To Everything There is a Season…

A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to laugh, a time to weep. A time for unexpected frost, a time for nutsedge (apparently). A time to cast away weeds, a time to gather greens together.

It has been a busy several weeks since our last post. As with almost anything, and perhaps more than with most things, farming comes with the unexpected and obstacles will inevitably arise. Several weeks ago a two night cold snap damaged a significant portion of our plants in both our Spring field and our Baker Creek seed trial field despite row cover protection. Some of the cauliflower and other brassicas were damaged beyond repair. Fortunately the vast majority of our plants survived and have bounced back quite nicely.

Baker Creek Seed Spring field trial.

Baker Creek Seed Spring field trial.

The other major obstacle recently regards the return of the nutsedge in our Spring field. Last Spring the apprentices blogged about their nutsedge problem, and again, despite efforts to minimize the return of the invasive and pervasive weed, it is back with a vengeance. For those unfamiliar with nutsedge, on the surface it looks like a little innocent grass, but it does it’s devilish work beneath the soil. The grass-like sprouts grow up from tubers (or nutlets) that also have the ability to spew out rhizomes, which are underground stems capable of producing new shoots and roots. As a result of its sneaky attributes, nutsedge can and will spread like wildfire, and it has done just that in our Spring field. It is difficult enough to control with conventional methods, so organic control is beyond painstaking and involves attempting to pull the plants up by hand or hoe in the hopes that you get most of the nutlet/rhizome/root system.

Supposed to be a row of carrots- if you can spot carrot sprouts amongst the henbit and nutsedge, you have a good eye.

Supposed to be a row of carrots- if you can spot carrot sprouts amongst the henbit and nutsedge, you have a good eye.

Uprooted nutsedge with unusually weed-free carrots growing behind.

Uprooted nutsedge with unusually weed-free carrots growing behind.

Of course, in spite of (and due to) the aforementioned hurdles, the last few weeks have been loaded with productivity, learning, and fun. A couple of weeks ago we were able to attend a vegetable grafting workshop put on by CEFS, and even got to attempt some hands-on tomato grafting as well as watermelon to squash grafting. I thoroughly enjoyed the very educational workshop, and especially liked getting to try to do some grafting for my first time.

Me happily trying out some vegetable grafting.

Me happily trying out some vegetable grafting.

A few weeks later- my results to this point: most of the tomatoes were successful; one of my five or so attempts at the watermelon grafting is hanging in/on there.

A few weeks later- my results to this point: most of the tomatoes were successful; one of my five or so attempts at the watermelon grafting is hanging in/on there.

We also recently got the opportunity to attend a workshop and field day on organic certification presented by CCOF. This workshop was also incredibly well done and highly informative with excellent speakers. The field portion was a visit to Down 2 Earth Farms in Rougemont, NC for a tour and mock-inspection. For me personally, the most inspiring part of the day was visiting the farm as it was very much how I envision my own farm being someday.

Jessica and Ray in front of the new barn at Down 2 Earth Farms.

Jessica and Ray in front of the new barn at Down 2 Earth Farms.

There has certainly been plenty of work at our small farm unit as well. Beyond the daily duties, we have been doing a great deal of harvesting greens, lettuces, pak choy, and spinach from our cool-season high tunnel. I’ve always loved most vegetables, but I’m not sure I knew until recently how much I enjoy greens mixes and fresh spinach in particular.

Ready-to-harvest Spretnak lettuce in our cool-season high tunnel.

Ready-to-harvest Spretnak lettuce in our cool-season high tunnel.

Emperor spinach in cool-season high tunnel.

Emperor spinach in cool-season high tunnel.

Also, we recently prepped another one of our high tunnels for tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. That was a multi-step process that involved mowing the winter cover crop of oats, tilling the soil, laying plastic mulch, and putting up a trellising system.

Ready for some tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers!

Ready for some tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers!

Finally, after doing our rotations and getting to try out each of the units at CEFS, we each selected a unit to work with for the remainder of our apprenticeship. Jessica and Ray chose the Systems Unit, Justin chose the Swine Unit, and I chose the Beef Unit.

Happy cows just moved to some fresh, lush rye grass.

Happy cows just moved to some fresh, lush rye grass.

New piglets!

New piglets!

It has been a long week of pulling nutsedge, so for me it is now a time for peace and relaxation.
On that note, I won’t hog the blog anymore. Keep checking in, as there will be much more to come!

~Jamie

Trowels and Tribulations

Justin blog 4Wow, a month has flown by and it’s hard to believe that it is already almost the end of March!  The other apprentices and I are starting to get into the swing of things.  We know some basic daily farm duties that need to get done at the start and end of the day and are starting to become more independent of needing Marisa’s direction every couple of seconds.

This month has been packed full of information and new experiences.  We have learned a variety of new things from an intro to bee keeping , to an intro to berry production, from  pruning classes, to small farm business classes, to tours of the A&T farms, lessons on Soil Science, and classes on Food Justice just to name a few.  All the information being thrown at us is overwhelming at times but even if I only retain half of all that we learn on a daily bases I would be a very lucky man.  It is wonderful to talk to people on a personal level and not to listen behind a desk in a classroom. Due to our small group size we have been afforded one on one attention with top ranking leaders of the agricultural industry.

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The end of winter and beginning of spring is a beautiful but busy time on the farm.   It started out with lots of transplanting.  We have been covering and uncovering lots of plants because temperatures will drop below freezing one day and be hot the next!  Crazy weather!  Finding a dry time to till was next to impossible, we ended up having to compromise and till slightly moist land.  Thankfully the sandy soil drains well so there is not as long of a waiting time for the land to dry up as some people have with more water retaining soils.  The strawberry tunnel has also been producing lots of odd looking fruit, most likely because of the cold weather.  My fiancé (Melissa) came over one weekend while I had farm watch and loved the way they looked calling them “Franken Berries.”  Makes we wonder if a farmer could sell the deformed but otherwise delicious berries to families with children at a farmers market.

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One of the more tedious farm jobs that thankfully is over was the process of getting plants ready for transplanting outside of the greenhouse.  We would remove them to be outside during the day and then return them inside at night.  It was easy, just very time consuming.  Most of the transplants are now safe and happy in the ground.  We laid out drip tape irrigation and hooked it up.  The next task was to then surround the fields with deer fencing.  The deer fences are made by two separate layers of thin wire about 4 feet apart.  Apparently deer get spooked by the idea of jumping in between the two fences and stay out completely.  So far it looks to be successful.

One thing I miss most about home is the absence of Fire Ants.  Those little guys really annoy me.  I’ve been bitten more times than I can count, and have a few blisters that look like they may never go away.  😉

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We all have finally finished our different rotation on the specialty units.  I’ve been to Beef, Dairy, Swine, and the agroforestry units now.  Tomas and I were going to measuring the Ash trees when he discovered small holes about 5 feet from the ground.  Come to find out it was a new pest to the area that has not been seen until now, called the Emerald Ash Beatle.  It was crazy how these little holes they create can cause such havoc.

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I also got to inseminate a pig (Sorry no pictures) and even milk cows.  Things I’ve never done! I had NO IDEA the rear end of a cow was as intimidating as it is.  It’s scary to be behind something sooooo massive.  I look forward to learning more as this apprenticeship goes on.  TTYL!

-Justin

Breaking The Ice

The four of us have arrived in Goldsboro for the 2015 apprenticeship, and as a snow refugee from Boston, Massachusetts, I was disheartened to see that the relentless winter followed me to North Carolina. One thing I can say for sure after spending the last three weeks here is that unexpected ice and low temperatures are not able to get the best of the hard working people I have met at CEFS. If anyone is interested in a great arm workout forget about your bowflex machine because all you need is a couple of high tunnels and a greenhouse, cover that with two inches of ice, then add some PVC with a tennis ball attached to one end. Continuously poke the roof until you have removed all ice and you are on your way to becoming an athlete of Olympian status.

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Of course, the winter is not all bad. Sometimes it can be pretty nice.

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We are all excited to share this experience with you. The apprenticeship program is an opportunity to immerse all four of us in the complexity of living systems, and how economic and rural development can be achieved through agriculture. Being a part of the effort to support farmers through research, and the public good of the surrounding community through education and outreach, are both objectives that we feel devoted to for the duration of the program and for the future to come.

Meet the 2015 CEFS Apprentices!

Well to start off my name is Ray Grady. I’m 25 from Seven Springs North Carolina, which is near Goldsboro. At an early age I was introduced to agriculture from my Grandfather John Bartlett who has been farming since his childhood. Our main crop grown is cotton and soybeans. The land around this area is very sandy which has its challenges. Growing up I knew that I wanted to continue the family business, thus one of the many reasons I have a great deal of respect for the research and programs that help fund and educate people of the aspects of sustainable agriculture. After graduating from high school I continued my education at Wayne Community College majoring in Turfgrass Management. Obtaining this degree I thought would help to have another skill to help with my goals of owning my own business.  Sustainable agriculture has changed over the years. With commodities and budgets having negative impacts on small farmers over the nation I wanted to gain a better understanding on how to be successful in agriculture, therefore I have this great opportunity to be in the CEFS program. My reasons for being here are to gain a better understanding on sustainable agriculture, learn more skills to help the program as well as to bring home to apply to the family farm. With a better knowledge and skill level I feel that others and myself can make sustainable agriculture prosper for many years to come.

Well to start off my name is Ray Grady. I’m 25 from Seven Springs North Carolina, which is near Goldsboro. At an early age I was introduced to agriculture from my Grandfather John Bartlett who has been farming since his childhood. Our main crop grown is cotton and soybeans. The land around this area is very sandy which has its challenges. Growing up I knew that I wanted to continue the family business, thus one of the many reasons I have a great deal of respect for the research and programs that help fund and educate people of the aspects of sustainable agriculture. After graduating from high school I continued my education at Wayne Community College majoring in Turfgrass Management. Obtaining this degree I thought would help to have another skill to help with my goals of owning my own business.
Sustainable agriculture has changed over the years. With commodities and budgets having negative impacts on small farmers over the nation I wanted to gain a better understanding on how to be successful in agriculture, therefore I have this great opportunity to be in the CEFS program. My reasons for being here are to gain a better understanding on sustainable agriculture, learn more skills to help the program as well as to bring home to apply to the family farm. With a better knowledge and skill level I feel that others and myself can make sustainable agriculture prosper for many years to come.

My name is Justin Brill and I was born in Fairfax County Virginia. I grew up in the suburban area of Northern Virginia.  I have been very involved with my home church and love working with children and youth.  I graduated high school and soon after became a firefighter/emt for Fairfax City.  After completing my fire science degree and Paramedic training, I began to work for a biological cultivation company.  During this time I was exposed to the current state of agriculture and began studying, reading, and talking to many of my friends with farming experience and eventually applied for the CEFS SFU apprenticeship with hopes to learn fundamental lifelong skills that I can use to benefit my future community, while pursuing my other passions simultaneously.  I am currently engaged and getting married in June.  My fiance also shares interest in sustainable agriculture, small farming, and community based work.  She plans on visiting the farm as often as possible on the weekends when she can drive up from Wilmington NC, where she is a Chemist for a pharmaceutical company.  I enjoy the idea of community outreach and believe that food is one of the most powerful tools for bringing communities together in a positive manner.  Although I do not expect to be farming for profit in the immediate future following the apprenticeship, I do have hopes of starting my own business in a few more years down the road after my family moves to a permanent location.

My name is Justin Brill and I was born in Fairfax County Virginia. I grew up in the suburban area of Northern Virginia. I have been very involved with my home church and love working with children and youth. I graduated high school and soon after became a firefighter/emt for Fairfax City. After completing my fire science degree and Paramedic training, I began to work for a biological cultivation company. During this time I was exposed to the current state of agriculture and began studying, reading, and talking to many of my friends with farming experience and eventually applied for the CEFS SFU apprenticeship with hopes to learn fundamental lifelong skills that I can use to benefit my future community, while pursuing my other passions simultaneously. I am currently engaged and getting married in June. My fiance also shares interest in sustainable agriculture, small farming, and community based work. She plans on visiting the farm as often as possible on the weekends when she can drive up from Wilmington NC, where she is a Chemist for a pharmaceutical company. I enjoy the idea of community outreach and believe that food is one of the most powerful tools for bringing communities together in a positive manner. Although I do not expect to be farming for profit in the immediate future following the apprenticeship, I do have hopes of starting my own business in a few more years down the road after my family moves to a permanent location.

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Hi, my name is Jamie McMurray. I was born in Denver, Colorado, but my family moved to Charlotte, NC when I was 2 years old. I grew up in Charlotte, mostly distanced from any significant degree of agriculture. However, back in the 1970s my grandfather bought farm land near Morganton, NC in the North Carolina Foothills. To my knowledge, no one in my family has ever farmed that land. To this day, it has always just been a beautiful piece of land with a small cabin that we like to visit to go camping, watch meteor showers, tube the river, and go on hikes. During my childhood, we visited the “farm” often; our only neighbors were an older couple who ran a small farm- complete with horses, cows, sheep, chickens, hogs, ducks, corn fields, and more. I will forever cherish the childhood memories of learning about life on the farm. I suppose you could say I grew up a city boy in Charlotte, and most of my life never thought much about living a rural lifestyle. I graduated from NC State University in 2006 with a degree in Biochemistry and a minor in Genetics. I still felt little direction in my life at that time, so I returned to what had been my summer job in 2005- Tobacco Genetics research at NC State. I stayed with that job through 2009, and gained a lot through that experience including a love for working with plants and working outdoors. However, I still did not know what I wanted my next step to be. I dabbled in the idea of Medical School or Veterinary school, but realized neither was particularly realistic to me, and my heart was not really in it. What I did know was that I love science and life and have a passion for working with plants and animals. From 2010 through 2013 I bounced around a bit, spending time in several places including Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC. I continued to feel little direction or purpose during those years, but credit that time for allowing me to put a lot of thought into where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. In early 2013, while in Asheville, a good friend of mine helped set up a day to shadow a veterinarian who was one of his family friends. Over lunch that day, I spoke with the veterinarian about myself and my passions and asked what direction he could suggest that I follow. Together we came to the conclusion that farming would fit me just right- that was the day that it “clicked”. After about a year in Asheville, I returned to Raleigh and the Tobacco research while looking into what steps I wanted to take to begin my pursuit of becoming a small farmer. I heard of CEFS from a good friend/former co-worker who now works for CEFS. I met with him last October- while enjoying some live Bluegrass music- to discuss opportunities through CEFS. He and his wife (who also works for CEFS) told me about the Small Farm Unit Apprenticeship, and my eyes lit up. It sounded perfect! After a few visits, including the 20th anniversary SOILbration, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be an SFU apprentice. Within the next few years, I intend to move to the land near Morganton, NC to begin my own farming operation. I hope to eventually produce a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. I plan to employ some of the wooded land for growing mushrooms. I also wish to incorporate a small number of animals including chickens, sheep, and goats. I could not be happier to be here, and look forward to enthusiastically pursuing my farming goals.

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My name is Jessica Puzak and I am coming to North Carolina from Boston, Massachusetts. After spending the previous four months in Petaluma, California on a natural process farm I decided that the apprenticeship with CEFS would be an excellent way to continue to build on my technical skills and agricultural knowledge. I received my undergraduate degree in Political Science from Salem State University, in Salem, Massachusetts. Through a series of varying experiences I have realized how fundamental it is to have small-scale community based food systems in order to promote a healthy society and democratic ethics. I am highly motivated by the aspects of CEFS that integrate research, education, and community food systems work to create a holistic experience that I plan on expanding on further when I return to Massachusetts. Because food is a common denominator for people of differing political opinions and affiliations, finding ways to connect institutions with local agriculture is one key way that I believe can make a difference for regional economies in the United States, and therefore the overall quality of life for Americans. At this point in my career I do not believe there will come a time when I will not be involved in the growing process because I have always found joy in nurturing plants to their full potential. My family has 18 acres in Western Maine that I assume responsibility for maintaining throughout my life. I would like to apply the production skills I am learning at CEFS to this land in the future in order to preserve a respect for natural processes and maintain family heritage. I hope to be a resource to my community wherever I find myself growing in the years to come.

Stay tuned to see more of what’s growing on at the small farm unit!

~Jessica

Celebrating Our Work and Travels to Distant Lands

Fall is beautiful in Eastern North Carolina.  I am loving the cool days, getting to wear layers again, seeing the sun rise every morning, and of course, seeing the leaves change color.  While we are not moving at the pace we were for most of the summer, we’re still keeping busy here on the Small Farm Unit.  A strawberry variety trial began in the newly constructed high tunnel days before it was even completed.  We don’t waste no time ’round here!

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Fall strawberry variety trial will help determine a planting calendar for Eastern North Carolina high tunnel growers

This week our four beef steer were taken off of the farm for market.  While I understand their place in an integrated farming system, I cannot say I will miss building new fencing weekly.  It was a lot of work raising these boys!  And they sure grew up fast.

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Our four beef steer are loaded onto a trailer.

We just celebrated the Center For Environmental Farming Systems’ (CEFS) 20th Anniversary.  Hundreds of people came to the Cherry Research Farm to learn from and celebrate about the work and people that make CEFS great.  The Soilbration! event was a success!

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Dozens of farmers attended Soilbration! tours on the Small Farm Unit.

Last week we all went up to Blacksburg, Virginia to meet with Virginia Tech Civic Agriculture faculty and students, to see the campus Dining Hall Farm, and to visit other farming projects in the area.  Thank you, Marisa Benzle, for organizing a great, educational trip!

Professor Kim Niewolny was a fantastic host, and invited us to attend her undergraduate course in Civic Agriculture.  We got to see the animal husbandry operations on campus, and then had a meet-and-greet with graduate students so that they could learn about what we do here at the Center For Environmental Farming Systems.  The Dining Services farm seems like a unique project, with support from different Departments at VT.  The surrounding campus farmland is just beautiful this time of year.

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Virginia Tech campus in Fall.

We visited Plenty, a food bank outside of Floyd, which also happens to have a farm on site.  Co-Director, Karen Day, and farmer, Jonathan Vandergrift, were also incredibly friendly hosts, greeting us with delicious soup straight from the farm, and a tour of the farm.

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Plenty farmer, Jonathan Vandergrift and Co-Director, Karen Day.

We visited Spikenard Farm, whose mission is to promote sustainable and biodynamic beekeeping through education, experience-based research and a honeybee sanctuary and to help restore the health and vitality of the honeybee worldwide.  Alexander Tuchman gave us a tour of the grounds, which were beautiful—and teeming with bees.

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Alexander Tuchman of Spikenard loves his bees!

As we are in the last two weeks of the apprenticeship, things are winding down for us here.  We wrapped up our community work and are all a bit struck by how quickly the last nine months went by.  Thanks to the Small Farm Unit manager, Marisa Benzle, Mark and Amanda at the Pasture-Based Beef Unit, Horticulture Technician, Kayla Clark, Research Specialist Evan Taylor, Community Foods Systems Outreach Coordinator, Shorlette Ammons, the SWARMers, and my fellow apprentices for making this experience a dynamic learning opportunity!

The Infamous Small Farm Unit Crew in Asheville.

The Infamous Small Farm Unit Crew in Asheville, NC.

The Final Fall Days of Growing in North Cowalina

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.

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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!

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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.

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Myeasha picking from a pear tree for the first time on Muirkirk 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.

Small Farm unit's Carolina Gold Rice

Small Farm unit’s Carolina Gold 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.

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USDA Rice Research Duborskian Grain

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USDA Rice research Koshishikari Grain

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!

Beastmode Apprentices of 2014 (Angela, Myeasha, and Jordan) Big ups to our fourth apprentice Philip for holding down the local food market in DC.

Beastmode Apprentices of 2014 (Angela, Myeasha, and Jordan) Big ups to our fourth apprentice Philip for holding down the local food market in DC.

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

Welcome, Fall!

Coming from Oakland, California, where the weather is always perfect—never any humidity, no temperatures beyond the 80s—I have to say I am thrilled that the summer months of North Carolina are behind us! I love Fall and am looking forward to having lettuce on the farm once again and being able to sit around a fire at night. We’ve had some late summer rains that have made it hard to keep up with weeding and field work, but the rains seems to be behind us for now, as well.

We’ve been working to build another high tunnel on the Small Farm Unit, which is something that has been in the works for awhile. It’s slow-moving work, with plenty of challenges, but fortunately, we’ve had a lot of help from staff from other other research stations in North Carolina, as well as from other units at Cherry Research Farm.

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Putting up the end walls on the new high tunnel

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Slowly but surely, the high tunnel comes together….

In other news, Melissa Bell has been hired as the new Research Specialist and we are happy to have her for a few days each week here at the Small Farm Unit. She worked for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems previously, and so is familiar with some of the people and projects here already.

Research to determine best planting dates for high tunnel vegetables continues, with Kayla Clark, the Horticulture Technician here, working hard to gather data on pepper, cucumber, tomato, and leafy greens production.

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Fall high tunnel planting calendar research begins.

We’ve been busy getting the Fall field planted and weeded, and have also been keeping up with our variety trials, which mostly means doing a lot of pest and disease monitoring, weeding, and keeping data on germination rates. Fortunately, the deer and ground hogs have been cooperative so far and have left the trial field alone.

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Broccoli variety trial conducted to determine what varieties are best for Eastern North Carolina farmers.

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Fall field production is underway.

We’ve got just a month and a half left of the apprenticeship.  Time here has flown by. As the end draws near, we apprentices have our sights focused on finding work that will allow us to apply some of our new skills, insights and aspirations. Between the work on the farm, and the new task of finding a job, the days are passing even more quickly around here!

The Fruits of Our Labor

The month of August on the small farm unit brought a bounty of tomatoes, peppers, okra and flour corn. As mentioned in previous posts, the majority of this produce is donated to local soup kitchens, food pantries, and free CSA members. Some however is utilized by the staff and members of the community during cooking demonstrations and garden workdays.

Throughout the summer I worked with children at the WA Foster Community Center on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Most workdays had the kids outside working up an appetite so we often ended with a snack or meal that incorporated the garden or farm vegetables. This month we brought some of our garden produce to the farmers market and made enough money to purchase frozen pizza dough and cheese.

 

WA Foster Gardeners at the Goldsboro Farmers Market.

WA Foster Gardeners at the Goldsboro Farmers Market.

 We then used the extra peppers and tomatoes from the garden as toppings on our homemade pizzas to celebrate and reward ourselves for a summer of hard work.

Homemade Pizzas

Homemade Pizzas at WA Foster.

Kids enjoying their homegrown veggies.

Kids enjoying their homegrown veggies.

We apprentices also take advantage of the excess vegetables. In fact, this week Myeasha and I took down some of our flour corn from its drying line and ground it to a corn meal powder.

Myeasha removing the kernels from the cob.

Myeasha removing the kernels from the cob.

Me grinding the kernels into a powder.

Me grinding the kernels into a powder.

We then used the corn meal, combined with onions and peppers, to make hushpuppies and fried green tomatoes. We think we did a pretty good job for a couple of northerners.

Hush puppies made from homegrown corn.

Hush puppies made from homegrown corn.

Finally, this week marks the official housewarming of our newly completed worm-bin. We have primarily been feeding the worms a combination of culled tomatoes, peppers and shredded newspaper.

Newly completed worm compost bin.

Newly completed worm compost bin.

Worm's first meal in their new home.

Worm’s first meal in their new home.

Check back soon for our next post!