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Summer 2018

New Equipment on the Farm! – by Dalton Griggs

New Equipment on the Farm! 

Guest post by, Dalton Griggs

From the beginning of agriculture, equipment has been used to preform jobs more efficiently. As time has evolved, equipment has as well. New equipment can make a job 10 times more efficient and improve many aspects of a farm as well. The one issue with equipment is emissions. This factor must be considered when choosing to use a machine over a hand tool. This season at The Farm at Stonehill, a Husqvarna mower, with a Honda engine, was purchased to use on the farm and has been a great success.

A man happily pushes a lawnmower across the grassy fields between beds of the Farm
Dalton enjoying his time mowing at the farm!

My History with equipment…

As soon as I was old enough, I have always enjoyed using equipment that has made one’s job easier. In Connecticut, my family owns about 3 acres, and has numerous pieces of equipment to help maintain it. From lawnmowers ranging to brush cutters, I have had numerous experiences with equipment. The new lawn mower at The Farm at Stonehill this season has brought great results, such as weed control, and improving associability between potato and flower rows.

One of a few workers pushes a wheel hoe through the rows of the Farm to keep the winter squash weed free
Dalton’s other great skill this summer was wheel hoeing. This tool and his hard work kept our winter squash very happy – and weed free up through harvest time.

Chainsaw…

For years in Connecticut, we used a light duty chainsaw to cut firewood for our fireplace. The home light chainsaw would struggle to cut maple and oak trees. Once we purchased a medium duty, Stihl Ms 391 Chainsaw, the job was done quick and simple. This showed the job improvement a new piece of equipment can do.

Cost… price vs productivity

When one is purchasing a piece of equipment, one must weigh the price of the equipment and the physical gain. For instance, with the new chainsaw, the amount of gas used is much less, because the new Stihl is quicker and more fuel efficient than the old chainsaw. Despite to cost of the new chainsaw, the benefits of using less gas counteract the expense.

With the Husqvarna lawn mower, grass could be mowed between rows, aiding to reduce weeds and make harvesting produce, especially the potatoes much easier. Numerous daily farm tasks, such as removing potatoes beetles, picking flower bouquets, weeding, and various other tasks are made easier due to the cut weeds and grass from the lawn mower. It appears to be a worth while investment. I currently have a cub cadet push mower, however formerly had a troy built with a Honda engine lawn mower. The Honda engine does seem to hold up very well. The one we had lasted roughly eight years, mowing a good 6 hours every week.

One of a few workers pushes a wheel hoe through the rows of the Farm to keep the winter squash weed free
Dalton’s other great skill this summer was wheel hoeing. This tool and his hard work kept our winter squash very happy – and weed free up through harvest time.

Lawn mowing tricks…

I have many years of experience with power equipment, from maintaining to operating, I have developed many methods to help get the job done. I never really thought about my mowing methods, until this year at The Farm at Stonehill.

Pertaining to push mowers, I tend to pop the front wheels off the ground when raising the deck quickly, very helpful when avoiding rocks, and drip tape (at the farm). If one shifts their weight to the back of the machine, it is helpful to turn around. Is also great to add fuel additives prior to mowing. This helps to reduce ethanol residue in the fuel lines. This helps to extend the life of the equipment. Corns leads to the issue of Food Justice, should corn be used to be added to gasoline or used to provide food. Unfortunately, almost all corn is modified some bit, GMO’s have been proved to be unhealthy. This leads to why I want to work at The Farm at Stonehill.

A man in a cowboy hat holds a sugar snap pea between two fingers to show it off to the camera
Sugar Snap Pea, anyone?

The improvement of the farm overall…

As previously mentioned, a new piece of equipment can greatly improve a farm overall. From weeding, harvesting, and finding potatoes beetles, a lawn mower greatly improves a farm. It is amazing to see how all the tasks can be improved by just a simple piece of equipment.

Why I farm…

I have always had an interest in the outdoors, from when I was a young boy in Canton CT. I am an avid fisherman and love all things outdoors, including hiking and kayaking. My family has had a large garden as well, helping to fuel my love of gardening and growing produce.

A few people gather at a wooden picnic table to keep yellow buckets of veggies cool in the shade on a market day
Summer farmer, Shelby, a regular visitor from the community, Dick Costa and Summer farmer and author, Dalton keep veggies cool in the shade on a market day.

I went to school at Northwest Catholic H.S., located in West Hartford CT. Being close to Hartford, we had many programs that would help people in the community. My interest in helping others and love of the outdoors is why I am at The Farm at Stonehill. It is great to enjoy something, while helping others in the greater community. By growing food for those in need, one is making a big difference when healthy produce can be accessible. This is important to the community and myself because fresh vegetables is a healthy choice for meals. It is important to help others in one’s community because a little help can greatly change someone’s life. I am thankful to be able to make a difference by providing fresh produce to those in need at The Farm at Stonehill!

Categories
Community Community Partners Fall 2011 Fall Harvest 2011 Fall Projects 2011 Fall Volunteers 2011 Our Vision Summer Harvest 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

Harvest Time Made Easy by Volunteers

We are still very busy bringing in the harvest at The Farm! 

photo of carrots and carnival squash
Carrots and carnival squash, freshly picked and ready for delivery.

Thanks to up to 50 weekly student and staff volunteers leek, tomatoes, carrots, kale, bok choi, kale and even sweet potatoes are filling up our harvest bins and the tables of our partners.

photo of students washing carrots
Three students, many carrots!

Last week when Beth came to pick up for My Brother’s Keeper we filled every last bit of space – even the front passenger seat – in her cargo van with our vegetables. We are happy to see veggies like winter squash, kale and leeks all being sent out together and have high hopes that they will soon be cooked together into a delicious and healthy soup.

Harvesting Leeks photo
Fall harvest of our Tandora Leeks.
photo of a leek
Many roots to grow a healthy leek. A couple of leeks to cook a flavorful dish.

We welcome students and staff to join us on Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons to ensure a plentiful and diverse mix of produce for The Table at Father Bill’s and MainSpring and the Old Colony YMCA.

photo of volunteers
Sun or showers, the volunteers are an essential ingredient to our healthy farm.

After we harvest, we weigh, wash and pack the produce… smiling all the way.

Sorting Sugar Pie Pumpkins
Volunteers Weighing and Sorting Sugar Pie Pumpkins

We were happy to welcome a few Stonehill Alumni this past Saturday and welcome all local Alums, Staff and Students to consider joining us on Friday afternoons between 2:00 PM and 5:30 PM until the frost of fall arrives.

photo of group bagging greens
Baby Bok Choi and Kale: Weighed and packed up for delivery to Old Colony YMCA.

See you soon at The Farm!

For more information on how you can volunteer at the farm please email our volunteer coordinator Erin: ecobb@students.stonehill.edu

 

Categories
Community Our Vision Summer 2011 Summer Cultivation 2011 Summer Harvest 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

Hooray for “Into The Streets” Day!

photo of clourse clearing after the storm
Clearing skies after Hurricane Irene blew through town.

We were lucky at The Farm as Hurricane Irene whipped through the area last weekend. Sadly, many other farms in the northeast cannot say the same.  Many farms in Vermont have suffered a great deal and a number of relief funds have been set up to help them recover.  You can learn more about some of the damages and how to help here.

Our only major damage at our farm occurred out in the rows of German Cavern tomatoes, which were unable to stand up to the wind and rain.  On Monday morning, the most southern row had blown over a bit…

Weighed down by heavy fruit, some of our German Cavern tomato plants were unable to stand up to the heavy winds and rain of Hurricane Irene.

 …but thanks to our visit that afternoon from students participating in Stonehill’s “Into The Streets” (ITS) service program, even that problem was soon remedied.

photo of ITS - tomato stakes
Student volunteers participating in the college’s Into the Streets program helped stand our tomato plants back up.

Student Farmer Michelle and I welcomed over 40 freshmen participating in ITS day.

Our ITS day farmers!

They helped us harvest tomatoes, summer squash, turnips and beets…

Two students spent some of their time picking Sun Gold Tomatoes at The Farm.

…wash freshly harvested produce…

Giving the freshly harvested turnips a good rinse.

…and weed four 200 foot rows of carrots.

Students help us weed many carrots!

We are happy that the students of Stonehill have returned and welcome you all to come join us as we plant, weed, harvest and deliver our organic produce. 

You can fill out the information form found under the “Volunteer” tab on this blog, email us, or stop by.

All of us weeding the carrots.

A huge thank you to all of the organizers and students who participated in ITS Day!

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See you all at the farm soon.