet.  In fact, I felt quite guilty about consuming a ton of tropical fruits like bananas, coconuts and grapes from chili, apples from New Zealand.  The best I could do were berries from California although strawberries are just coming into season locally but hard to find organically grown. [FYI: Non-organic California strawberries should have a surgeon general's warning.  In 2006, 280 lbs of pesticides (known carcinogenic ones included) were applied PER acre for a total of 9 million pounds].  What we did use locally from our farm was tons of siberian and tuscan kale, peas, sugar snap peas, yellow and green beans, lettuces, edible flowers, tons of herbs, collard greens, kohlrabi leaves, small fava beans, carrots, mustard greens, garlic scapes and celeriac stems.


As physicians who are already very conscious about nutrition and health, especially me, this took us to the next level and showed us that we really had a great deficit in fruits and vegetables in our diet.  I love fruits but I do not go out of my way to obtain it because of seasonality issues, organic availability and shelf life.  Now, I can't stock enough fruit in my house but better yet, our plans for an edible permaculture forest garden will provide us with paw paws (great local substitute for bananas), strawberries, raspberries, black and blue berries, currants, gooseberries, and sweet cherries. There are also plans to install a mini-orchard with apples and stone fruits next year.


So, we continue our quest for optimal eating and growing with a celebratory LOCAL cooked meal with all HMG produce and lamb chops from McEnroe's farm in Millerton NY.   Tonight's menu:

Elixir of Fresh Peas

Herb Salad with purslane, celeriac and parsley leaves, basil and lettuces

Grilled Lamb chops with oregano and lemon



1 bunch scallions or 2 small leeks including 2" of the greens, thinly sliced
5 large parsley stems with leaves
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 lbs of fresh pod peas, shelled and reserve the pods for the stock
1 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion or young leek
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
truffle oil, garnish with fresh chervil and chive blossoms


1. Bring 1 qt of water to boil.  As it's heating, add scallions, parsley and 1/2 tsp salt. Add about 3 cups of the pea pods.  Once water boils, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes then strain.

2. Melt butter in a soup pot and add the sliced young leek/onion.  Cook over medium heat for a minute then add 1/2 cup of the stock.  After 4-5 minutes add the peas, 1/2 tsp salt and optional sugar.  Pour in 2.5 cups of the stock and bring to a boil and simmer 3 minutes

3. Transfer soup to a blender or processor.  Puree.  Serve immediately in small soup bowls, adding a few drops of truffle oil to each bowl, chervil and chive blossoms as garnish

Wine is back. To the Village Vitner of Nyack, we await a celebratory wine tasting you promised! 



 Recipe adaped from Deborah Madison, Local Flavors