Tag Archives: Pearlstone Center

Eating Seasonally: The Farm-To-Table Movement


Delicata Squash Dream Boat
(courtesy of Pearlstone Farm)

Cut two medium sized delicata squash lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and dispose. Put squash upside down on rimmed cookie sheet; add 1 cup of water to the sheet. Bake at 350 for half an hour.

Turn squash boats over and put a pat of butter and 1 tablespoon of real maple syrup in each cavity. Roast at 450 for an additional 10-15 minutes or until browned and soft. Remember that the delicata’s skin is tender and not bitter so eat whole!

It’s no secret that the farm-to-table movement is growing all over the country. From proliferating farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, to specialty restaurants like Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen, people are taking a new interest in where their food comes from and how it is produced. The Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD is leading the charge on the farm-to-table movement in Baltimore’s Jewish community.

The farm to table movement is just what it says—a movement to bring food directly from the farm to your table. Restaurants that hold themselves out as being a part of the farm-to-table movement are ones who source their food from a farm, usually one close enough to visit.  And if you can visit the farm, speak with the farmer, see the animals grazing or the crops growing — there is a good chance the farmer has nothing to hide.

Farm-to-table restaurants are putting in the extra effort to source ingredients that might cost a little more because it is more expensive to produce crops when the workers are paid reasonable wages and animals are treated ethically. But the increased costs may be partially offset by lower delivery costs due to local sourcing.

The Pearlstone Center is proud of its growing farm-to-table program. Pearlstone’s perennial crops include divers fruit orchards, brambles, perennial herbs, asparagus and gourmet mushrooms on just over two acres of land. For the past four years, Pearlstone’s onsite farm has been gradually supplying more and more of its own kitchen’s seasonal produce. This year was also the first year Pearlstone began working with other small, local farmers to source more ingredients from nearby for its own kitchen.

Pearlstone also supports local restaurants in their efforts to join the farm-to-table movement.  Pearlstone’s farm supplies specialty items such as culinary herbs and log-grown shiitake mushrooms to some of Baltimore’s top restaurants. Pearlstone’s farm also makes weekly donations of fresh produce to a local homeless shelter during the growing season.

In 2014, Pearlstone’s educational programming included opportunities for guests to participate in the preparation of a farm-to-table meal, and then to enjoy a meal comprised of ingredients harvested from our farm that same day.  By all accounts, the meals were superb.

Also in 2014, Pearlstone started creating in-house jams, jellies and preserves to support year-round local offerings. During the shmitah year, when Pearlstone plans to take a step back from production farming, we hope to vastly increase our purchasing of other area small farmers’ produce. Putting dollars in the pockets of small local farmers is one of the best things we can do to support the local food industry.

Stay tuned for more exciting farm-to-table developments at Pearlstone, such as seasonal outdoor farm feasts, sustainable simcha offerings, and a line of home-made locally sourced products for sale in our gift shop.

Enjoy this winter side dish:
collard greens

Steamed Collard Greens
Wash one bunch collards and cut into one inch strips – you can trim the base of the leaves but keep the thick ribs intact.
Place in large covered pot with one inch water in bottom.
Steam  covered for 20-25 minutes or until center ribs are tender.
Drain liquid and add butter, lemon, maple syrup (optional) and salt and pepper to taste.



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Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Sunday, September 14
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Super Sunday

Join us at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC (5700 Park Heights Avenue) for the 2015 Super Sunday Community Phone-a-thon in support of The Associated’s Annual Campaign. Volunteers are invited to work together to help raise $1 million to care for the vulnerable, strengthen Jewish community and advocate on behalf of Israel. This year’s Super Sunday will feature the launch of The Associated’s #100DayChallenge, an initiative encouraging the community to make their pledges by December 31. A matching grant has been secured for all new and increased pledges during this time period.
There will also be a children’s area, where youngsters can color cards for Israeli soldiers and listen to PJ Library books.

Sunday, September 14
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Public Opening: The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen

mendes cohen exhibit
Explore the story of Baltimore’s Mendes Cohen – part Forrest Gump, part Indiana Jones and probably the most remarkable Baltimorean about whom you’ve never heard. Travel through an interactive maze on his life, enjoy interactive activities like recording an argument on a modern day issue and see how Mendes fit into the historical events of the 19th century. This exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street) will run through June 14.

Sunday, September 14
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Family Farm Day

Stop by the Pearlstone Center (5425 Mt. Gilead Avenue) and learn about where your Rosh Hashanah honey comes from. Make beeswax candles to take home, learn about bees and their hives and hear a PJ Library story.

Sunday, September 14
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Rise Above Bullying:  A Program for Children & Their Parents
Join Jewish Community Services at their Owings Mills location in this workshop about bullying aimed at both children and parents. In age appropriate groups, children, six to 13, will discuss bullying, practice CSA-inspired confidence building exercises and learn useful techniques for helping themselves and others.  In a separate group, parents will discuss who, what, when, where and why of bullying and learn how to help children whether they are the victim, a bystander or the bully.

This free program, held at the Owings Mills JCC (3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue) will feature presenters Susan Kurlander, M. Ed., Health Educator, JCS and Jen Lake, Director, Comprehensive Survival Arts (CSA)

Monday, September 15
7:00 p.m.
Israel After Gaza – Media Implosion: Failures in Gaza News Coverage Eric Rozenman, Washington Director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), will discuss the media and its role during this past summer’s Gaza news coverage. Held at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (7401 Park Heights Avenue), the event is sponsored by Baltimore Israel Coalition.

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Jewish Educators Get Their Hands Dirty at Nevatim-Sprouts Conference


By Neely Snyder and Morris Panitz
Pearlstone Center

Imagine the following experience:  A group of students congregate around the school garden for a   lesson on righteous giving or tzedakah. The students have been tending to this garden for several months, and the moment has arrived to finally harvest the fruit of their labor. The students collectively take a moment to recognize all the effort that has gone into this garden, these vegetables, this process.  The teacher suggests that the students donate some of their produce to those who are less fortunate, those who perhaps don’t have access to fresh food.

“But we grew these vegetables– we deserve them,” one student suggests. “How much should we give?  Who should we give to? I’m not sure I know anyone who needs food?” another student replies.

The conversation has begun. Ownership and our responsibility to give have come into conflict.  Discovering a Jewish response is the journey.

What tools are we providing educators in their mission to connect students to the Jewish conversation?

How do we bring to life, in an experiential and hands-on manner, the lifelong questions that fuel our commitment to community?

The Pearlstone Center is holding its fourth annual Nevatim-Sprouts Conference, Sunday, July 13 through Wednesday July 16. This professional development conference brings together early childhood, day school, and religious school educators from around the country for training in Jewish garden and environmental education. Participants learn the basics of educational garden design, share lesson plans and Jewish environmental curricula, tour the state’s premier outdoor classrooms, harvest and prepare farm to table meals, and walk away with the tools, resources and professional network needed to develop Jewish environmental programming at their schools.

This year, in response to past participant feedback, an additional day was added to the conference to provide more opportunities for interactive lesson-plan modeling and group brainstorm. Hands-on sessions explore how to integrate an educational garden into your institution and bring the outside into the classroom to teach about the Jewish calendar, social justice, stewardship and responsibility, among other Jewish values.

Pearlstone’s skilled staff utilize the center’s four-acre organic farm, small animal pasture and trails throughout the conference. Continuing education credits (CEUs) from the Maryland Department of Education are available to participants.

Conference partners this year include the Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education,  RAVSAK, Pardes Institute, The Jewish Montessori Society, United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, Schechter Day School Network, Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism and the PARDeS Day Schools of Reform Judaism.

For additional information, visit pearlstonecenter.org/nevatim.

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Rhythms Of The Jewish Calendar


By Lisa Bodziner
Pearlstone Center

When it comes to summer, words like sun, fun, vacation, NO TEACHERS, baseball games, swimming and BBQ might come to mind when describing the season. On the farm too, we are celebrating; reaping our winter and early spring planting and benefitting from such a plentiful season of fresh produce and earthly delights.

During the heat of the summer, however, we are taught the rhythm of the Jewish calendar. This happens to be a deep time of introspection and mourning. Why, in the height of our fun and joy would we be obligated to mourn?

We are taught that on the 9th of Av (the Hebrew month correlated to late July-August) both our first and second temples were destroyed. As a result, the three weeks, and more specifically, during the nine days leading up to that time, individuals refrain from pleasures in which they are accustomed.  We are taught to question ourselves and our people:  How can we become better people in this world? How can we strengthen our righteous deeds and actions?

In this time of mourning and introspection, a family friend recently passed away. He was a true chalutz, a true pioneer in the land of Israel and in America. He fought in the Six Day War, lived through many years of intense Israeli history and made a life for himself and his family when he moved to America. He was a man of many talents and what he taught his friends and family most was how to always improve your current situation. What he left behind was a reminder that a true fighter always seeks the good and makes the most in sadness or in happiness.

As Jews, we are obligated to celebrate after times of deep mourning and introspection. After we mourn the destruction of the two temples, many people use the time to get married, to celebrate life and return to the heightened excitement of the summer season.

This summer, at Pearlstone, after the mourning in the month of Av, we welcomed 24 families here for our first annual Pearlstone Family Farm camp. One hundred participants from ages 2 months and older, from different denominations and states around the country joined together to honor Jewish unity, farming and peoplehood. From a time of sadness, we moved into something wondrous and groundbreaking.

May you and your families experience and celebrate together our Jewish tradition, Jewish values, culture and land, where everyone has their hand in making greatness and joy from the ground-up, together.

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What To Do This Week In Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by THE ASSOCIATED or ASSOCIATED agencies.

Sunday, June 9
Open Farm Days
1:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Spend this Sunday at the Pearlstone Center monthly for a fun day of friends, farming and festivities. Volunteer alongside other community members and learn about sustainability through hands-on skills workshops such as pickling, cheese-making and composting. Celebrate the seasons, enjoy live entertainment and bring a picnic to eat on the farm.

The event is free. Learn more at pearlstonecenter.org/volunteer/open-farm-days/.

Tuesday, June 11
Business & Professionals Group’s Annual Real Estate Industry Group Event
5:30 p.m.

real estate event
Meet the leaders of the real estate industry at one of the hottest events and spaces in Baltimore. Mill No. 1 is an adaptive reuse of 19th-century cotton mill buildings transformed into a mixed-use project overlooking the Jones Falls stream. Donald Manekin (Union Mill), Bill Struever (Clipper Mill) and David Tufaro (Mill No. 1) will discuss historic revitalization, the Jones Falls area, and much more. Guests are invited to tour the mill after the program.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. Mill No. 1 is located at 3000 Falls Road. The event is $35 in advance; $45 at the door. To register, go to associated.org/reig.

Wednesday, June 12
Lunch Spectacular Series Featuring Ilene Dackman-Alon
11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Learn about oral histories and telling your own story in a new and unique way! Ilene Dackman-Alon from the Jewish Museum of Maryland will present “We Live by Stories: How Stories and Storytelling Transform Our Lives” as part of a lunch series at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC, 5700 Park Heights Avenue.

Event is $8 for JCC Members, $12 for Non-Members For more information, call Sara Shvartzman at 410-500-5903 or register at sshvartzman@jcc.org.

Thursday, June 13
Young Adults Volunteer with Ronald McDonald House
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. or 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Bring sunshine to families and children, undergoing medical treatment, who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House, 635 West Lexington Street. From 5:00 to 5:30 p.m., young adults are invited to bring a dinner dish to prepare in the kitchen. At 6:00 p.m., they will serve dinner and visit with the residents. From 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., volunteers will give parents a break, running an activities hour featuring crafts, board games and other fun projects. Volunteers can sign up for each opportunity separately or stay for the whole evening.

Contact Rebecca Weinstock at rweinstock@associated.org to register or learn more.

Future Events
Sunday, June 16
Clark Kent’s Bar Mitzvah Party
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Superboy becomes Superman! Celebrate the opening of the new movie, “Man of Steel,” with a coming-of-age party of heroic proportions at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd Street. Enjoy music, food, games, prizes and crafts while reminiscing about Clark Kent’s childhood.

The cost to attend is $5 member individuals, $10 non-member individuals, $13 member families and $18 non-member families. Visit jewishmuseummd.org for more information.

Monday, June 17
Adasha: Creative Arts Through a Jewish Lens Summer Institute
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
High school artists, come explore how identity and art intersect! Participants will meet with local Jewish artists to learn about how their Jewish identities have influenced their art. This intensive program will feature group and individual introspective processing and will culminate in a gallery opening at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC.

The program, which will be held at The Park School of Baltimore, 2425 Old Court Road, runs through June 21. Contact Neely Snyder, nsnyder@cjebaltimore.org for more information.

Tuesday, June 18
Screening of “Through the Eye of the Needle: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz”
6:30 p.m
More than 40 years after the Holocaust, Esther Nisenthal Krinitz began creating fabric collage and embroidery panels to tell her story of survival. Esther’s daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, will show and discuss the award winning documentary, “Through the Eye of the Needle,” and the book, Memories of Survival, chronicling her mother’s experiences and artwork.

This free screening will be held at the Myerberg Senior Center, 3101 Fallstaff Road. Go to jewishmuseummd.org for more information.

Wednesday, June 19
THE ASSOCIATED’s 2013 Annual Meeting
5:30 p.m.
Review the challenges and opportunities of the past year, learn about THE ASSOCIATED’s vision for the future and pay tribute to Marc B. Terrill for his decade of service as President of THE ASSOCIATED. Annual meeting will be held at Beth El Congregation, 8101 Park Heights Avenue.

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Pearlstone Apprentices Build A Community


By Ari Witkin
Pearlstone’s Apprenticeship Coordinator

The opportunity to live and work in an immersive Jewish community first drew me to the Pearlstone Center in the winter of 2012. When a few months later conversation about creating a seven-month immersive experience began to percolate, I was ecstatic about the opportunity to be a part of making it come to life.

Today Pearlstone’s Integrated Sustainability Apprenticeship is seven weeks into its inaugural season, and hosts eight fantastic apprentices who are transforming our farm, retreat center and the broader Jewish community with whom we have the pleasure of hosting throughout each year.

The idea itself is quite simple. Eight young adults will live together on the farm, building a community for themselves and bringing new breath and energy to the Pearlstone community as a whole. While here, apprenti (as they are lovingly known) work on the farm and in the retreat center, participate in creative and traditional expressions of Jewish tradition and practice, celebrate Shabbat and holidays together, as well as attend workshops in Jewish education, agricultural skills, team building and leadership development.

In practice, maybe it isn’t so simple. But, in just seven weeks, this first cohort of thinkers, doers, and leaders have risen above the challenge and is a community beyond what we could have expected emerging in Reisterstown, Maryland.

It is hard to say what will emerge in the next five months. Together we will experience the cycle of the seasons and the Jewish calendar. The first fruits of our gardens, the turning of the wheel of our people’s history marked with holy days, the birth of new life in our animal pasture and the consistent return of Shabbat each week. We will work hard and we will celebrate together; we will grow as individuals.

We hope for the opportunity to welcome you to this amazing community as part of one of the many incredible programs and retreats that happen at Pearlstone throughout the year.

For more information on Pearlstone’s Integrated Sustainability Apprenticeship, please visit: pearlstonecenter.org/jobs-apprenticeships/.

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Volunteer, Create, Discover

nurture nature

by Elizabeth Schuman
Senior Women’s Associate

Learn how to make cheese or pickles. Find out how farming and the Bible are connected. Cook a healthy meal and then share the bounty at a homeless shelter. See a working farm. Get to know other ASSOCIATED Women and discover how much more we can accomplish together.

Join us at Nurture Your Nature at Pearlstone Center on Sunday, May 5, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Hosted by ASSOCIATED Women, Nurture Your Nature at Pearlstone is packed with creative volunteering and learning activities, designed to appeal to many interests. “We expect to have fun together, learn, volunteer and help others, all at the same time at Pearlstone, a stunning facility,” says event co-chair Dixie Leikach.

One key aspect, adds Beth Mayers, event-co-chair, is the social justice component, offering women the chance to harvest crops and donate meals prepared that day. “I’d love for those who attend, especially women who are new to THE ASSOCIATED and ASSOCIATED Women, to see how we are here every day of the year to reach out to the community and touch other people’s lives.”

The day provides a chance to learn timeless techniques. “We will be working with our hands, while we are engaged in Jewish learning,” says Dixie.

Both hope that all women will see how Pearlstone’s eco-conscious approach jives with Judaism.  With a farm, animal pasture and retreat center used by groups from around the nation, Pearlstone infuses environmental education with a Jewish bent. In fact, national funding maven Slingshot named Pearlstone one of the country’s most innovative Jewish nonprofits two years in row.

“Pearlstone’s approach is relevant to our world right now,” says Beth. “Right here in Reisterstown, we have a place that focuses on sustainability and community. This event will help our community, nurture our bodies and souls and connect us to one another.”

Here’s what’s in store: Feel-Good, Do-Good: Pick your “faves” and choose your adventure.
• Make a healthy meal that will be donated to a homeless shelter.
• Learn about social justice and the Biblical take on farming and harvesting food.
• Flex your muscle with hands-on farming for spring and summer crops.
• Try your hand at handcrafted cheese, pickles or wine.

Got Goats? Hang with Pearlstone’s friendly goats – many of whom are expecting little ones right about the time of the event. Bring your camera for this photo-op.

Food: Refreshments throughout, plus make-your-own s’mores.

For information and to register, go to associated.org/nature. For more information, contact Carly Frank, cfrank@associated.org or call 410-369-9293.

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