Our summer interns have already been at our farm and orchard for a month! Since they see so many aspects of the farm, we asked them to tell us about their experienced so far. If you need a refresher on who is interning with us this year, you can read about them here.
Grafton Farm Interns (Maggie, Ellen, and Gabby)
As we move further into July, the farm is transitioning from tending season to harvesting season. We are all very excited about the progress on the farm, especially the interns! Most of us haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the harvesting process here at CHP. Recently, with the help of our volunteers, we harvested cases of lettuce, kale, and collard greens that were distributed to the Worcester County Food Bank. During our tour of the food bank, we even got to see the greens that we harvested separated out on pallets to be distributed to folks in the area. Spending the summer as an intern at CHP is really rewarding and we’ve been learning so much with the help of the staff and regular team leaders that come in each week. It’s been incredibly uplifting to witness each stage the vegetables go through, from planting, tending, and then setting up irrigation, to now harvesting. Also, seeing volunteers return excited to get to tend to the crops that they planted is so awesome!! What was really surprising to us was seeing how involved the volunteers really are in everything we do on the farm. They are absolutely vital in the operation here at CHP and we are feeling very grateful for the amount of people that are involved.
Harvard Orchard Interns (Josh and Carly)
In our time at the Orchard, we have been doing the out-of-season maintenance that is required to produce the apples that CHP distributes every year. The orchard is 75 acres, so there is quite a bit of work that must be done in order to ensure the quality and health of our apple trees. One of our biggest projects has been painting the trunks of the apple trees white to protect them from sun damage in the winter. In the winter, the tree trunks are so much darker than the snow, that they get burned in the sun, which can kill them. We have also spent a lot of time replacing mouse guards, small wire cages that are wrapped around the tree trunks to prevent mouse damage to the bark. These tasks seem tedious, but are crucial to the growth of the trees, and they ensure apples will continue to thrive year after year. In addition to maintaining the apple trees, we have done some general upkeep work around the orchard, such as clearing plant growth from the fences and breaking down an unused greenhouse, which opens up more land to be utilized by CHP in the future.
Some of the biggest surprises have been realizing just how much work goes into growing just one crop and how much labor goes into the food I eat that I don’t think about. Additionally, it has been eye opening to learn just how much science is used in farming.
Read the rest of the July Sprout here!