Week of September 3rd – CSA Newsletter

And just like that, we’ve hit September. It’s crazy how fast the farm season can go by. It seems like last week we were deciding where the season’s crops were going to be planted. September always is a crazy time on the farm because the summer crops are still cranking at a good pace but some of the fall/winter crops are ready to be harvested or will be soon. The end of the season is in sight, although it seems so far away. This time of the year is a mix of harvest/planting/cleanup projects. But this is Upstate New York, and we know that the first frost will be here before we know it. I actually had a very realistic dream (more like a nightmare) over the weekend that I woke up to a light frost and I never closed down the sides to the hoophouses. The result was that all the tomatoes and peppers growing in them had bitten the dust. It took me a few minutes but I was relieved when I realized that wasn’t the case.

The past week was a great one with all the new student interns. We spend a lot of time harvesting for their first few weeks before diving into some of the other farm tasks. I think that this is a great time of the year to expose folks to the basics of harvesting because there is so much to do. I really stress to them the importance of harvest and post-harvest handling of the vegetables that we grow. The proper harvesting techniques, times of day that we harvest certain crops, sorting and washing of crops and proper storage of vegetables. These are all extremely important so that you and all of our other customers can have the highest quality vegetables. 

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Praying Mantis Student Video

Praying Mantis Student Video Post by Jake This video of a praying mantis was captured by Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Student Jake at the TC3 Farm. Jake describes some of the characteristics of this fascinating beneficial insect, and the video captures some of it’s interesting behaviors. Problems viewing the video? Visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JkJnL_ssdA&feature=youtu.be Please follow and … Read more

Transplanting Greenhouse Tomatoes – Student Post

Tomato Time – Student Post By Cody – Week of July 26th, 2017

Greenhouse Tomatoes for Transplanting
A Flat of Tomatoes Ready for Transplanting

Hey all! It is that time a year again to get excited about all the delicious varieties of tomatoes being sown at the TC3 Farm. With over two dozen heirloom, cherry and hybrid tomato varieties on the Farm, it is a mighty challenge to tame those taste buds as all the young seedlings are transplanted.  The TC3 Farm grows both field and greenhouse/ hoop house tomatoes.  Crop rotation best practices are followed in determining where the tomatoes will be grown both in the field and indoors.  This week the farm team transplanted a variety of tomatoes in the greenhouse and hoop house.  In this post, I will describe the techniques in preparing and setting up a greenhouse for tomato cultivation and some tips for having a successful and healthy growing season.

At this point you may be wondering why the TC3 Farm grows so many different varieties of tomatoes.  I believe the unequivocal answer is that crop diversity is a key attribute to a successful and healthy farm operation.  One might also be asking if there is an advantage to growing tomatoes in a greenhouse.  I believe there are many advantages for the use of a greenhouse, especially in a relatively short northeast growing season.  The first advantage is that a greenhouse can extend the growing season, and this is especially important for tomatoes which are a high value crop. Secondly, a greenhouse provides for temperature, precipitation and air flow control.  This is crucial for tomatoes as it reduces the chances for fungal and oomycete diseases such as early blight and late blight which can devastate plants in the nightshade family.  Proper crop rotation planning can reduce blight and pest problems during the growing season. 

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Food Insecurity and Brooktondale Food Pantry Capstone – Candice

Studying Food Insecurity and Volunteering at the Brooktondale Food Pantry – Capstone Project for Sustainable Farming and Food Systems – by Candice

Brooktondale Food Pantry Pickup Site
Brooktondale Food Pantry Pickup Site

I decided to do my Capstone project on food insecurity and how it related to families living in poverty. For this project, I  researched how easy it is to sink into poverty and how hard it is to get back to a stable financial life. I have also been volunteering my time at a local food pantry located right in Brooktondale.  You may think that a normal food pantry just gives out food to families in need, but this one does a lot more than just giving out food.  The Brooktondale Food Pantry has a full kitchen where it gives kids a chance to learn how to cook, and they have a full garden out back where they grow all of their vegetables for the kitchen and to give away at the food pantry.

Brooktondale Food Pantry Donations
Brooktondale Food Pantry Donations

One of the tasks that is included in volunteering at the Brooktondale Food Pantry is unloading vegetables and meats from the Southern Tier food truck that comes to Brooktondale and drops off donations. We have to sort everything out –  all the meats go together, all the cereals go together, veggies go together and so on.  Then we must inspect everything, this includes writing the date on our inventory sheet that it came to pantry and the date that it will be put out for families to take. We also have to check the expiration date and check to see if the product is damaged in any way. If it is damaged or out of date it gets put back on the truck. This is a food safety precaution that we have to follow. Some of the donations such as local fruits and vegetables are given to us from local farmers from Dryden, Cortland, Brooktondale and even Ithaca.  We also have been receiving a truck full of different kinds of breads from the Ithaca Bakery.

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Caroline Elementary School Garden Capstone – Steve

Caroline Elementary School Garden – Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Student Capstone Project – by Steve

Caroline Elementary Service Learning Day
Service Learning Day

When I first signed up for this Capstone class in Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Degree I really had no idea what the class was going to consist of, but I am super happy that it is part of my degree. This class makes you go out and do things in society that you might not think about doing on your own. I have always had a deep passion for gardening, teaching kids how to garden and grow their own food, and helping them to understand where their food is coming from.

Cleanup at Caroline Elementary School Garden
Steve Supervises Compost Hauling

I decided for my project that I was going to devote my time to Caroline Elementary School and teach some kids what I have learned while helping to restore the raised beds that the third graders plant in every year. I started my time there with a service learning day, where all the kids in the whole school came together and completed projects around the school to make it look better. Some were raking, some were weeding and some were taking wheelbarrows to the compost pile. We all got shirts that said we are needed and nothing could be more truthful than that. We had a great day and a lot got done and at the end of the day we all held hands around the whole school while a drone took our pictures from the sky. Unfortunately the pictures did not turn out all that well.

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Around the TC3 Farm – Student Post

Around the TC3 Farm Update – A Student Post by Steve

Well howdy there folks, just wanted to give you a little update on some things that are going on around the TC3 Farm lately. The tomatoes in the green house have pretty much run their course and we are now clearing out the plants to get the houses cleaned up and ready for winter plantings. Mostly thanks to our new Meadow Creature broadfork, we greatly increased our tomato yield this year compared to last, and we are still harvesting green tomatoes for the CSA and for the farm stand on campus. We also make sure we take the old plants away from the greenhouse to decay simply because we don’t want them around any other plants in case they have some sort of disease on them, playing it safe.

clearing greenhouse

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