Alliance Historic Model Farm - 2023
2023 Season has begun!
In 2022 ACRe was awarded a Salem County History Grant to build the Alliance Historic Model Farm.
After a successful and fun first season in 2022, we are gearing up again for more gardening education in Spring 2023.
With gratitude, this year we received funding for general operations through the 2023 Salem County History Re-Grant program.
You can follow our progress on Instagram and Facebook.
See the webpage for our previous season of Alliance Historic Model Farm 2022.
Sammy Levin learns about the history of tobacco in Alliance with Nicholas Mesiano Jr.
Pittsgrove Township, NJ is the site of the Alliance Colony, the first Jewish farming community in America, established in 1882. In researching primary sources we learned which crops were cultivated by the settlers in the late 1800s—grapes, watermelons, sweet potatoes, blackcaps and berry bushes, among others— including those grown by community leader Moses Bayuk on the land surrounding his austere manor atop the hill at Gershal and Shiff Avenues. On this very site, ACRe built the Alliance Historic Model Farm in 2022, incorporating the same fruits and vegetables grown by the Jewish settlers of Alliance 5 generations ago, and provided educational tours in partnership with Stockton University and the Alliance Heritage Center.
Meet the Model Farm Team
ACRe Farm Educator
Longtime Alliance resident and ACRe board member Howard Jaffe has many years of diverse farming experience in South Jersey and Israel. He studied Food Processing Technology at State University of New York, and received his Associate Arts Degree in Horticulture at University of Santa Fe Community College in 1978.
Experimental Farm Network
When we asked Nate if he wanted to grow the original crops the Alliance settlers cultivated at the end of the 19th century, using their actual old tools, Nate said "HELL YES." Nate is a history buff with a passion for organic and heirloom seeds which he has gathered from around the world, and is planting in Alliance!
He thought he would end up far away from Alliance, but the draw of bucolic farm life pulled Nick back in. Now he has mastered growing ornamental flowers among other crops, and continues to help us with our Model Farm.
The Four Gardens
Dedicated to the crops and methods grown by the settlers of Alliance in 1882. Common produce were sweet potatoes, blackberries, grapes, watermelon and more.
We are growing varieties of vegetables that are integral to the Passover seder meal as celebrated in the countries and traditions of the Alliance settlers and their patrons. Horseradish is common for maror, the bitter herb. Parsley is used for karpas here in America, but in Germany it is common to use radishes.
Herbs and spices for healing and Jewish rituals. The fragrant spices are called besamim in Hebrew. Lemon balm and shiso mint are two herbs that grow wild here in Alliance NJ.
A tribute to the little known history of tobacco in Alliance. The settlers built a cigar factory at the corner of Gershal and Eppinger Aves and called it "Castle Garden" for the immigration station in Battery Park Manhattan where they arrived in the United States in 1881. And Alliance leader Moses Bayuk's sons Max, Meyer and Sam founded Bayuk Brothers Cigar Company in Philadelphia at the turn of the century.
Heard it through the grapevine
We first experimented with a raised Hugelkultur garden bed in our cold-frames in 2020-21, and had great success in 2022. We grew tobacco, strawberries, horseradish and a variety of herbs.
Here is a short Instagram video of us building the cold-frame garden beds in 2018. We used old wood pallets, replaced house windows and wood from 100-year old chicken coops on the property.
1. Rotting wood
The wood decomposes over time, releasing nutrients into the soil and retaining moisture so very little watering is required.
2. Dead leaves
Fills around the wood to speed up the decomposition.
This will be very healthy soil with plenty of microbiology!
We thank Espoma for sponsoring our Model Farm with compost and other soil amendments! Espoma have supported our garden projects since our beginning in 2016.
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, through the Salem County Board of County Commissioners & The Salem County Cultural & Heritage Commission.