Monday, November 18, 2013

Boone Street Farm in the New York Times!

Boone Street Farm is very excited to be a part of the recent New York Times article, "Blighted Cities Prefer Razing to Rebuilding." 

Be sure to check out the slideshow which includes photos of Rosa, Mr. Jonathan's flowers growing in some repurposed porcelain, and our friends Whitelock Farm

A few quotes from the article:

The continuing struggles of former manufacturing centers have fundamentally altered urban planning, traditionally a discipline based on growth and expansion.
Today, it is also about disinvestment patterns to help determine which depopulated neighborhoods are worth saving; what blocks should be torn down and rebuilt; and based on economic activity, transportation options, infrastructure and population density, where people might best be relocated. Some even focus on returning abandoned urban areas into forests and meadows.
Baltimore has begun to turn over vacant lots to groups of amateur farmers. Boone Street Farm, boxed in by abandoned rowhouses on an eighth of an acre, is completing its third season of growing tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes and other fruits and vegetables in the city’s Midway neighborhood. It sells produce to restaurants, has a table at a local farmers market and delivers $10 boxes of produce weekly to members of its community-supported agriculture program.

Here are a few images of several blocks just across Greenmount Ave. near the farm. Several blocks were torn down about one year ago. 

New housing and vacant lots replaced the vacant buildings. What did we do with some of that brick?

After many volunteer hours and a few truckloads later, we built these lovely walkways using mulch from a local tree removal company.

Boone Street Farm is proud to be a unique use for vacant land in East Baltimore - Midway. 

It has been so exciting to see a vacant lot bloom into a place where a community of people can gather, flowers and produce are harvested, ecosystems evolve (giant spiders and praying mantis!), and a mini economy is created. 

Thanks to everyone for your support. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Block Party: October 2013

Loving our new community garden sign, thanks to students from MICA!

This past Saturday, October 5th, we had a great time at the 3rd annual Boone Street Block Party. 

Special thanks to farm manager Cheryl Carmona, farm assistants Rosa, Eden, Dana, Natanya, Ryan, Wardell, Clarissa, and Christian, community gardeners Ms. Jeanine, Ms. Wanda, Ms. Vera, and Arnold Joo, our neighbor and grill chef Neale, Chessie for DJ'ing, Cheryl's parents for making cupcakes and goodie bags for the kids and so much work setting up and breaking down, and our MICA assistants for painting our new community garden sign. And of course to all of our other neighbors, community gardeners, friends, and supporters for attending. Aliza took these photos and is writing this blog post.

What kind of fun did we have?

Baltimore Showstoppers Marching Band
(check out a video here)

Neighborhood Trash Assessment surveys

Self-Guided Farm Tours


Facepainting for kids

Screening of 'Soul Food Junkies'

Lots of food!


Friends and fun!

Don't forget that you can click the photos to enlarge and see a photo slideshow. 

Farm manager Cheryl and neighbor/farm assistant Eden

Farm manager Cheryl, CSA member Crawford, and Cheryl's fabulous mom, Monica

Cilantro, butternut squash, and okra

Butternut squash and okra

Butternut squash, kale, sweet potatoes, and compost bins 
(you can barely see the giant wall of tomatoes in the background)

Baltimore Showstoppers Marching Band

Check out a video here:

That's our farm assistant Rosa waving hi in the video

In the evening, Cheryl showed 'Soul Food Junkies'

Friday, October 4, 2013

Block Party!

Boone Street Block Party!

October 5th, 2013

3:30 - 7:30 PM

2100 Boone Street 
One block east of Greenmount Ave.
Two blocks north of North Ave.

Kid's activities: face painting and crafts!

Marching Band


Farm Tours

And a very special short film about Boone Street Farm!

Here are some memories from our Spring Fair this year:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Urban Farm & Food Fair III

Click the photos to enlarge
Thank you to everyone who braved the drizzle and came out to support Baltimore's small local food producers at the third annual Urban Farm & Food Fair

It was great getting to see the Real Food Farm food truck, the mini aquaponics display, a beekeeping display, veggie flavored ice cream from Dominion (we had the sweet potato flavor which was amazing!), a steel drum band, and so much more. 

We were happy enough to make $50, which will fund several hours of labor from local employees or buy tools and equipment for next year. Thanks everyone!

We made a "Lemon - Pepper Pasta Salad" with our Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, and also had a cold tea drink made with the Holy Basil grown on the farm. 

Here the recipe we used, inspired by the blog coolcookstyle

For the dressing:
7 tablespoons of good extra-virgin olive oil
The juice of two lemons
The zest of two lemons
1 fat clove of garlic, grated
1 to 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of coarse-grain Dijon mustard
For the rest:
1 pound of penne
1 pint of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, quartered (or halved if they are small)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup of crumbled French feta (I sometimes find Greek feta too salty)
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
How to prepare:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook it until it is al dente.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a large mixing bowl. AMicroplane grater is terrific for both the lemon zest, and for grating the garlic.
3. When the pasta is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water to cool it down quickly. Drain the pasta again and add it to the dressing, along with the tomatoes and the bell pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together, making sure that the pasta is well-coated. Add the crumbled cheese and the chives. Toss again. The cheese, the chives, and the vegetables should be evenly distributed throughout the salad. Adjust the seasoning if needed (depending on how salty the mustard and the feta are, you might not have to).
Pack it up for the party, or eat it immediately.
Note: We did not use feta in our salad to cut down on costs and to make the salad more available to people who might be dairy sensitive. But I bet it would be great with feta!

Edit: Cheryl informed me later in the day that the yellow peppers are actually "Lemon Drop" not "Lipstick"

Everyone loved looking at the bright yellow hot peppers, but sales were slow. I recommend chopping up the peppers and putting them in vinegar for use year round. 

Our colorful table display!

I was pretty excited to have leftovers of the pasta salad for lunch this week. Yum!

Monday, September 16, 2013

September Workshop: Food Preservation Techniques

Costoluto Genovese tomatoes, sweet Anaheim green peppers, zebra striped tomatoes. Cheryl is harvesting pounds and pounds of lovely tomatoes each week at Boone Street Farm. 

Dishing Up Maryland is one of Aliza's favorite go to guides. It has wonderful recipes outlined in a seasonal format. The recipe for tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs, parmesan, and basil would be perfect for these tomatoes from Boone Street. 

This is a photo of a full weekly share for $20 with tomatoes, peppers, okra, garlic, and bundles of sage, mint, and holy basil (four sets of herbs not pictured). You can also purchase Boone Street produce at the Farm Alliance of Baltimore stand at the Waverly Farmer's Market. We will also have our produce available at the 3rd Annual Urban Farm & Food Fair this Saturday the 21st from 2 pm to 5 pm.

With so many tomatoes, it's time to talk about how to preserve the harvest. 

Food Preservation Techniques

Canning 101, fridge pickles, herb preservation, and more. Thanks to everyone who came to the workshop. Your donations were also much appreciated, and will go to support farm activities.

Green tomato - hot pepper salsa!

We enjoyed samples of last year's green tomato & pepper salsa with chips from Tortilleria Sinaloa. Yummm. Here is the recipe for the salsa: Pickled Green Tomato - Hot Pepper Mix

How to make crisp fridge pickles
 Aliza demonstrated her favorite technique for crisp fridge pickles: 

Soak cucumbers in a salt brine overnight to take out excess water. Use 1 or 1.5 tsp of sea salt per quart of water. Then drain the brine and put the pickles into the vinegar pickling liquid. 

Brines can be made with vinegar, salt, sugar or honey, and spices of your preference. Aliza's favorite mix is black and yellow mustard seed, cracked black peppercorns, and garlic or ginger. Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar is more expensive, but tastes great and is pro-biotic so it's worth the upgrade. 

Heat the brine gently to dissolve the salt and release the flavor of the spices. Then add the drained vegetables to the pickling liquid - cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, or whatever you are pickling. 

Pack into a jar and refrigerate. 

Pickles will keep several weeks. 

We read the definition of botulism from the Ball Jar Canning Guide. 

Canning safety: Always check the seal when opening a jar of home canned food. Use acids to create an inhospitable environment for botulism. 

Visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for more canning recipes and how to guides. 

Also, check out this spider we found on the zinnias in the community garden! Wow. 

See you at the farmer's market. We will also have our produce available at the 3rd Annual Urban Farm & Food Fair this Saturday the 21st from 2 pm to 5 pm. 

Cheryl will  have plenty of sungold yellow cherry tomatoes, San Marzano plum tomatoes for canning and sauces, okra, and ground cherries. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

September Events

"Cossack Pineapple" ground cherries are one of the most interesting fruits we have grown so far. 

Happy September!

We hope everyone is having a wonderful harvest season. The garden is bursting with okra, peppers, basil, and pounds and pounds of yellow Sungold cherry tomatoes and San Marzano plum tomatoes.  And this year's most unusual crop pictured above- ground cherries! This article from the L.A. Times gives more information about ground cherries and how to grow and prepare them.  They are available now at the Farm Alliance of Baltimore stand at the Waverly Market on Saturdays.

The community garden is doing well, and our YouthWorks student employees are still helping to harvest and maintain the garden. Rosa is a community gardener who lives in the neighborhood who will be helping out at the garden in exchange for an education stipend from Americorps. Cheryl is getting ready to do the after school garden club with Cecil Elementary students for the second year. 

Stay tuned for these upcoming September events: 

Food Preservation Workshop
Saturday, September 14th
10 am - 12 pm 
Boone Street Farm: 2100 Boone St. 21218
Learn the basics of drying, pickling, and canning produce for storage over the winter. 

3rd Annual Urban Farm and Food Fair
Saturday, September 21st
2 - 5 pm 
The event will feature our city’s urban farms, local food vendors, and fun family activities. 
More information can be found on the Farm Alliance of Baltimore website here:

Starting a Small Market Garden
Sunday, September 29th
3 - 5 pm 
Liam Flynn's Ale House
22 W. North Ave
Baltimore Green Space, The Farm Alliance and the Community Law Center will present a workshop at Liam Flynn's Ale House, discussing small Market Gardens. RSVP to Katie Lautar at 443-996-3811 or 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer 2013: Tomatoes & Upcoming Workshop

Cheryl's pic of her beautiful tomatoes!

My photo below doesn't do the beautifully trellised rows of Costoluto Genovese, plum, and cherry tomatoes justice... it's hard to see the bounty among all those leaves. There are some peppers, sunflowers, watermelon, and basil plants mixed in to this area of the farm as well.

Click this link for more photos.

Okra, cucumbers, Genovese basil, Holy basil, figs, grapes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, and a variety of other herbs and flowers are also being grown on the farm.

The tomatoes are being sold at the Waverly Farmer's Market at the Farm Alliance of Baltimore table, at Neopol Smokery, at Corner BYOB in Hampden, and to CSA members who receive weekly baskets of produce. Special thanks to the Telesis Corporation for sponsoring weekly produce deliveries to several people in the neighborhood.

So much abundance is great to see.

click the photo to enlarge

Last night Cheryl and her farm hand Alex hosted a lovely dinner 'al fresco' using fresh tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers from the farm.

It's great to see the garden being used not only to produce fresh vegetables and create an economic impact on this formerly vacant lot, but also as a community gathering space as well.


Cheryl is currently being supported by YouthWorks employees, and she is also employing several people from the neighborhood as farm assistants this summer. She also volunteers her time to support the community gardeners with advice and equipment.

Interested in visiting the farm?

Stop by this weekend!

Saturday, August 10th
Fall Planting Workshop
10 am - 12pm
Now is the time to put in your beets, turnips, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. Lettuces and spinach can be put in now, or a little later in August. Learn more about cover cropping and getting ready for the fall growing season.

Email with any questions or concerns.

We are located at 2100 Boone Street, one block east of Greenmount Ave, just north of Greenmount Cemetary on North Ave.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Visit us at Artscape!

We are excited for the 32nd annual Artscape this weekend, the largest free art festival in the nation!
This will be our third year doing a fundraiser for Boone Street Farm. We will be making watermelon-basil-mint salads. Come visit us on the empty lot next to Wind-Up Space. Liam Flynn's Ale House is sponsoring the event on the lot.
Even if you aren't able to stop by, here is the recipe for you to enjoy.
Watermelon-Basil-Mint Salad 
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup lime juice
6 cups watermelon, cubed
15 leaves basil 
15 leaves mint
(adjust herb amounts to taste)
1. Heat water gently and stir in sugar until it is dissolved. Stir in lime juice. Taste and adjust the sweet and sour proportions to your liking.
2. Pour lime syrup over watermelon. Let marinate several hours. If there is extra liquid you can reserve to use in drinks.
3. Just before serving, finely chop basil and mint. Mix into the fruit salad.    
Artscape is a great fundraising opportunity for us to continue our programs such as the Cecil Elementary after school garden club, working with Baltimore City youth through the YouthWorks employment program, and raising money and making plants bloom on a formerly vacant lot. We thank you so much for your support.  
Please help me eat all this watermelon!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ms. Janine's Harvest!

Wow, check out those cucumbers and sacks of greens!

Thanks to Cheryl for taking this great photo of Ms. Janine, one of our community gardeners who actually used to live on this block where Boone Street Farm is now located. The houses on this block were torn down over twenty years ago, and the site has been an empty lot until we broke ground in March 2011.

Cheryl will be at the farm tomorrow (Saturday 7/13) for the Herbal Medicine Workshop, and Aliza will be working at the Farm Alliance of Baltimore table at the Waverly Farmers Market on 32nd Street.

Come on by for a visit!