Grantee Blog 2020

Seed to sale featuring : Peashoot Pesto

Spring has sprung and we are celebrating the start of the season with the arrival of crocus, daffodils, and other flowers! For gardeners that can’t wait until May to get their growing going, there are plenty of cold weather crops that are happy to be in the garden right now including peas. 

Peas are one of the earliest legume crops that can be seeded in January and planted out as early as April. They can also be grown as a microgreen in a window sill, under  grow lights, or in a  greenhouse. Did you know that their stems and leaves are a delicious and nutritious addition to soups and salads and can be made into value added products like pea shoot pesto (more on this below)!

Value-added products are goods that are enhanced in value from some extra process or product. Other value added products are pickles (from cucumbers), tomato sauce (from tomatoes, garlic, herbs), pancake mix (from grains), and jams (from berries).  Creating and selling value-added products is a great strategy for farmers, whether small like Montclair Community Farms, or large to increase their revenue to support their work.  

This spring we have been working with our first-ever Farmprenuers, high school students from Essex Tech, who are learning hands-on about agriculture, culinary arts, and entrepreneurship.  Through this project our Farmpreneurs are creating their own value added products from seed to sale using produce we are growing together in the greenhouse at Van Vleck House & Gardens. One of which is pea shoot pesto, and is made from the stems of young peas, which gives a delicate, and mild taste compared to more well known basil pestos. Our recipe includes fresh garlic and toasted walnuts (vs. the more traditional pine nuts). Our favorite part (we are a farm after all) is the gorgeous neon green color that the pesto gives to pasta, dip,  or as a topping for pizza, and more!  

Over the last 8 weeks they’ve mastered making doughnuts and pizza, along with how to market and sell their very own value added products including their pea shoot pesto! On April 17th, during our culminating event our youth will be leveraging the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in school at Essex County Schools of Technology and at  Montclair Bread Co. for a special edition Pizza Night. Come out, bring your family and support our Farmpreneurs as they learn how fun, rewarding, and delicious it is to grow your own food, and create products while expanding your knowledge and palate! 


About the Grantee

Township of Montclair

The Montclair Health Department is a founding member of the Montclair Community Farms Coalition. Montclair Community Farm’s mission is to serve as a local hands-on resource that engages and educates the community through urban farming, affordable food access and healthy living. At the heart of Montclair Community Farms is its Coalition, partners, and community volunteers.