Last week, both interns and volunteers gave their helping hands to begin with the planting of peas (sweet peas too!). Rest assured, it wasn’t just little peas we spoke about…
Lately, it’s been raining so much!
Myself, along with other spring interns, have recently spent a lot of time inside BiHall’s greenhouse due to the weather. We’ve done some seeding and experimented with new soil. We seeded tomatoes last week and already have seen germination!
However, we’ve noticed a couple rows that haven’t been as successful. This led to interesting conversations about the functions of a greenhouse and how BiHall architecture ties in. Something many BiHall visitors don’t know is that the greenhouse only gets sunlight from the south side of the building, rather than from all sides. Also, Ross buildings block the morning and evening sunlight. The more you know!
We’re expecting sunny days next week and eagerly awaiting new fruit trees!
To get a taste of all that Addison (and Rutland) County farms have to offer, Jay took us to Golden Russet Farm in Shoreham, Elmer Farm in East Middlebury, and Foggy Meadow Farm in Benson.
Golden Russet, run by Will and Judy Stevens, has been certified organic for almost 30 years! They grow delicious veggies and beautiful flowers for their CSA and various farmer’s markets.
Elmer Farm is a certified organic farm in East Middlebury that has been around for roughly ten years or so. Lucky for us, Spencer and Jennifer took time out of their busy schedules managing not only their expansive farm but their family too to show us around. Tucked away at the base of the mountains, Elmer Farm is a lovely plot of land with rich soil and lots of nice people working the land to produce carrots, peas and everything in between. We learned a lot about organic farming methods and both the challenges faced and successes awarded to small-scale organic farms. Elmer farm sells at the co-op and their beets are delicious- we highly recommend checking them out!
Foggy Meadow Farm, a gorgeous 5+ acre plot meticulously taken care by Paul Horton, has been around for about 10 years. While Paul grows the usual variety of veggies during the summer and fall, winter is his biggest season. He grows TONS of root veggies for cold storage and salad+mesclun greens in his heated greenhouses during the harsh winter months.
Emma is a rising sophomore feb here at Middlebury who enjoys all things food, farming and french. Emma got involved with organic gardening at a vegetable garden in New Canaan, Connecticut where she spent her mornings working in the garden and afternoons at the local food pantry. Her spirit animal is a bunny and her favorite gardening activity is planting flowers. Emma’s spirit vegetable is the sugar snap pea. Emma is pisces, her favorite color is blue because she is an enthusiastic supporter of the Middlebury Panthers. Emma loves granola bars. Emma’s idol is Jay Leshinsky.
Asher is a rising sophomore feb from Lyme, NH. He is a proud Aries and finds that his star sign often dictates his day-to-day decisions and habits. Please don’t use this info to exploit his weaknesses, it will work. When at the garden his favorite activity is contemplative weeding, usually with a plastic bucket to sit comfortably. He grew up on a small farm with vegetables, sheep, chickens and honey bees and is excited to continue his small scale farming career here in Middlebury. On the weekends, Asher enjoys making short films and recently took up the sport of amateur squash. He also enjoys building things that he does not have. See him riding his bamboo bike, his longboard, or perhaps his surfboards if it rains enough. He is a fan of free food, so if there are summer events he can crash, let him know! Asher’s idol is Jay Leshinsky.
Mike, from South Jersey, will be a Junior feb when he returns to Midd in the spring. He enjoys admiring the tomatoes and nibbling on colorful chard leaves as a rejuvenating snack. Mike runs hurdles for the Varsity Track and Field team, works as the Chief Procurement Officer for Middlebury Foods, and shoots film photography of his friends in action. His favorite spirit animal is a wolf, and he thoroughly enjoys the color blue. Mike’s fondest farming memory is watching Emma and Asher step on, and be stung by, a bee while walking through its clover forage. He is excited to learn about the dynamic food system of Addison County and the fundamentals of organic farming. His idol is Dan Campbell of the Philadelphia-based pop punk band The Wonder Years. Fun fact: Mike has not received a haircut in one year and one month and doesn’t plan on receiving one anytime soon. His other idol is Jay Leshinsky.
Claudia is a rising junior from NYC. She is a Political Science major and Spanish minor. She will only be here for part of the summer because soon she will start a whole year abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is also working as one of the Weybridge Preservation Interns this summer to get ready for next year’s yummy meals. Her spirit animal is a cross between an otter and a house cat and her favorite color is sea foam green because it was the color of her baby blanket that she kept for way too long. She decided to work on the farm because she loves to be outside and because she wants to get as much sun as possible before going to the Southern Hemisphere, where winter has just started (noooo!). Claudia’s idol is Jay Leshinsky.
Kate is a rising junior Feb from Annapolis Maryland. When she is not hard at work at the Middlebury College Organic Farm, Kate enjoys hiking, cooking, swimming, reading, doing puzzles and eating watermelon on her front porch. She also considers herself to be an avid tomato enthusiast and is conducting a study this summer on the effects of biochar (an agricultural waste derived soil amendment with potential as a sustainable carbon fixation method) on tomato plant growth. Her spirit vegetable is the walla walla onion, because though on the surface she may appear to be rather shy, she is actually very complex and has many layers in addition to being quite sweet. Kate’s idol is Jay Leshinsky.
Summer 2016 has started off with a bang! We are lucky to get some rain after a long streak of super dry heat – our plants were thirsty. So far we’ve already gotten a ton planted, including: Okra, beans, squash, melons, cucumbers, spinach, chard, onions, leeks, strawberries, raspberries, lettuce, sweet and regular potatoes, garlic, and lots of flowers. We’ll be planting some brasicas soon and getting some more beds set. In the hoop house we have some tomatillos that are growing fast, and even more lettuce, parsley, and cilantro that was recently seeded.
From August 17-28, we will have our annual farm stand out on the farm. Please stop by if you would like to purchase fresh veggies! We will be open from 12-4pm on weekdays. We will be selling tomatoes, onions, garlic, flowers, herbs, zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, beans, broccoli, peppers, beets, and much more! We cannot accept cards so please bring cash.
It’s been a while since we’ve been out on the blog, but it’s raining (finally!!) and we’re back! While we’ve been harvesting quite a few tomatoes, zucchini, chard and collards, the lack of rain is starting to get to us. The lack of rain is turning the soil to dust and the zucchini are slowing down as there is only so much irrigation that we can do. Not to mention, the chicken coop bean trellis (aka Club Zucchini) is at a standstill.
The amount of ground water that is expended in irrigating crops can skyrocket quickly. This can be seen in how little a two gallon watering can wet the ground. With overhead irrigation we are able to soak the topsoil, while two gallon cans can only soak the top fraction of an inch at a time. You could imagine how many two gallon cans would be necessary to do the same damage. Everyday water use from washing vegetables (10 gallons per wash tub) and ground irrigation capable of dispensing hundreds of gallons of water in hours, means that any opportunity to cut water consumption is greatly appreciated. Not to mention Mother Nature can do a much better job than we could hope to do. Naturally available consistent coverage and soft water as opposed to hard ground water make a good rainstorm the best watering we could hope for.