Week of September 4th – CSA Newsletter

Sunrise over the farm

Ok, so who forgot to pay their heating bill? Saying last week was unseasonably cool would be an understatement. We had nights in the 40s and even a couple that were right below 40. Friends of mine that farm in Cortland County even had a light frost. Yowza! I always look forward to the fall and cooler temperatures but this is definitely too early for me. There’s not too much that can be done so I try not to worry about it that much.

The students doing their internship on the farm this semester had a great week. There’s a lot to get caught up to speed but they seem to be rolling along with it. A lot of what we do for the first part of the semester is harvesting and post-harvest handling of vegetables with a little bit of planting sprinkled in. They seem to be catching on quick and are asking great questions and being thorough with their work. We’ve got a lot of work to do before the farm is put to “bed” for the season, so I’m hopeful that the momentum will continue.

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Northland Sheep Dairy Field Trip

Northland Sheep Dairy Farm Tour – Student Post by Ben

As part of TC3’s integrated pest management (IPM) program for the summer of 2017, the class went on a field trip to Northland Sheep Dairy. Located in Marathon NY, amidst beautiful hilly countryside, Northland is “a 100% grass-fed seasonal sheep dairy powered by draft horses & mules and some committed, hard-working farmers,” to quote their website’s welcome page, which you can find at www.northlandsheepdairy.com. We were joined by a class from Binghamton University Acres Farm and the VINES program from Binghamton, and we made for a very large group altogether.

Draft Horse Northland Sheep Dairy
Draft Horse at Northland Sheep Dairy

We were introduced to the farm by Northland Sheep Dairy co-owner Donn Hewes, the man with a passion for and in charge of the draft animals used for power in the fields and property. He showed us the barn where the animals are kept and explained a bit about the nature and nurture of these horses and mules. These included Percheron and Belgian varieties of draft horses, and Suffex mules and Cleveland Bay mule crosses.

It was a treat to be able to see an operation that implements work animals on a farm, as we have learned that there are a variety of benefits of an integrated farming system. The horses and mules not only provide work in return for calories taken directly from the farm they live on (in grass and hay) but also cycle those nutrients through their manure, and reduce the need for external sources of energy (diesel for tractors, grain based feeds). The horses and mules are fed on a permanent pasture system, which means that the land for grazing is always for grazing, as opposed to cropping it one year and grazing the next or some permutation of the like.

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Edible Acres Permaculture Farm Field Trip

Edible Acres Permaculture Farm Field Trip – Student Post by Juliet

Edible Acres Permaculture Garden
Permaculture Garden at Edible Acres

The summer Integrated Pest Management class had the opportunity to take a field trip on Monday June 19th, 2017 to see Sean Dembrosky’s homestead farm, Edible Acres.  Edible Acres is a permaculture farm business and nursery where he plants, cultivates, cares for, harvests, and sells both perennial and annual plants like chestnut trees, currants, wild onions, and cacti.  He farms several plots of land throughout the Ithaca area, owned by several different people.  This flexibility allows him the opportunity to continually expand his business and experiment with different practices since he is not tied down by the cost of land ownership.

It was a gray, drizzly day on Monday, and the sky threatened to crack and cause a downpour.  The  weather this spring has been a complete reversal from what we had experienced at this same time last year.  In any case, this was farming, and rain or no rain, we were all excited to head out on this field trip.  And so, we quickly bundled up into our raincoats and jumped in the van to make the short drive to Sean’s homestead.

When we arrived at Edible acres, Sean eagerly greeted us in the front of his yard.  Our class had worked with him previously, because he helped us to create a small nursery and permaculture minded growing space at the farm where we planted our gooseberry, elderberry, and currant bushes.  It was during this past workshop that  we learned about the true meaning behind the term ‘permaculture’.  Coined by its founder, Bill Mollison, permaculture is actually a combination of two words- permanent and agriculture.  According to Mollison, Permaculture is an ethically based design system for human habitation that is in harmony with the natural world.   Mollison himself states that, “It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing for their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.”   For example, pumpkins planted in between hop plants, the ‘Three Sisters’ (corn, beans, and squash) system of planting, or peas trailing up a nut tree would all be examples of permaculture practices. (http://library.open.oregonstate.edu/permaculture/chapter/what-is-permaculture/)

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Week of June 12th – CSA Newsletter

Greetings everyone! The start of the 2017 CSA at the TC3 Farm is here. Welcome to our new members and thanks to our returning members for taking this journey with us once again. For new folks to the TC3 Farm CSA, this weekly post is meant to keep you abreast of farm happenings and an idea of what’s going to be in the share each week.

It’s been a very busy Spring on the farm, even with all the rain (I will definitely be coming back to this topic). Before the semester ended the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students worked very hard on this year’s crop rotation, getting plants started in the greenhouse for both on farm use and for sale, and transplanting early crops. For most of them, this was their first time with these experiences and I have been impressed over and over again with their willingness to step outside of their comfort zones to try new things, work as a team to make decisions or to just get a job done. 

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Vegetable Production on the Farm – Student Post

Garlic Greens Harvest
Garlic Greens Harvest

Vegetable Production on the TC3 Farm – Student Post by Jasmine – Week of June 5th, 2017

Summertime is almost officially here and vegetable production is in full swing at the Tompkins Cortland Farm. The CSA has begun, restaurant orders form Coltivare are being placed, and the Farm Stand on campus has been going well. During the week of June 5th-9th, the students were engaged in a variety of different tasks including planting transplants like lettuce, beets, sorrel, dandelion, and a variety of peppers and tomatoes out in the field. We also weeded in the strawberry patch, and harvested spring crops such as Hakurei turnips, strawberries, and garlic greens, Garlic greens are simply young garlic harvested before the bulb has a chance to develop. They can be sautéed just like traditional garlic and are a nice addition to salads or soups.

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Week of August 1st – CSA Newsletter

Hallelujah! It’s rained and I mean, a real live soak into the ground and saturate things rain. This is a much needed relief. Not only for the plants but for all us crop savior’s who take turns watering for hours each day, every week. The plants are surely going to like it and I’m excited … Read more