Think about what you’ve eaten for lunch in the dining hall over the past week. Did you get a salad with cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomato slices, mixed greens, cucumbers, zucchini, or radishes? Maybe you got a bowl of squash soup alongside a plate of pasta – or did you notice those veggies in your stir-fry or on your pizza?
For dessert, you easily could have picked up an oatmeal squash cookie, or a few juicy watermelon slices. Chances are, you have very recently eaten fresh fruits or vegetables from our very own Carleton Student Farm!
Student farmers Ellie Youngblood ’14 and Tori Ostenso ’15 started off this year’s growing season in the spring with some seedling trays, the cold frames and hoop house – and many, many seeds. Spring seedlings included onions, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, and a whopping 664 tomato plants.
In June, they weeded and prepped the farmland before beginning to direct-seed beets, squash, potatoes, salad greens, and micro-greens. As the plants grew, so did the farmers’ weeding duties, but after a few patient months of seeding, transplanting, weeding, trimming, and trellising, they were rewarded with a delicious harvest that is continuing now as autumn sets in.
Throughout the summer, Ostenso and Youngblood proved that farming is far from a boring summer job: they held fun volunteer days for Carls staying in Northfield for the summer; delivered a delicious CSA sampler box of herbs, greens, berries, and flowers to President Poskanzer, and used their trusty Carleton problem-solving skills to fend off torrential thunderstorms, hungry deer, and a persistent woodchuck.
They also perfected the art of weeding; talked farming with nearby StoGROW (at St. Olaf) and SEEDS farms, as well as their advisor, biology/ENTS professor David Hougen-Eitzman, and got to know the Bon Appétit chefs as they delivered their bounty each week.
For stories, pictures, and more information, check out Ostenso and Youngblood’s blog (http://carletonstudentfarm.tumblr.com) and Twitter (@CarletonFarm) – and keep enjoying delicious farm-fresh lunches!