The Farm Cooking School and Roots to River Farm at Gravity Hill – I am sharing about a local, New Jersey farm to table cooking school, The Farm Cooking School and the Roots to River organic farm market at Gravity Hill.
The Farm Cooking School and Roots to River Farm at Gravity Hill
Hi Everyone, this past September, I started working as an assistant at The Farm Cooking School. I have shared about the farm market, classes and dinners on my Instagram feed and stories but not yet on the blog until now. It’s a special place and I am grateful to work there. I’m struck with the humanity that everyone has who also works there and the incredible food I taste there.
Over the years, I have intermittently gone to the organic farm market that Roots to River farm holds on the weekends (and Thursdays as well in the warmer months and select days through Winter, listed below). I’ve known about The Farm Cooking School pretty much since I had my first child, Margo, almost 4 1/2 years ago, shortly after we moved to the area. Perhaps we first learned about it from driving by the old location? Anyways, I remember going to one of the school’s open houses at their old location in Stockton, NJ, with my husband Eric, when my daughter was just an infant and I was baby wearing her in a Maya wrap. They moved to their new location about 2 years ago and it’s wonderful because the cooking school and the Roots to River farm can coexist on the same property.
When I think of farm to table, I’ve always been aware of the concept generally, but it was Michael Pollan’s book, Omnivore’s Dilemma (and many of this other works) and documentary, “Food, Inc.” that made it a “thing” in my mind or at least planted the seed there. I think of the path to living farm to table as a sliding scale and everyone is at different points on that scale. I am certainly not at one end or the other but rather somewhere in the middle with the hope of moving towards integrating those farm to table concepts more seamlessly into my life. If you are a follower of my blog, you know, I have recipes and posts in the past that are certainly not “farm to table” but I’ve always shared what I actually do, not perfection as if it’s reality, so one can follow the journey.
How do we integrate farm to table more in our lives? It’s certainly a question I ask myself. It helps to have a place to buy incredible organic produce which I can then take home and cook with, create recipes and then share them here with you (I have two that I have upcoming to share). The cooking school sells canned produce, sauces and other food in their larder that is available to purchase. Some recipes are from their incredible cookbook which I have also linked to below. One can take classes, attend any one of the dinners or events. I have linked to The Farm Cooking School’s site below so that you can learn further, if you wish.
But (for me) actually working in this place, even on a part-time basis (which is what my schedule allows right now with my kids being young) I feel firmly places me closer to that farm to table ideal, so for that I am very thankful. It’s just one of those places that you want to be in all the time. Every time I work there, I feel renewed and centered. When I work there and see the patrons come to the farm market, I see how they linger, I notice the regulars that come back again and again. They feel that “magic essence” that’s there with all these like-minded people – like minded, in that, we want to feel connected to where our food comes from (on some level) and have the knowledge of how it was made and perhaps for those like me, how to make it too. Having that tangible connection to our food enhances our human condition and simply makes life so much better. But if they are there just because the food tastes REALLY good, not because of all the woo-woo magic that I speak of, that’s fine too!
In mid-November, I took some photos of the cooking school and farm market to show you this place, you can check out the photos below with descriptions (and some of my musings:):
I love seeing what’s available at the organic farm market through the seasons. It’s fun to take an ingredient (even better if it’s new to me) and make something of it in the kitchen.
Roots to River Farm Organic Market Hours
Sundays 11 am – 3pm and every other Thursday (open 12/6) 3 pm- 6:30 pm
Open the following Thursdays:
Saturday December 15, 2018 – Save the Date – Winter Fest!
Guest Vendors at the Roots to River Farm Market
- Goat Hill Farm – grass-fed meats (Thursdays & Saturdays) – where we got our Thanksgiving turkey!
- Beechtree Farm – grass-fed meats (Sundays only) – I recently picked up some of their honey and it’s amazing
- Blossom Hill Flowers – forever wreaths (pictures below)
- Jade’s Cloth – Produce Bags
- Locust Light Farm – locally-grown herbs, teas, & more (pictures below)
I think when I took these photos, the week prior, all the leaves fell down.
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The Farm Cooking School has a cookbook, “The Farm Cooking School: Techniques and Recipes That Celebrate The Seasons,” check it out below:
Their cookbook(s) are also available for purchase right at the farm market (near the larder and checkout). I found a used, like new, copy on Amazon (because I like 2nd hand items) where it’s widely available in case you are not in the area and/or also like used books.
Learning to cook pizzas in the oven is fun, I’m still learning really! It’s definitely an art.
Those spice racks are awesome, they are so efficient because you can fit the most spices, per square inch. I actually got them for my kitchen too, I linked to them below on amazon:
This is just some examples of what you may find in the larder for sale; everything is prepared by The Farm Cooking School and they are made with organic ingredients from Roots to River farm:
- Mexican Style Giardinieria (pickled assorted veggies)
- Fennel Stalk Mostarda
- Marinated Peppers
- Garlic Vinegar & Cucumber Relish
- Tomato Butter
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Puree
- Hot Sauce
- Dilly Beans
- Dill Pickles
My paternal grandfather used to do quite a bit of canning from his garden, many of these canned goods remind me of what he used to can.
You can join the CSA for Roots to River farm through the seasons and get produce on a weekly basis.
This past Thanksgiving I got our turkey from Goat Hill Farm, a local farm who is also a vendor at the farm market and it was amazing. They also sell other meats, like chicken, at the market year round.
I heard that The Farm Cooking School’s market pizzas were featured in Zagat’s Best of New Hope 🙂
Farm Market Menu
The food on this menu is made by the folks at The Farm Cooking School. Depending on the seasons, the menu changes, this is an example of what might be available around now (late Autumn):
- Radish Fennel
- Turnip Soup
- Beet Soup
- Specialty Muffins
- Fresh Loaves of Sourdough Bread *pizza and bread available on weekends only
- hot local cider
- herb water
Chef Shelley Wiseman, co-founder of The Farm Cooking School, one of her cookbooks “The Mexican Gourmet” is linked below:
To find out more about The Farm Cooking School and their classes for adults and kids, dinners and upcoming events, visit here.
Ian Knauer, co-founder of The Farm Cooking School, his cookbook, “The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food”, is linked below:
To find out more about the Roots to River Farm, visit here.
If you live local to The Farm Cooking School and the Roots to River Farm at Gravity Hill, I encourage you to visit there, it’s truly a special place. If you live farther away, you can take a culinary vacation and sign up for one or more of the classes and definitely check out their amazing cookbook. You can also get on their email lists on their respective sites, if you want to hear more about their events and happenings through the seasons.
Have you been to The Farm Cooking School and the Roots to River Farm at Gravity Hill? Please let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading and following along, Best, ~Sara
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