My name is Kate and I am the farm manager for this upcoming year. At the end of June, we said goodbye to the previous farm manager, Peter Staub. Peter will certainly be missed, but I am looking forward to continuing the love and care he has given our plants for the past year.
Before I share some updates about the Farm, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. A few short months ago, I graduated from Pomona College with a degree in French and English. Though I grew up in Connecticut, I have absolutely loved my time in Claremont and am looking forward to spending another year exploring LA County! As a student, I spent all four years as a farm employee, so I am grateful for the opportunity to be even more involved and help make the space I love grow.
During my training and first few weeks as farm manager, I was able to share the Farm with 18 students from the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS). For two evenings each week, these PAYS students learned about composting, plant identification, bed preparation, and other aspects of sustainable agriculture. They also helped us paint a wheelbarrow and some stepping stones and eventually helped harvest, cut, and dry a large part of our apple crop!
Simultaneous to the fun with PAYS was something far less positive—increased ground squirrel activity! The squirrels that were born in the spring have spent the summer running through our beds and wreaking havoc on our row crops! After planting five beds in the back section with squash, cucumber, and melon seedlings twice through, we switched to a buckwheat cover crop… which the squirrels also found their way into.
Fortunately, there are a few plants in the ground that the pests do not like— arugula and turnips (through July) and basil and tomatoes (still going strong!). We have been enjoying the two brassicas fresh and have also found ways to preserve them: we made some of the arugula into pesto and pickled the turnips with beets and Farm garlic! We have also been making lots of pesto from our basil, which is happiest when it gets pruned regularly. Mark your calendars for September 6th: from 4–6pm we will be selling our fresh produce and canned goods (LOTS OF PESTO) in the courtyard of the Smith Campus Center. Beyond farm stand, you can try some of our produce at the Sagehen Café on campus for their Friday lunch farm special.
I hope you are all as excited for the fall as I am! I just finished my fall seed order and am excited to start planting in September and October. I am optimistic that this fall will bring change and growth to our beds and increased community activity in our Dome and kitchen space. So be sure to check our Events tab or Facebook page for all of the upcoming farm festivities. And if you are in the area, feel free to come help out during Saturday volunteer hours, which will resume on September 21st on Saturday mornings from 10am–12pm.
I hope to see you down at the Farm soon!