An end to summer

By Marianthe Bickett ’15

This is an exciting time on the Antioch Farm as much of our labor is devoted to harvesting and reaping the benefits of our hard work all season long. Two farm interns and eight student employees bring the kitchen over 100 pounds of string beans and 80 pounds of tomatoes every week. Students enjoy the golden-yellow tomato orbs, sautéed, steamed and pickled yellow and green beans, rosy-pink mashed potatoes, and rainbow chard almost every lunch and dinner in Antioch Kitchens.

We also enjoy specialties made from farm harvests like cinnamon husk-cherry syrup, juicy red tomatoes and basil in capresé salad, and tea from freshly dried mint, chamomile, and nettle.

From January through July, we’ve brought 1,500 pounds of fresh produce into the dining hall!

We have had lovely cool temperatures and lots of rain this season, which has made our garden and our growers very happy. Most days are sunny and a cool 75 degrees, which I can’t remember ever experiencing continually during an Ohio August. It has also been a joy to work with several new student employees, Norah Mermis ’16, Charlotte Pulitzer ’16, and Gabe Amrein ’16. Having new students out at the farm always enlivens our workload.

An exciting project that we’ve been working on is harvesting and collecting data about our demonstration Ethiopian garden. This data helps the Kossoye Development Program, which works to address malnutrition in Northern Ethiopia through promoting backyard vegetable gardens. Farm Manager Kat Christen traveled to Ethiopia in May to participate in the program and our interns, Rachel Blakemore ’17 and Lauren Gjessing ’17, helped harvest, weigh, and replant the space for a second succession to demonstrate multiple plantings in one season. 

Our animals are all doing well. We have Japanese Beetles that torment several of our crops, and it works nicely that our chickens and ducks love the nutritious snack they provide. We collect them and get to enjoy watching our birds gladly gobble up the irritating beetles. Recently, our mama Blue Swedish duck hatched out two new babies, one duckling and one Black Australorp chick! The little black chicken follows her around everywhere and imagines itself to be a duck, which is quite entertaining for us humans.

I’ve been spending this late-summer season doing a lot of research looking for farms where I can spend my next co-op on in the fall, and it’s a great advantage to have the two years of experience I have working on our farm when appealing to potential employers. I know more about exactly what I’d like to learn and what skills I’ve developed. I am always so grateful for this opportunity!