Year-Round Food: Backyard Bioshelter Greenhouse Workshop – November 15, 2014

With Jonathan Bates of Food Forest Farm & Special Guest Eric Toensmeier

Click Here for Registration

Forget the cold! Come learn with us in the sub-tropics of Western Massachusetts! That’s right we have a piece of Florida in our backyard and we’d love to share it with you.

During the October 2011 snow storm, a tree fell on our greenhouse. Instead of mourning the loss, we realized an opportunity to build a bigger better BIOSHELTER!

Bioshelters are passive solar greenhouses, that produce… (MORE)

Permaculture FEAST article on

For folks in Western Massachusetts who’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to take a permaculture design course, this article is a fantastic introduction to Permaculture FEAST.

Permaculture FEAST to offer 12-day course on design in Holyoke

The Paradise Lot garden site is an integral outdoor learning lab during the course!

Discounted early bird registration ends August 1st!


Create your own Paradise Lot: Food Tasting and Workshop


April 26, 2014 | Holyoke, MA | 10am to 4pm (does not include meals or accommodations)
Cost per person: $120

Spend a day with Jonathan Bates & Eric Toensmeier, the co-designers and managers of the garden that inspired the book Paradise Lot.

We will tour the garden and sample the vegetables and fruit that are in season. In spring you may taste the early Perennial Vegetables like seakale, turkish rocket, wild leek, toothwort, hablitzia READ MORE AND REGISTER…

Tours and Workshops at Paradise Lot

tourstours 2

Eric and I are very busy with our businesses this time of year. We are also super excited to show you how the garden is coming along. If you are interested in attending one of our onsite events this year, or come take an informational tour, we’d love to have you join us!

For more information, go to the:

Tour Signup Page

or, Upcoming Events Page

See you in the Garden!

Cooking from the bioshelter

We got snowed in this weekend, plus it was Jonathan’s birthday.  What better thing to do than cook lots of food?  And what better food to cook than food fresh from the bioshelter?

Saturday night Eric and I brainstormed a magnificent Thai-inspired coconut fish soup.  Eric made his trademark sticky rice to go with it.  We used chicken broth, grated ginger and galangal, winter squash, potatoes, tilapia and vietnamese catfish (which we will soon be raising ourselves!), salty little shrimp, and fish sauce.  Right at the end we dumped in a bowl of greens from the bioshelter, including tatsoi and purple mustard.  Each person added their own toppings of ground peanuts, hot sauce, sardines, and our own fresh cilantro.  Fantastic.  And fun.  A bunch of friends came over to share the bounty and be cozy in the blizzard.  Oh, and we made a local blueberry pie for dessert.  Oh yeah.

I was still feeling the cooking bug today, so I created a homemade polenta casserole.  I had never made polenta myself before and it was much easier than I thought it would be.  While I was stirring the polenta, I sent Jonathan out to the greenhouse for a pound of mixed greens.  He came back with a bounty of ethiopian kale and tree collards.  I quickly blanched the greens, chopped them up, and mixed them with ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, cayenne, salt and pepper.  I dumped half the polenta in the bottom of a baking pan, then spooned on the cheese and greens filling, and then topped it with the remaining polenta and some cheese for good measure.  All baked up it tasted so good!  At the last minute I made a quick tomato soup to go with it.  Yummmm.

The bioshelter is so good for our stomachs and souls this time of year!  Viva Paradise Lot!