Fall is here and the farm is changing daily. There is a sense of urgency in our work as we clear fields of summer crops, throw out cover crop seed, and plant overwintering greens in the poly tunnels. Not quite the urgency of a frenzied spring but more a sense of working against time and weather, trying our best to wrap up projects, get things put back into place and finish our plantings while the rain and cold hold off.
In the past week we have said goodbye to two of our seasonal farm interns. Every season two or three young adults who are interested in learning more about small-scale organic farming join us. They sign on for a full season, March through October, working 5 days a week. They share in all farm tasks from seeding to transplanting, harvest to marketing, animal husbandry and engaging with students on their farm trips.
We take care to teach them the systems we have in place here, soil science, farm planning, farmers markets, food preservation, and many other aspects of farming. They tour other island farms monthly, learn from those farmers as well as meet other volunteers and interns from all over the island.
This season we are grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by our farm crew: Rochelle Waite from Cambridge, MA; Mikey Richardson from Louisville, KY and our fabulous second year intern, Jessica Davidson from Gig Harbor, WA. We would not be able to run the farm the way we do without them. As the season winds down Rochelle is heading to Los Angeles to live with her sister and look for work in the non-profit sector. Mikey is returning to Louisville to manage a large CSA farm there. Jessica will remain with us through November before moving to Tacoma where she plans to combine growing food with her work in the food service industry. We wish them the best and as always will keep in touch!
We have had some fabulous events on the farm in the past two weeks. Thank you to all who made it out for our annual Cider Press! The weather was beautiful and although the season has been tough on the apples and pears, there was enough cider made for everyone to have at least a cup or two. The following week we welcomed the entire staff out for a retreat day. Again, the weather cooperated with us and we had a lovely day with a tour of the farm, discussions, and break out groups for all levels and a delicious meal prepared with all island produce.
We have been thrilled to welcome back our student groups this school year! Many students spent time at the farm over the summer; between farm camps (we had 3!), family picnics, and Tuesday harvest volunteering. It has been fun to talk about the changes in the past months and for many to see work that they did in July come full circle in October. In the fall season students groups work with us on a number of tasks. Primary groups have come out to harvest their pumpkins and journey through the farm. Elementary classes are working on harvesting and shelling dry beans, gathering hazelnuts and chestnuts and collecting other seed from sunflowers and lettuce. Middle school groups are harvesting an array of produce for their school market on Tuesdays and also helping us with the harvest for the Vashon Farmers Market on Fridays.
We hope to see many of you out on October 28th for our fall work party! We will be planting our garlic as well as clearing the tomato greenhouse as well as other tasks. Join us!
top to bottom: Jen Keller; Bob Keller / photo credit Sarah Alspaugh