River Friendly Farm Certification promotes environmentally friendly farming by recognizing farmers for their commitment to stewardship of their land and surrounding water resources. North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development (NJRC&D) is partnering with the Foodshed Alliance to identify, inspect, and certify farms in our region that use best practices in protecting water resources. The most recent farms to be certified by the Foodshed Alliance are Lazy K Ranch and Ruthie’s Farm, both in Frelinghuysen, NJ, on September 26, 2022.
Lazy K Ranch was founded by George Kuhn and family for upland game preservation and cold-water fisheries conservation. The 22.5 acre farm on Lincoln Laurel Rd is managed for sustainable forestry, with additional acreage for high-quality perennial hay production. They are committed to creating the best possible habitat for native species and preserving the cold headwaters of the Paulinskill River by managing their lands with a comprehensive Forest Management Plan. In addition to hay, the Kuhn Family has plans to produce sustainable forest products such as maple syrup and custom wood sawing.
Ruthie’s Farm project began by converting a hay field into organic vegetables as a farm-to-table source for their partner restaurant, Ruthie’s BBQ and Pizza in Montclair. Slowly but surely, Ruthie Perretti and her husband Eric Kaplan, started to realize that they could also be producing wheats and other grains to have a self-reliant source of flour for their restaurant. They were soon introduced to River Valley Community Grains, which was birthed out of a project by Genesis Farm in Blairstown as a way to restore the nearby River Valley. This meeting sparked their inspiration to build the permanent infrastructure needed for the milling and processing of the local artisan grains. Thus, the restoration of a building adjacent to their farm – the future Marksboro Mills, which will not only be the future home of River Valley Community Grains, but also an agricultural hub, mercantile, and community space. All aspects of their farming operation are dedicated to restoring the connections between Food, Earth, and Community.
The voluntary River Friendly Farm Certification program inspects five areas of criteria on applicant farms: Soil Health Management: preventing erosion while building soil quality, Nutrient Management: using crop nutrients as efficiently as possible, Pest Management: preventing the spread of pests and reducing pesticide use, Stream Corridor Protection: riparian buffers and livestock stream exclusions, and Irrigation Water Management: irrigating on a schedule based on soil moisture monitoring.
Interested in learning more about the River Friendly Farm Certification? For general information, visit www.RiverFriendlyFarm.org. To apply, visit www.PaulinskillWatershed.org/RFF, and contact ChrisDunbar@FoodshedAlliance.org with any questions!
Contact Lazy K Ranch for River Friendly Hay Bales and other sustainable forestry products: George Kuhn (973) 919-2276