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Summer 2017 The Farm at Stonehill

Alex – Things Truly Do Happen For A Reason

Three people stand in the grassy fields, the middle one holding two bundles of bright flowers
Alex, Brian Kennedy, C.S.C, and Gianna enjoy a little break post harvest during the warm summer days.

 

When entering the 2016-2017 school year, farming was probably one of the last things on my mind. I had signed up to take Sustainable Agriculture with Bridget as an elective, just because I thought it looked interesting. Little did I know, four months later I would be begging to travel join Bridget and Candice in Italy with their Origin of Resources LC, and eventually becoming part of the Summer Farm Team. Becoming part of the Summer Farm Team was one of the best decisions I have ever made and the year could not have played out more perfectly than it did. Things truly do happen for a reason.

Four Camp Shriver visitors join an older worker to harvest cucumbers and gather them into a yellow bucket
Alex and some of our Camp Shriver visitors harvest cucumbers on a cool day in July.

When Summer began, I did not know what to expect. I had volunteered at the farm throughout the year, but a full-time position was a whole different ball game. The first few weeks were cold and were filled with hard work. We planted hundreds of crops, made hundreds of holes and pounded hundreds of stakes. While the work sounds tough (it was), it wasn’t at the same time. While accomplishing all of this hard work, I was surrounded by some of the most kind-hearted people you will ever meet. Bridget, Celia, Gianna, Jackie, Melissa and Michelle. These fellow farmers made the work not seem so hard, they made if fun and easy. Bridget’s amazing outlook and attitude towards everyday makes you want to put your heart into everything and it is truly inspiring.

A yellow bucket fill of yellow squash sits among rows of large leafy green crops in the Farm
Lots of good lifting gets done at the farm!  Come on by to get a work out anytime!

Bridget is no doubt a great leader and an even more incredible person. She would constantly buy us iced coffees or frozen yogurt just to make our days that much better. She brought us to here barre classes and truly made us a part of her daily life. I also am a now a regular attendee of barre, and I am the only male so if males are reading this, support Bridget and come to barre! When Bridget wasn’t around, she left Michelle in charge. Michelle is a graduate and was a great leader for us. I may not act like it Michelle, but I look up to you and you would make an excellent assistant farm manager! The rest of us crew members did various different things and all contributed to the positive attitude and outlook that the team had every day. It really made this year fun and an amazing experience. If you don’t know the farmers, you should get to know them and become one yourself.

A panorama of three team members working together on the floor of the shed to gather veggies in yellow buckets and pack them for the market
The Summer Team harvests and packs veggies for the market.

Being a Summer farmer also helped me learn many new things. Things I thought I would never know, I now do. I never thought I would learn all of these types of tomatoes, cucumbers or squash. I never thought I would squeeze potato beetles bare hand, but I did and I began to enjoy it. I may have even learned how to cook? The farm included so many questions, so many bugs, so many memories. I am saddened that the Summer has come to a close, but I will return to the farm throughout my senior year (which is bittersweet). To a Summer I will never forget, thank you!

-Alex Pica

Two people use scuffle hoes to weed the Blue Corn plants
Michelle and Alex use scuffle hoes to weed our Blue Corn – brought to us by Prof. Warren Dahlin who participated in an H.O.P.E. trip in the Southwest.
Categories
Greenhouse Summer 2011 Summer Cultivation 2011 Summer Harvest 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

Harvesting the Colors of Summer

Colors are filling the fields and our harvest bins at The Farm.  Mornings like this it is hard to picture a more beautiful place to be. The dew dances on the leaves of our crops and the rich reds, oranges and yellows of our tomatoes, pumpkins, and sunflowers start to take on their day-lit splendor.

photo of sunflower
A Sunflower wakes up with the sun.

We are currently harvesting crops like carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage…

photo of brian ready for harvest
Brian grabs a bin to go pick cucumbers.

… and taking care of our fall seedlings that we hope will keep us harveting in the fields through October.

photo of baby lettuce
Baby lettuce in our greenhouse awaits its moment to be planted in the field.

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photo of baby kale
Young kale with its light coat of morning dew.

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photo of baby bok  choy
Baby Komatsuna (bok choi) is ready to take their place in the fields.

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Last week we dug into the weeds in our winter squash field and were pleasantly surprised to find some sugar pie pumpkins already ready for harvest and delicata, carnival and butternut squash not too far behind.

photo of pumpkins
Sugar Pie Pumpkins: some are green... some are orange!

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Delicata squash
Delicata squash: almost ready for harvest.

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photo of carnival squash
Carnival squash: just a couple more weeks!

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We are pleased by the tomatoes that are starting to come out of the fields. Some, like the Rose de Berne, are as “pretty as a peach”…

photo of rose de berne
Rose de Berne: a sweet, flavorful heirloom variety.

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photo of striped german tomato
Some of Striped German Tomatoes are ripening up!

 

photo of a 2 pound striped german tomato
This Striped German tomato weight just about 2 pounds.

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photo of german cavern tomatoes
German Cavern Tomatoes, another heirloom variety, boxed up and ready for delivery.

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We are delighted to also be providing our partners with that include greens, cabbage, peppers, radishes and carrots!

photo of chard ready for harvest
Chard: harvest ready.

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photo of cabbage
Yum! Cabbage!

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Sweet Apple Pimento and Purple Islander Bell Peppers.
Sweet Apple Pimento and Purple Islander Bell Peppers.

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photo of radishes and carrots
Rainbow Carrots and a some Red Rudolf Radishes are coming in.

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Our staff and volunteers continue to play a critical role in keeping the weeds at bay, harvesting and delivering the veggies and flowers to our partners and customers. Please join us and take home a few sweet cheery tomatoes as a reward!

photo of Brian harvesting cukes
Brian harvests the last of this season's cucumbers.
photo of delivery to MBK
Tomatoes, greens, basil and cabbage: all packed up and en route to My Brother's Keeper.

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We are looking forward to this harvesting our fall crops, including leeks, winter squash, more tomatoes, parsnips and greens.

Zinnias are still going strong.

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View of the farm looking west from the rows of Striped German Tomatoes.

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In morning dew, midday heat or in the glow of sundown, many of the colors (and fruits) of the farm are harvest ready.

photo of leeks
Leaves of the leeks in early morning light.

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bouquet of flowers
Farm Flower Bouquet

 

 

Categories
Community Green Cabbage: From Seed to Table Greenhouse Summer 2011 Summer Cultivation 2011 Summer Harvest 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

Tomatoes: The Perfect (Summer) Gift!

Tomatoes are the perfect gift.

Some of them “come in small packages”…

photo of juliet tomatoes
Juliet tomatoes – a sweet small plum tomato variety – growing at The Farm.

… and other, larger varieties, sweetly satisfy the saying that “Good things come to those who wait!”

photo of green German Cavern Tomatoes
One of our large heirloom variety of tomatoes, German Cavern, green and soon to be orange with red stripes.

We have three sweet, delicious varieties of cherry tomatoes – Sun Gold, Be My Baby, and Red Pearl – that we are currently harvesting and 7 larger varieties that will be coming out of the fields and appearing on the tables of our partners very soon.

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In July we harvested and delivered over 3,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to our partners in Brockton from our fields. We are excited to see what  August brings!

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We have had some extra help from volunteer groups over the past few weeks including student leaders from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).

photo of MIAA Volunteers
Happy volunteers from MIAA! They had so much fun that they are coming back next week with more helpers.

They helped weed beans and flowers to ensure healthy harvests of those two crops, and also picked a few veggies for us including cucumbers and zucchini.

photo of pickling cuke
National Pickling Cucumber – one of the types of veggies that MIAA volunteers helped us harvest.

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There are many other mid-season veggies and even fruits that are coming out of the fields these days.

They include Islander (Purple) Peppers…

photo of purple pepper
Islander Bell Pepper

… Apple Pimento Peppers …

Photo of apple pimento pepper
Sweet Apple Pimento Pepper

… “Luscious” and “Brocade” bi-color Sweet Corn …

photo of sweet corn
Luscious Sweet Corn

… and after many months: Green Cabbage.  These seeds were among our first planted on March 17, 2011 in the basement of the Holy Cross Center.  One more step – to the table – for this crop, and we’ll have tracked its entire progression from seed to table!

photo of green cabbage, ready for harvest
Green Cabbage, Storage No. 4, ready for harvest!

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This past week we also harvests 4 varieties of potatoes including Yukon Gold, Purple, Kennebec, and Dark Red Norland.  It was a lot of work, but rewarding as we weighed our harvest and learned that we had pulled just over 150 pounds from a 125 foot row that day!

photo of potato harvest
Farm Staff Brian and Ryan, one of our volunteers, harvest potatoes.

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It is hard to believe that many veggies, like lettuce, fall root crops, fall broccoli, baby bok choy and others are just starting to grow into healthy, field worthy seedlings in our greenhouse.  We will continue to monitor them and plant them when the time comes to ensure a continued, and plentiful harvest into October.

photo of seedlings
Baby Bok Choy, Kale, and other fall greens getting started in the greenhouse.

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We are excited to also be pulling sweet, refreshing, Watermelon from the fields over the next couple of weeks to share some fresh, summer treat with our partners at Father Bill’s and Mainspring, the Old Colony YMCA and My Brother’s Keeper.

photo of watermelon
Baby watermelon almost ready for harvest.
Categories
Greenhouse Spring 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

The Most Beautiful Greenhouse

In under two weeks the greenhouse is up and running!

photo of chuck and Bridget standing in front of the greenhouse
Chuck and I stand in front of the completed greenhouse!

 

 

On May 2, 2011 we completed the greenhouse with help from 4 of Facilities Management’s finest: Paul, Bob, Tim and Shamus.

 

We rolled out the plastic, hoisted it over the frame and stretched it tight to create a space for all of our seedlings to grow.

 

 

Photo of Tim and the greenhouse
Greenhouse plastic rolled out beside Tim.

 

photo of plastic going up with bob
Bob helps us pull the plastic up and over the greenhouse frame.

 

bob and paul hold the plastic in place as we stretch it
Bob and Paul hold the plastic in place as we attach it to the frame.

 

photo of Shamus and plastic stretched against the frame
Shamus holds plastic in place... Almost done!

 

Photo of the greenhouse.. profile
All done and ready for use!

 

The very next day, Ken helped me move our seedlings over from across the street. They were happy to come out into the well lit, warm space after weeks under lights in the basement of Holy Cross Center.

 

photo of cucumbers, zucchini, peppers and tomato seedlings in the greenhouse
The cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper and tomato seedlings were happy to move up into the greenhouse.

 

Come visit us anytime. We think you’ll agree that it is the most beautiful, and well-built greenhouse you have every seen!

Thank you Chuck for all of your hard work and leadership on this project.

Photo of Greenhouse under a rainbow!

Our greenhouse glows under a rainbow a few days later as it protects the seedlings from passing showers and thunderstorms.