Winding Down on the Farm

 By Kiersten Savage ‘16

It’s Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. The chickens are clicking and blurting at a faithful farm employee out early to feed and water them. The nine month old lambs are bleating while playfully rubbing their heads together. It’s a beautiful morning soon to be a busy day. Today is the day of abundance and happy absurdity.

The happy and the absurd refer to the wonderful and shocking amounts of produce that continues to be the focus of every Wednesday. Our harvests have not noticeably slowed since our last update and are still full of fabulous colors! Our record number for our produce, besides potatoes (the heavyweights of the vegetable realm), has been something like 180 pounds of tomatoes in one day; a happy mix of cherry, paste, and slicer totals. Favorites of the tomato varieties this season have been Sungold Cherry, Purple Plum Cherry and Garden Peach slicer. The chefs have been innovative with our, perhaps, frustrating (at times) amount of tomatoes. We’ve had homemade salsa on Taco Tuesdays and the guacamole has featured cherry tomatoes. Peach salsa was on the salad bar a few times and students have been able to enjoy house-made pasta sauce. It’s been a fantastic, and if you’re a tomato lover (to the point that you miss them bunches in the off season), fulfilling summer for tomatoes!

      Along with our prolific tomato production, potatoes abound! Just in time for our serious crackdown on potato harvest, three Farm Experience interns have joined us out on the farm. They’re in their second week of volunteering. With Anthea van Geloven’s ’17, Jack Hassler’s ’17, and Keegan Smith-Nichols’ ‘17 help, under the direction of our veteran summer interns, our potato harvest has been finished! Even the beds are mulched! The interns are hard-working and seem to be enjoying the work. The retired potato beds were thickly and neatly mulched to keep down the weeds and provide a warm blanket for the soil through the winter. We’re lucky to have such attentive and engaged interns! Their work was quite the feat, with our fifteen or so beds of potatoes, some as long as sixty feet. Hundreds of pounds were collected of purple, pink, and yellow varieties (like Purple Viking! that’s the best name I’ve heard yet for a vegetable or plant) could be found. Their pleasing to the eyes and amusing to the mind, with some in fun conjoined shapes! We’re happy to scratch that off our list.

            With our 8 strong staff, two summer interns, and three new interns a lot more has been accomplished and, for the time being, removed from to-do list in the last few weeks. Beds have been planted with late season crops, new compost bins have been built in preparation for 75 new students, our second round of lettuce beds have been maintained and harvests from them have begun, and other beds have been retired and prepped for winter sleepy-times. Our animals continue to be well and our chickens continue to produce lovely and delicious amounts of eggs!

Despite the productivity and our cheerful bounty, it is a bittersweet time of year as we harvest the last of our products from our intensive spring planting and prepare for the coming season. With the new class comes a new harvest, our sheep cultivation is coming full circle around when the new students arrive. The cooks will surely make fun and delicious meals with our second meat harvest since the birth of Antioch Farm. It has been a beautiful and comprehensive learning experience this season. I am so thankful to be here and to experience animals and the land, in almost all aspects of their being. It’s been great to have so many new people involved on the farm this season too. Everyone seems to really appreciate how awesome Antioch Farm is.