The heat of things has cooled down and we’ve planted many cool weather crops on the small farm unit. Most of the farm is in production for research and for our educational experience.
We’ve spent a lot time learning about research techniques and pest management in our Baker Creek and Carolina Farm Steward Association (CFSA) vegetable variety trials research projects. Our CFSA research project is a blind study broccoli variety trial. The only data that we have access are our border rows of Waltham and that there are 6 different types of broccoli in the trial. Each week, we collect data for size, quality, firmness, and marketability. In the end, we package the broccoli for ourselves or for our Young Families Connect cooking class with Wayne County Extension.
When we’re not collecting data for our variety trials, we are tending to our beautiful fall field. We’re growing lettuce, collards, kale, turnips, spring onions, carrots, and beets. Unwanted and unidentified visitors enjoy munching on our collards so we’re a bit annoyed by that. However, we still value the abundant harvest we get each week!
Most farmers spend all week on their farms but thanks to the awesome programming, we are encouraged to visit other farms as well as volunteer in the community. Since coming to CEFS, I learned so much about institutional research and land grant universities that I organized a personal field trip to visit the University of the District of Columbia’s 143 acre agricultural research station in Beltsville MD. The staff of the CAUSES College were very hospitable and took me and a few hometown friends on a tour of their farm.
Prior to coming to CEFS,I was totally unaware that you could grow rice in America, North Carolina or Maryland. For the first time in my life, I planted and harvested rice. We grew Carolina Gold rice, a historically high commodity rice grown by slaves in South Carolina. Rice was of such high demand that in 1691 the South Carolina Assembly passed an act that allowed colonies to pay their taxes in rice.
Muirkirk Farm grew dryland rice to test feasibility of growing on small scale production with different. Our rice was in our home garden (a small demonstration garden where we experiment with growing ethnic variety crops and use bio-intensive methods). We planted our rice earlier this year and harvested in October.I learned that you don’t always need swampy water to grow rice. You can grow rice in a field with drip irrigation. Also, we did not have any issues with pest.
Things are wrapping up here. We’ve just celebrated CEFS 20th Anniversary with the Soilbration!, concluding our community projects, and packing up our final CSA shares for our cooking classes. Goldsboro has been quite a treasure for me! I’m looking forward to continuing my journey in organic food production with all that I’ve learned here at CEFS! Thanks to all!
For more information on UDC’s Muirkirk Farm: http://www.udc.edu/docs/causes/2013%20Muirkirk%20Farm.pdf and http://udc-causes.blogspot.com/2014/06/all-about-muirkirk-farm.html
Carolina Gold Rice History: http://ricediversity.org/outreach/educatorscorner/documents/Carolina-Gold-Student-handout.pdf