Update from the Carleton Farm

14 August 2014
We have decided to reinstate our online presence! Here is a summary of our season thus far:

We kicked off The 2014 season at the Carleton Student Farm with our annual Farmstock event, where students come together for a day of farming, food, and music. We spent much of our time leading up to Farmstock deliberating over our plans for the upcoming season and learning as much as we could about running a small scale, sustainable farm. As soon as our finals were complete we set to work expanding our largest field and building an electrified deer exclusion fence with the assistance of local orchard owner, John Porterfield. During this process we experienced intense rains, which actually warranted Northfield to declare a state of emergency. Luckily our plots are high above the Cannon River’s floodplain and the only setback was a delay in tilling the fields for planting as we waited for the soil to dry. After the intense whirl of work and stress that accompanied the beginning of our rain-soaked season, we were finally able to settle into a more typical farming routine. Our days were filled with everything from tackling weeds, fixing infrastructure, and continuing to plant late season crops.  Additionally, we were privileged and excited to have a group of sixth graders from the local middle school come out to the farm every Wednesday afternoon to help us with our work and learn about growing food. Not only did these visits provide the students with the opportunity to gain a more practical understanding of food production, but their presence was also an invigorating force on the farm, as their energy levels were never low.   In addition to our continued efforts in making this a successful and profitable season, we have been focusing on long term improvement projects for Carleton’s farm. We are currently working with our grounds department to have piping for irrigation expanded to all parts of the farm, and plans are in the works for Shiitake mushroom production, improved composting and soil fertility management, and a larger hoop house for season extension. As we come into August, many of our crops are beginning to produce and we have finally begun to reap the benefits of our hard work. Thus far we have harvested mizuna, swiss chard, hakurei turnips, okra, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers for our college’s dining hall.  As we proceed further into the fall harvest season, we are excited to continue working with our chefs to provide exceptionally tasty, healthy, and ethically-produced food to our campus community.