Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Plant a Green Seed

Green Seed Farm

Nina and Nitsan began Green Seed Farm nearly six years ago as a way to sell their overabundance of fresh produce to the local community. Although this small, family-run farm is only a few minutes northeast of Columbus, the basic principals and agricultural knowledge it is based upon have traveled thousands of miles from Nitsan’s home in Israel.

As the State of Israel was forming in the late 1940s, pioneers came to build self-sustained cooperative farming communities known as moshavim. The typical moshav was star-like in appearance where the layout contained long rectangular plots of land jutting out from a central radius. The land was divided between the families and, due to its shared agricultural responsibilities, was an ideal settlement arrangement for new immigrants. Adjacent farms cultivated different varieties of produce and everyone shared in the fruits of their neighbors’ labor, similar to a gigantic miscellaneous community garden. Nitsan grew up on a dairy farm within a moshav and during the summer months worked on neighboring plots of land where he learned about several varieties of crops as well as various jobs around the community.

When Nitsan was a young adult, he did what was customary for every Israeli and joined the army. After serving for several years, it was typical to go on to work for a few months and then spend time traveling the world. Nitsan, along with several friends, decided to play a large scale game of hop scotch - visiting numerous countries on several continents. While traveling in the States, he ended up in Wisconsin at a Jewish summer camp and, as fate had it, Nina was teaching Hebrew at this exact camp. By the end of his visit, Nina had agreed to continue traveling with Nitsan, and after several additional stops around the globe they decided to settle back in Ohio, where she was originally from.

Although Green Seed Farm is a sprawling 13 acres, the portion of land that encompasses the farm is really just the expansion of the families’ home garden and measures about two acres in total. Nina explained that they were harvesting such a wealth of produce in their family garden it began “flowing out” of the space. Their neighbors suggested that they start selling their beautiful, organically produced vegetables and herbs and nearly four summers ago Nina and Nitsan started participating at the local Columbus farmers markets. Along with her husband, Nina attends the Bexley and Clintonville markets as well as maintains a full time position as a speech therapist and is a full time mother of two! Besides these taxing responsibilities this working urban farm is home to 120+ chickens, several goats (including a spotted beauty named Pebbles), horses, three cats, one dog, and a diverse variety of seasonal plants including kale, swiss chard, bok choy, eggplant, numerous pepper varieties, arugula and other lettuces, garlic and much, much more.

Each year Green Seed Farm plants an assortment of crops in their greenhouses including an Israeli variety of tomatoes that is very heat tolerant. At the end of the season, when the picking is typically slim, they are pleased to offer fresh produce and mentioned that they have had garden fresh tomatoes into November. Farming connected Nitsan back to his roots, but also has forever connected the community to his farm.

Flowering Broccoli

The Green Seed Farm flowering broccoli (pictured left) traveled 23 miles to Columbus. Although I could not find an equivalent in my local market, the broccolette (pictured right) is similar in taste and traveled roughly 2,480 miles to Columbus.

Flowering broccoli, also known as yu choi, is an Asian brasscia variety known for its edible yellow flowers and thin stem. They can be sautéed, but I prefer to eat them raw to preserve the integrity of the beautiful flowers.


The Moshav
WorldCrops Yu Choi

Flowering Broccoli Salad w/ Grilled Romaine

Click on the recipe cards to print your copy:


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