August 18, 2020
Being a Midwesterner and growing up in a small city in north central Ohio, surrounded by farmland, I know where food comes from —- and I know, like we all do, that farmers and all of those associated with the task of feeding people, work really hard. But until I became a small part of the process of growing food at Stone Bank Farm (as one of the farm staff), I didn’t realize all that it takes to put good, organic, non-GMO food onto the plates of the growing number of folks in our community who are clamoring for it.
I feel especially lucky to work at a place where farmland and market are all in one compact space: Raised beds, greenhouses, pack shed, pasture and market are all conveniently nestled together on a 75-acre parcel of protected farmland which not only allows for the freshest food possible, but provides an opportunity for customers (and a newbie farmhand like me) to better follow their food —- from seed to market.
Here’s a pictorial, behind-the-scenes look at some of the work involved in getting fresh food to customers this month —- during peak harvest season.
At the end of the day, when my husband, Dan, asks, “What did you do today?” My response lately has been, “Harvesting, harvesting, and more harvesting!” Picking peppers, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, cucumbers and other goodies that grow in our farm gardens is a never-ending, but also fun and highly rewarding job on the farm!
Peak harvest season on the farm does not mean that things will soon be winding down. On the contrary —- all summer long, older, non-producing plants are ripped out, garden soil is re-worked, and beds are re-seeded with lettuces, carrots, radishes and other veggies that will fill market shelves through the rest of the summer and into fall.
Once vegetables are harvested, they’re washed and packaged —- a job that we often save for the afternoon when the day’s temperature is the hottest!
Cleaned and packaged veggies are brought over to the market each day. Local farms such as Gwenyn Hill and Olden Organics also supply the market with fresh foods like sweet corn, squash and other goodies so that SBF customers have a larger selection of fresh, seasonal organic fruits and vegetables. These partnerships are an important part of running a successful farm and market.
Walking into the market each morning well before it opens is like walking into a hive of busy bees! Market staff must fill the day’s on-line market orders so that they are ready for pick-up, and make sure the market shelves and coolers are well-stocked for in-person customers. Market Manager, Michelle, has created a beautifully simple space filled with our own fresh vegetables, meats and eggs, as well as other delectable local products.
It takes a village: From the Faye Gehl Conservation Foundation that has brought Stone Bank Farm and Market to our community …… to the farm and market staff and volunteers…… to our local farm partners and food artisans, and …… to Mother Nature herself, it takes a lot of work and many hands to bring the good food at Stone Bank Farm!