Keep up with NNS!

As our season continues to ramp up our time has shifted from emails and meetings to gardens and markets! So, the best way to see what we are up to is by following our Instagram (@nourishingthenorthshore) or Facebook! Check out some of our Instagram photos below! 

Three Sisters' Greenhouse ROCKS!

No, Really, It Rocks. 

We truly try our hardest to use appropriate puns. This one was unavoidable. In fact, working with vegetables we truly feel spoiled with pun opportunities - nothing beets it.  We are just glad that we often get to spend time with our favorite farm crew, Three Sisters, that if nothing else, gives us a good pity laugh for our puns.

Three Sisters Garden Project in Ipswich was putting down a new rock floor into their seeding greenhouse and was looking for some brawn to help spread it out. As Three Sisters is one of our partner farms, donating hundreds of pounds of food each season and generously let us use their greenhouse to start our own seedlings, we were eager to help! 

Check out the photos below! 

Amy, Three Sisters Manager, looking at the job ahead! 

Amy, Three Sisters Manager, looking at the job ahead! 

If it looks like an optical illusion that this tractor fit through that end wall, it should! It was a close one. 

If it looks like an optical illusion that this tractor fit through that end wall, it should! It was a close one. 

Complete and ready for seedlings! 

Complete and ready for seedlings! 

A sneak peak at what is growing up at Three Sister's field greenhouse.  

A sneak peak at what is growing up at Three Sister's field greenhouse.  

If you are looking for a CSA this season, check out Three Sisters website - click HERE! 

2016 By the Numbers

Our 2016 Season in Numbers!

We took a break from planning for next season and looked back at what we accomplished last year. Sometimes, when we are in the thick of logistics we forget to step back and see the connections we have made and the hundred of pounds of food we have redirected from the compost pile to the plate. Thanks to all of the help from our farmers and volunteers - we are so proud of what we did together. Take a look!! 

2017 Calendars

Exciting, exciting news!  Our 2017 calendars will be available to purchase for $12.00 at the following locations in Newburyport: YWCA on Market Street, City Hall, and Active Life Chiropractic.  They will also be available on January 8th at the Newburyport Farmers Market.  The calendars feature beautiful and creative photographs gathered throughout our growing season.  It is a sure way to brighten up even the gloomiest winter days!  

Here's a sneak peek:

We hope you enjoy them!

Holiday Food and Gift Drive

It’s that time of year again.  The leaves have already fallen, the ground is beginning to harden, and the holidays are rapidly approaching.  This season the Newburyport Learning Enrichment Center is teaming up with Nourishing the North Shore for its 5th annual Bag a Turkey Fundraiser and Gift Drive which will be running through December 20th

Donations will provide holiday meals, daily essentials, and special gifts to families and children throughout Newburyport. 

Collection bins for non-perishable food items can be found at the Newburyport Rec Center, Newburyport Schools Superintendent’s Office, City Hall, and downtown at Glitterati and Dos Amigos.

Money donation containers will be on the countertops of many local stores throughout Newburyport.  We are accepting cash donations at the Newburyport Police Department, the YWCA, or the Newburyport Rec Center.  Please make checks payable to Newburyport Learning Enrichment Center.

Check out some photos of our helpers delivering the Thanksgiving food! 


Please join us at Dos Amigos on Wednesday, November 30th anytime to help us raise funds to feed our families this holiday season.  Dos Amigos will donate $1.00 for each burrito and $0.50 for each taco sold.  We hope you’re hungry!!!

Garlic Planting with RVCS Students

Last Friday seven River Valley Charter School students from the 6th grade class came to the Monk’s Garden to learn about planting garlic.  The students were excited to be at the garden, eager to learn about growing, and especially interested in the bugs they found. 

We started with a mini lesson about garlic and how to grow it.  Garlic, or “garglick” as the kids liked to call it, is related to onions because they are both from the Allium family.  Second, it is grown as an annual plant, meaning that it completes its lifecycle in one season: seed to flower to seed.  Garlic is planted in the fall as the ground begins to get cold and is harvested in the summer when the leaves brown.  

We saved garlic that we harvested this summer to plant this fall.  With the kids help, we broke apart the bulbs and gathered the cloves for planting.  Each clove will grow into a whole bulb during the growing period.  Amazing right?

Garlic likes to grow in a lot of organic matter so we tilled our cover crop into the soil and created beds to plant into.  We planted eight rows in total, four rows of softneck garlic and four of hardneck.  These are two different varieties of garlic and each has unique characteristics.   

After preparing the cloves, we marked the rows with baling twine in an attempt to keep the rows straight.

The next step was making holes in the soil for the cloves to be planted into.  A measuring tape was run down the length of the row and the kids marked holes every six inches.  

Our next helpers placed a clove in each hole (pointy side up!) and pushed them down two to three inches deep and covered them up.  

To finish up, we covered each bed with a thick layer of straw to insulate garlic really well.  And that's how you plant garlic!  Thank you RVCS students for all of your amazing help!

Butternut Squash Processing Party

This fall we ended up with over 120 lbs of butternut squash from our plot at the Monks’ Garden.  Although this was fantastic, we soon realized that a whole winter squash isn’t always easy for everyone to prepare.  The reason being is that they can be difficult to peel and very hard to cut into, especially for older folks or someone with arthritis.  

After a bit of brainstorming and planning we decided to hold a “butternut squash processing party” with volunteers in the certified kitchen at the Newburyport Senior Center.  This allowed us to make butternut squash easily accessible to everyone!  And we had fun doing it!

That Thursday night we turned up the tunes and got right to business to divide and conquer our two big bins of squash.  The majority of us peeled, chopped, scooped (the seeds), and cubed the butternut, filling bowl after bowl of squash.  The cubed squash was then sent down to our volunteer, Douglas Foley, who was in charge of packing and vacuum sealing.  After all of these steps, we stapled cooking instructions to each package and voila, grab & go butternut squash!

Check out our finished product:

Shout out to Heron Pond Farm for donating the precious little butternut squash seedlings at the beginning of the season that made this all possible :)

And to our volunteers that we couldn't have done this without :)

Thank you, thank you!




The VEG OUT mobile farm stand at the Pettengill House Food Pantry has been a huge success this season.  We held our first market in June and next week will be our last, putting us at a grand total of 21 markets this season!  It’s even more than we imagined.  Our partner farms that have donated loads of delicious food and the great folks at the Pettengill House have made this all possible. 

Shout out to Heron Pond Farm, Three Sisters Garden Project, Mehaffey Farm and the Pettengill House – thank you!

Through this market we have been able to reach even more people with our local, organic produce.  Check out some photos from last weeks farm stand:

The Kale Queens

Thanks to Heron Pond Farm for letting us glean loads of kale from their fields this past week! We were able to harvest 33lbs! That’s a whole lotta kale!

What does 33lbs of kale look like, you ask?

Well it's taller than Emilee that's for sure...

And it's even taller than Kailey!

Kind of.....

Anyways, we had a lot of fun being at Heron Pond Farm and being able to share the kale with tons of folks!  It was given to the Newbury Food Pantry, the Farmers Market at the Pettengill House, the Salisbury Housing Authority, and the Sullivan Building.  

Thanks again HPF! 

Sheet Mulching at Bresnahan Elementary School

Nourishing the North Shore will be opening a new garden at Bresnahan Elementary School.  To prepare the garden space we used a technique called “sheet mulching."  This method suppresses weeds and builds fertile soil by adding thick layers of organic matter to the ground.

Some benefits of sheet mulching are:

1.     Weed suppression

2.     Better soil structure

3.     Adds nutrients to the soil

4.     Encourages earthworms and microbes (good for the soil!)

5.     Doesn’t require machinery

6.     Does not damage soil structure

7.     Does not damage life in the soil (earthworms, microbes)

How do you sheet mulch???

There are many ways to sheet mulch, some simple and some more elaborate.  At the Bresnahan school, we kept it nice and simple because we used the supplies that were readily available to us.  The key ingredients are: water, cardboard, organic matter.  Organic matter can be: compost, mulch, leaves, straw, kitchen scraps, grass clippings, etc.

Layer 1:  This is the very bottom layer touching the ground.  We spread a thin layer of moist compost over the existing grass.

Layer 2:  We covered the compost with large pieces of cardboard, placing the pieces so that there were no gaps in between.  When sheet mulching, you only want to use plain, uncolored cardboard.  And make sure there’s no tape on it, as it will not breakdown.

Layer 3: We spread weed-free salt hay over the cardboard so that it was a couple inches thick.  

Note: it also doesn't hurt if you have a cute doggie hangin' around!

Note: it also doesn't hurt if you have a cute doggie hangin' around!

Layer 4: For our final layer, we spread compost over the entire area.  We wanted this to be our thickest layer, it ended up being about 6 inches thick! 

We were very fortunate to have had all of this lovely compost donated by Mike Hatheway at Hatheway Landscape.  Thanks again Mike!!!

So how does it work???

 Sheet mulching is used to kill whatever weeds or grasses are underneath your layers of organic matter while building up the soil and creating an environment for healthy life in the soil.

What roles do the layers play?

Cardboard: is placed so that no light can get to the weeds underneath, therefor killing them.  It also acts as a food source for earthworms and microorganisms.

Straw:  acts as a mulch and another source of organic matter to be broken down.

Compost:  will contribute to the bulk of the finished soil and add essential nutrients to the soil.  Compost also contains beneficial microbes.

Water: the workers in the soil, earthworms and microorganisms, need moisture to survive.

Earthworms/Microorganisms: breakdown the organic matter and leave nutrient rich soil.

Tips:  Add water at each layer to ensure that the materials will retain moisture and so that they won't be blown by the wind.

This process is so easy and can be used on any backyard-sized area.  Give it a try!

Harvest Party 2016

The Harvest Party, held at the Monks’ Garden, was the perfect way to wind the season down with friends, music by local band Freevolt, delicious local beer from the Ipswitch Tapmobile and great food catered and donated by our partner B.good.  


This was such a wonderful opportunity for friends, farmers, volunteers, clients, sponsors and community members to come together and make connections around a shared purpose.  Because it was at the Monks’ Garden, folks were able to see where a lot of the donated food is grown and get a real-life picture of what we do.  

We were very fortunate to have had incredible speakers from Harvard Pilgrim, Kelleher Gardens, Pettengill House, Newbury Food Pantry, and from the Monastery.  We were able to hear first hand the positive changes that Nourishing the North Shore has enabled, and see the lives that it has touched.  

Thank you all for the amazing turnout at the party and for the role that you played in our successful season!  


Senior Cooking & Nutrition 5 Week Workshop August 2016

This summer's cooking & nutrition class was such fun! We cooked up tasty & healthy recipes featuring seasonal produce every week and sprinkled in nutrition content along the way. We covered everything from how to read a nutrition label, to crafting the best turkey burger, to how to shop smart on a budget. Here's what some of our wonderful participants had to say.....

"I've learned so much and my wife and I want to start a new diet program. With all of your help I think we can do it!!!"

"This workshop has helped me learn how to cook healthier foods & to know what's healthy and what's not."

"What a fun and informative class!"

"Good time & a good class!"

Kitchen Garden Program

Kitchen Garden Program

NNS has teamed up with 13 families to create their own Kitchen Gardens right outside their home at Kelleher Park in Newburyport. We have been dreaming and planning since snow was on the ground about garden layouts, what plant varieties to grow, and recipes to make from our yields. It is now August and the gardens are in full swing!! We are blown away by how beautiful the gardens are and how hard everyone has worked at keeping weeds away, tomatoes trellised, lettuce from bolting. Our Kitchen Garden team has been able to eat their own veggies and share with neighbors! All of this work would not be possible without the generous donation from New England Grassroots. Check out the photos below of our team! 

Summer Bounty

The summer season is rolling right along and with it comes a bounty of fresh produce grown at the Monks garden as well as generously donated by Three Sisters Garden Project, Heron Pond Farm, and Mehaffey’s Farm.  

The Monks garden in West Newbury is growing beautifully and producing so much yummy produce that we are very excited to be sharing.  As we reach the mid-summer mark the garden is producing some new and fun vegetables such as beets, summer squash, zucchini, peas, cabbage, and cucumbers, to name just a few.  

Kailey and Emilee harvest and wash early Thursday and Friday mornings to ensure the freshest produce possible for the Friday morning pick-up and deliveries.  Friday mornings Ellie Davis and our volunteer, Louisa, come to the Monks garden to help pack up vegetables and deliver them to the Salisbury Senior Center, the Sullivan Building, Kelleher Park, Our Neighbor’s Table Food Bank, and the Newbury Food Pantry.  

Boxes packed up and ready for delivery!  A big thanks to our farmer friends for the gracious donations and to our volunteers for aiding in distribution.

Boxes packed up and ready for delivery!  A big thanks to our farmer friends for the gracious donations and to our volunteers for aiding in distribution.

Allie (left), Louisa (center), Kailey (right)

Allie (left), Louisa (center), Kailey (right)

Friday morning we had a special guest visitor and helper, Allie from B.Good Fresh Food Fast in Beverly.  Allie came over for a tour of the Monks garden and to help with packing and delivering.

Until recently, the Newbury Food Pantry had no incoming fresh produce, only shelf-stable and processed items...this is where NNS comes in!  For the past couple of weeks, we have been delivering a box each Friday afternoon full of vegetables.  This has included lettuce, kale, squash, zucchini, onions, broccoli, herbs, and plenty more to come!  This has truly made a difference for the people who visit the food pantry, and we are so happy to be able to make this possible.  

B. Good Community Partners!

We were so fortunate to be selected for the Community Partner role for the newest B.Good Fresh Food Fast Restaurant in Beverly! Nancy, Pam & Kailey helped greet customers on their opening day, and B.Good so generously donated 15% of their first day revenue to NNS! The B. Good Family Foundation has been wonderfully supportive of our greenhouse renovation efforts as well, which is on track for seedlings for next Spring! How can you help B. Good help NNS? Simply download the B. Good app on your phone, visit their restaurant in Beverly, order some delicious locally sourced meals and select NNS as the recipient for your reward points! We hope to use these reward points towards our annual Harvest Party in the Fall - we plan for a fantastic community event & we hope to see you there!

YWCA Kid's Gardens

Our youngest gardeners in Miss Shayla's class had a great day out in the dirt prepping the beds and settling in their young seedlings. Produce from these gardens will be harvested by our little growers and they will trade in gardening gloves for chef's hats to prepare all sorts treats like pizza, salsa and smoothies. Yum!

Summer Gleaning

Although the term gleaning is new to many, its roots actually go back to the Old Testament.  It's the practice of gathering crops that would otherwise be left in the field to be plowed under after the main harvest. Through our incredible partnership with Three Sisters Garden Project in Ipswich, NNS staff and our fantastic volunteers head over to their farm every Monday to harvest some truly beautiful produce. Last Monday Katie O'Rourke (below) and Annaliese Keller joined Kailey in the fields to glean some gorgeous kale and rainbow swiss chard. 

Food Waste In America

Did you know that approximately 40 % of food in the U.S. goes to waste, yet 48.8 million Americans live in food-insecure households? We were blown away by these statistics and are inspired to spread the word and make a change. Fortunately through the great work at the Harvard Law Food Law and Policy Clinic, and The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (which limits the liability of food donors) we hope to stem the tide of food waste and help prevent this healthy food from heading to the landfill. For more information on this topic check out The EPA's website on sustainable management of food

A huge success for VEG OUT !

Last Tuesday we held out first VEG OUT mobile farm stand at the Pettengill House Food Pantry. It was  everything we imagined and more! Thanks to hugely generous donations from Three Sisters Farm in Ipswitch, Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, and Mehaffey Farm  in Rowley we were able to give out the best quality produce you can find. We shared recipes, tried new things (garlic scapes), and mostly gushed about how delicious the produce looked. Check out some photos from the stand! 

Three Sisters Farm

Our VEG OUT Stand at the Pettengill House Food Pantry