Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spring is coming!

Hello folks!

It's a new year and we're undergoing some big new changes here at Spring Valley Student Farm. We had a very successful 2011 growing season. From May to November, we delivered over 3,500lbs of produce to UConn Dining Services! Wow!

Here's a shot of the backyard. To the left you
can see our new work-shed and washing station.
To the right you can see our rabbit hutch.
Dispersed around the yard are scarecrows which we made
with EcoHouse students at our autumn farm party

Earlier this month, we met with some of the chefs from Chuck and Augie's, a restaurant located in the UConn Student Union, in order to plan out what produce we will grow for them this year. C&A's is our primary venue on campus. This coming summer, in addition to South Dining Hall and Putnam, we will also be delivering to Northwest! Then, come Fall 2012, you'll find many SVSF seasonal items at Whitney Dining Hall in East Campus.

We are expanding our growing area by approximately 4,000 square feet this coming season, so we've been hard at work picking out seeds and materials from various catalogs as well as planning out our crop rotation schedule.  Some new notable crops will be added to the roster... along with some old favorites.

Here are just a few new & exciting varieties that we are going to be growing:
  • Listada di Gandia - an Italian heirloom eggplant (yum!)
  • Piel de Sapo - a type of muskmelon (the variety name literally means "toad skin" in Spanish!)
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerlings - an heirloom potato with deep red flesh
  • Indigo Rose - a deep, dark red (almost black) heirloom tomato variety with a  high concentration of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are plant pigments which have powerful health benefits and anti-oxidant effects!
  • Bucklunch - a type of sugar beet which produces tubers up to 10lbs; they have a very high concentration of sucrose, which we intend to extract and use for our various cooking needs in an effort to become less reliant on refined sugar derived from sugarcane!
We're very excited for the upcoming season. All of the student farmers have been researching various crops and learning about developing rotation schedules to maximize productivity and reduce incidence of pests and diseases. Despite these January days which seem more like early-April, we're not yet ready to get started with planting... but all things in their own time. Time to go hibernate for a bit longer. :)

"Whatchu lookin' at?"