Education

Evening Murmurations

Late summer murmurations

When the grasses and native forage starts to go to seed and the pastures are tall, large numbers of starlings and sparrows gather in the trees and feed on the tiny seeds. In late afternoon we get swooping, twisting murmurations near the tree lines. Our farm feeds many local critters beyond the two-legged ones who shop at our farm store.

Reframing “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” for Meals

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It seems simple enough and we have been repeated it for nearly 50 years. How do we reframe the 3 R’s  in terms of things we do every day?

How can you reduce, reuse, and recycle during your evening meal?  

Reduce (Your Energy Usage)

That saves money and our natural resources – win-win! Not all cooking devices use the same amount of energy. If you just can’t bear the thought of turning on the oven or burners during these dog days of summer, don’t worry! Your microwave, slow cooker, and toaster oven are actually 2-3 times more energy efficient.

Pro-tip: consider grilling outdoors so your A/C isn’t working overtime during dinnertime!

Reuse (Your Leftovers)
For those hot days, nothing beats having a nice dinner already prepped from the evening before. “Reusing” leftovers will cut down on your food waste and your grocery bill!

Pro-tip: Try reusable, washable beeswax paper instead of cling wrap to cover your leftovers.

Recycle (Your Storage Containers)

If takeaway is your best friend, you can still do your part. Once those delicious leftovers have been devoured, the container you brought it home in can move on to its next life. Find out if the following are recyclable in your area:

How else can you apply the reduce-reuse-recycle mentality to other areas of your life? Share this information with your friends to keep the conversation going! Check out The Next Level Recycler Team for more info!

Happy Recycling.

Six Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

Its Earth Day and we wanted to think about ways to be kind to our grand blue marble, Earth.

Here are 6 simple things you can do to drastically reduce your plastic waste.

With all the plastic being dumped into landfill and floating in our oceans, the time has come for all of us to behave more responsibly.

And that’s actually pretty easy.

You don’t have to be perfect, or completely change your way of living. Just follow these simple steps and you will cut down a lot of unnecessary waste.

Change your mindset

It all starts with changing the mindset.

Once you start to actively reduce your waste, you will realize just how much waste there is everywhere. And then, you’ll be able to make conscious decisions about what you buy.

You will be better prepared and will be likely to buy less “stuff” – as you’ll only buy what you need. That, in turn, can help you save money!

2. Say no to plastic bags

The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. So if you choose to stop using just one type of plastic – the plastic bag is a great place to start.

Stock up with a few reusable bags and you’ll never have to contribute to this waste again.

For example, reuseable produce bags are great to use to pack your fruit and veggies at markets. Pop your produce straight in the bags, and when you get home – wash them inside the bag, and pop them straight in the fridge.

They are also handy to use while shopping in a grocery store, or for general organization too.

3. Swap your plastic toothbrush for bamboo

It’s recommended that we change our toothbrush every 3-4 months. If these toothbrushes are plastic toothbrushes, that’s a huge amount of plastic waste that is being discarded every single year.

In fact, over 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in America alone.

Imagine if 50% of the American population swapped their plastic brush for a biodegradable bamboo brush. That would prevent 500 million pieces of plastic entering our environment every year, and 5 billion every decade!

Check out these bamboo toothbrushes – they work super well, have been recommended by multiple hygienists, come in cute colors, and work out to cost under $1.49 per brush (often cheaper than plastic ones.)

Swapping your plastic for bamboo toothbrush is another small change you can make, and save money while helping the environment, too.

4. Rethink the straw

Plastic straws are a one and done event. They are too small to be recycled, so their only destiny is either landfill or floating in our ocean.

Ask yourself: Do you really need the straw? Maybe it’s an added luxury…and you could get used to drinking without one?

Alternatively, you can keep a small pack of reusable straws in your bag at all times…and whip out in times of need. They are easy to clean and kind to our wildlife. Whether you prefer stainless steel drinking straws or bamboo straws, you’ll never have to drink with a plastic straw again.

5. Buy locally

At Cherry Grove Farm, we’re all about sustainable farming and treading lightly on the land.

When you buy from local markets, you can cut down your consumption of plastic packaging and will end up throwing less away.  We have a small “Sustainable Re-useables” section in the farm store that makes cutting back on waste a bit easier. Try our re-useable tea bags and coffee filters, or reusable beeswax wraps to keep food fresh without using plastic wrap.

6. Make more at home

There’s nothing wrong with getting take-out; the problem is the packaging that the take out often comes in.

Plastic lids, cutlery, wrap, styrofoam, polystyrene… None of it biodegrades which means that even though your meal only lasted once, the packaging will last forever.

We know it can be difficult to find the time for home cooking, but cooking meals in bulk can cut down a huge amount of time. And make enough to last two or three meals and it can be just as convenient as a take out – but with all the added benefits of being home-made, chemical-free, and plastic-free.

But if you must have those pot stickers or tacos al pastor, why not have a handy reuseable bamboo cutlery pack in the car and just say no to the plastic utensils? Reduce waste in your life.

***

Earth Day is a good day to think about what we can do to reduce waste and single use disposables. Hopefully these 6 simple steps have given you a little inspiration to reduce your waste today. And remember – it doesn’t all have to be implemented at once. Just one small change can make a big difference.

We are considering expanding our “Sustainables” section in the store to include bamboo reuseables. Tell us if this would help you reduce waste in your life!

Resilient Agriculture

This winter we got a call form the Education Group at Stone Barns about participating in a video that would be used for their Food Ed Curriculum. If you know Stone Barns, you know they are a leader in the promotion of
sustainable agriculture, local food, and community-supported agriculture. It was a real pleasure to be a part of the story.

Paul Lawler, our head cheesemaker, and Anna Reinalda, our new dairy manager do a great job of explaining what we do and why it is important.

Please share this video

Cow Parade is Here!

Music by The Jersey Corn Pickers

The Cake Off: An Olde Fashioned Baking Competition

Cheesemaker’s Presentation in Cottage

Jammin’ Crepes and Mama Dude’s Food Trucks

Beer by Flying Fish to help Farmers Against Hunger

Vendors this year include:

  • Cherry Grove Organic Farm (veggies)
  • Mecha Artisan Chocolates
  • Unionville Wines
  • Wildflour Bakery and Cafe
  • Mother Tree Collective’s DIY Body Scrubs
  • Lori Lee Books
  • Pinelands Basketry
  • Get Sharp Knife Sharpening
  • Birds and Bees Farm
  • Tracy Ashcroft Antiques
  • Mercer County Master Gardeners
  • Jessica Yeager, Culinary Nutrition Educator

Cows Parade around 4pm (on cow time)

Bonfire is 5-7pm with s’mores by Mecha!


1902 - Family purchased farm

1910 - Leased land to dairy farmer

1987 - Hamill Brothers inherit farm

2002 - Started as a family business

2003 - Started a beef herd, laying hens, and pigs

2004 - Added sheep and attained organic certification of pasture land

2005 - Added dairy herd and began making fresh cheeses like mozzarella

2006 - Built aging caves and began making aged cheeses

2012 - Grid Magazine’s Cheese of the Month (Nov – Full Nettle Jack); Finalist at the Good Food Awards (Toma)

2013 - Won 2 blue ribbons from the American Cheese Society(for Buttercup Brie and Lawrenceville Jack Reserve); Added second cheesemaker

2014 - Broke ground on additional aging space and began process of getting AWA certification for our chickens
MENU