Shoes have Stepped into our lives … in more way than one!
Before I describe my fun high heel shoe planter tutorial . . . something completely different; I’m talking New Jersey Farms … but there is a link here because clearly no one is going to be wearing a pair of purple, rhinestoned, peek-a-boo toe, platform shoes while picking corn! (unless you’re a Green Diva … MAYBE!)
New Jersey – The Garden State – and for good reason. While folks generally think of agriculture as taking up most of the middle United States; you know - those amber waves of grain – to this day, New Jersey is home to more than 9,800 farms covering 790,000 acres. New Jersey farmers are working hard to grow and produce all sorts of crops. For instance, New Jersey ranks 2nd in blueberry production, 3rd in cranberry production, 3rd in spinach, 4th in bell peppers, 4th in peach production and 4th in head lettuce. And then there’s that famous Jersey tomato along with corn, apples, strawberries, potatoes, hay, soybeans and nursery stock.
In a speech way back on August 24, 1876, Abraham Browning of Camden called New Jersey the Garden State. He said the Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other. The name stuck ever since. However, Benjamin Franklin first made a similar comparison of New Jersey to a barrel tapped at both ends. Some have used that to discredit Browning with naming the Garden State.
So there’s your history lesson. Today, while some farms are selling out to big developers, there are still quite a few who proudly still grow Jersey Fresh! Earlier this week, Green Diva Meg and I headed to North Jersey to visit 2 farms in Bergen County; DePiero’s in Montvale and Abma’s in Wycoff.
DePiero’s Country Farm
The DePiero family has been sowing, seeding and harvesting since in 1924. The farm’s hub is a huge octagonal shaped building where inside shoppers looking for farm fresh fruits and vegetables have their pick from a rainbow of produce. In one corner of the building is a spot called, Sunday Gravy where day after day there are huge pots percolating a tomato and meat sauce my mom would say could “resuscitare i morti.” That’s an old Italian way way of saying it’s so good it can “resuscitate the dead.” The ingredients sit on a low flame for hours, just simmering to let all the flavors come together for one heck of a pasta topper!
Most impressive … The DePiero’s tomatoes. Clearly a picture paints a thousand words … and this wasn’t even the biggest one!
Abma’s Farm Market & Greenhouse
Then it was off to Abma’s, an expansive 30-acre farm established 4-generations ago by a Dutch family. Several of the original barns on the property are more than 200-years old! The main barn houses the fresh farm produce, raw honey and a “scratch” bakery which the chefs begin stocking with freshly baked goods starting around 7:00 am. Hope they have an accurate rooster on that farm!
Actually left to right it’s: Josh, his dad Jim, HIS dad Jim and Josh’s brother Jim. Got that?! While they were busy and couldn’t wait to get back to work, they managed to stand together for the 10 seconds it took to snap the shot. Thanks gentlemen!
Now, middle Jim (second from the left) is married to Pam who, along with her son Jim (last on the right) showed us all around the farm; the barns, the animals, the fields or tomatoes, basil and flowers, (which Jim considers a waste of good land – now that’s a true farmer at heart!)the Junior Master Gardener and summer camp programs, as well as the greenhouses … and that’s where it happened!
Green Diva High Heel Shoe Planter Tutorial
In one of the Abma Farm greenhouses I was inspired. For Mother’s Day one very creative “sole” came up with the idea of putting succulents into shoes … but not just any shoes – we’re talking shoes like spiky heeled, blood red, Stuart Weitzman shoes and the like.While I’ve done several DIY posts on re-purposing all types of containers into planters, this idea … this idea? … “kicks” butt!
Upon seeing this pair of my shoes, my 20-year old son Rigel picks them up and says to me, “Hey Mom, next to which pole did you find these?” Funny kid. I bought this pair of shoes to match a dress I bought on a whim. As it turns out I wore both to a wedding. I doubt I’ll ever wear the shoes again!
Ouch … but boy did they look good!
Here’s what you’ll need
- One or a pair of “wow them” shoes, the glitzier the better. Don’t have any, try finding them in a thrift store!
- Several small succulents – not cactus. Succulents are often called fat plants; they tend to be thick and fleshy as opposed to leafy or willowy.
Here’s what you do
1. Jam some Spanish moss into the toe of the show. This will prevent any dirt from falling out and making a mess.
2. Arrange your succulents any way you like. I placed several in, re-arranged them several times until I liked what I saw.
3. Just a little water. Succulents don’t need a lot but it’s always a good idea to water a bit after transplanting.
It really could not be any easier. The folks at Abma farm get all the credit for this one! They made them for Mother’s Day but when it comes to DIY, why stop there. This adorable, low maintenance bit of green will make anyone happy any day.
Worked for me!
Jersey Fresh … Again
Glitz, glamour and DIY aside — Jersey Fresh is all about supporting local farmers. There are neighborhood farmer’s markets popping up in just about every town you go; there are family owned farms like the DePiero’s and Abma farms; there are and always have been roadside stands where’s the day’s fresh produce is lined up for those smart enough to stop. I’ve even been to roadside stands operating on the “honor system”… pay for what you take, please put your money in the jar. I’m not kidding but I’m also pretty sure I’m not going to see much of that anymore either.
Nevertheless, buying produce and the like from local farmers is a lot “greener”, more sustainable and you can be guaranteed the fruits and vegetables will fresher than just about anything you can pick up in a super market or box store.