Tag Archives: CCCC

Bread and Milk

The last few weeks have presented some challenging weather for farmers in this area.  We weathered the storms with no damage to our farm, but all of the moisture can prevent us from working the soil, adding amendments, and early planting to get a jump on the season.  Not to worry though, while everyone was hunkered down eating milk sandwiches our farm manager and brilliant students have been plugging away on plenty of things.  When weather is not ideal to be in the field we are able to catch up on some basic farm maintenance and organization, something that we don’t have a lot of time for when the season really gets going.  We have a greenhouse full of transplants that are getting ready to go into the ground and have been able to plant some peas and carrots.

This is an exciting time of the year for us as we watch our farm begin to take on some character.  I am sure that many of you are looking forward to our amazing CSA boxes, which are not too far away in the near future.  We will keep you up to date on when that will begin.  We are also looking forward to another flock of Crevecoeur chicks from the Livestock Conservancy!  These wild looking creatures have plenty of feathers on their heads and if you follow the blog you may remember a post and some photos last year about these “punk rock chickens”.

So buckle up!!  The season is about to take off!!

 

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What’s In The Box?

Good afternoon!

This is the third week of our Fall 2015 CSA here at the Student Farm and there’s lots of great stuff! If you’re already a member, come on down and pick up this week’s bounty. If you’re not yet set up to enjoy our weekly harvest, you can get signed up for next week, and we’ll make a box up, just for you!

In the box this week:

  • Shishito Peppers
  • Kale, 3 different types!
  • Collards
  • Bok Choy
  • Eggplant
  • Salad mix
  • Hot peppers, Jalapeno and Black Hungarian
  • Radishes, assorted varieties
  • Garlic
  • Turnips
  • Sweet potato greens

Now, you’ll notice that we’ve thrown a bunch of classics in there, but you may just be wondering how you’re gonna utilize those Sweet potato greens?

Luckily for you, I’ve done the research.  Check out this article in Prevention magazine, that espouses the amazing, and hitherto unknown (in the US) health benefits of these amazing greens!

http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/sweet-potato-greens

*Personally, I like mine sautéed with olive oil and maple syrup.  Yum.*

Happy Harvest,

Jonathan Cole

What’s New on CCCC’s Student Farm, by Cindy Flowers

What’s New on CCCC’s Student Farm? 

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What’s new on the farm? STUDENTS! School is back in session for the fall term and the ag classes are filled with new and returning students ready to farm. What is there to harvest right now? Well it looks like peppers, okra and amaranth! Most people know what to do with peppers and okra (obviously okra is best when fried and stewed will do in some occasions) but then we are left with Amaranth.  

Amaranth originates from Mayan and Aztec cultures so why would we grow it in Pittsboro? Well, the grain is considered a superfood by today’s standards so that’s a good reason butIMG_9887 how is it growing in NC? According to heirloom-organics.com amaranth is easy to grow. The plants need about 140 days in well drained soil, full sun and a warm climate. Sounds like Pittsboro. No wonder they are doing well!

Soon these plants will be harvested and my question was “how?” since the grain is so tiny. Heirloom-organics.com’s guide says the best way to harvest is to “bend the plants over a bucket and rub the seed heads between your hands.” We will have to see how the CCCC student farmers do with this technique!

Now what to do with this tiny grain after harvest?  Thekitchn.com gives us many options. You can eat it as breakfast porridge, popped in a skillet then used to top soups, or as a protein breading (like a healthy oven-fried chicken), combined with other grains or added to soups for a hearty thickness. The green leaves of the plant are even edible! This super food is great for the vegetarian or omnivore alike because of its high levels of protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. For more amaranth tips and recipes check out this article from kitchn.com.

One other fun fact about amaranth is that it is high in the amino acid methionine which is crucial to prevent feather eating in your new flock! So let those peeps clean the harvested rows!

In non-crop related news, CCCC has once again joined up with the Livestock Conservancy to foster and breed aIMG_2108 flock of rare chickens called Crevecoeur. This is a critically endangered, dual-purpose breed originating from France. Its name, Creve-Coeur, literarily translates to “broken heart.” Aww! According to the Livestock Conservancy’s breed description, IMG_5943the Crevecoeur is black with a crest and beard (think Animal from the Muppets as a black bird), lays medium to large eggs and can deal with confinement well, which in my opinion makes this bird a great option for backyard poultry enthusiasts. Let’s hope CCCC gets a 100% hatch rate for the good of the neighborhood!

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I leave you with Ricardo, the main man on the farm.

All images are courtesy of Jason Morin

We found out that gloves are necessary for this job.

seven C’s

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This week on CCCC’s student farm!

James, the new farm manager, gathers the students, of the advance crop production class, around to assign tasks.

James (right), the new farm manager, gathers the students around the shed to assign tasks.

Cheryl, Jenn, and Maria (not pictured), go in the greenhouse to re-sow chard and kohlrabi.

Cheryl, advance crop production professor, Jenn and Maria (not pictured), go in the greenhouse to re-sow chard and kohlrabi due to poor germination.

Maria fills the flats with our potting soil mixture.

Maria fills the flats with our potting soil mixture.

Jenn carefully seeds the flats with Chard and Kohlrabi.

Jenn carefully seeds the flats with Chard and Kohlrabi.

The flats are then covered with vermiculite to ensure germination.

The flats are then covered with vermiculite to ensure germination.

The other students are digging up the soil so we can run the BCS through the beds to prepare for the Spring. Note that the students are all bundled up. A big snow storm is on the way. It's not necessarily important to prepare the beds before a big snow. But, it is important that we build the beds before the soil is too wet.

The other students are digging up the soil in block 3. After they are done, we can run the BCS through the beds to prepare for the Spring. A BCS is a walk behind tractor used in small scale farming.

Note that the students are all bundled up. A big snow storm is on the way. It’s not necessarily important to prepare the beds before a big snow storm. It is important that we build the beds before the soil is too wet. Typically, you want to till your beds 30 days before planting to suppress the weeds. Since the students are here to help, we took advantage of the day.

We found out that gloves are necessary for this job.

We found out that gloves are necessary for this job.

Bed building.

Bed building.

Alex runs the BCS through the beds for finer definition.

Alex runs the BCS through the beds for finer definition.

The peas are covered with row cover due to the snow storm on the way.

The Sugar Snap peas are covered with row cover due to the snow storm on the way.

The hoop house are also covered with row cover. Salad mix, kale, onion and leek shoots.

The hoop house greens are also covered with row cover. Salad mix, kale, onion and leek shoots.

In the other hoop house, the mustards are just starting to show.

In the other hoop house, the mustards are showing great germination. The Advance crop production class direct seeded this hoop house about 2-3 weeks ago.

Soil builders.

Soil builders.

The chickens were rotated last week and seem to be very happy with their new pallet.

The chickens were rotated last week and seem to be very happy with their new pallet.

Essential course materials.

Essential course materials.

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Advance Crop production thinned these bad boys out last week. We are having great germination. Featuring cabbage.

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Oh, it’s 12:20? Time to go to lunch..

Mesa Pivirotto

Luffas, Cats & Turkeys

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Luffa growing ealier this year

On a rainy day before the students take their Thanksgiving break, I found Hillary on the farm transforming luffa gourds into luffa sponges. The student farm grew a beautiful crop of luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca) supported by a massive bamboo trellis. The plants yielded numerous gourds which were edible when young (check out Jason’s post on 9/10 for more on that) and develop their characteristics rough fibers when they mature on the vine. Sustainable agriculture students will be able to get a farm fresh luffa at the end of the semester. For the rest of the rainy day Hillary will focus on amending the phosphorous level in one of the hoophouses and will begin to seed radish and spinach crops in the other hoophouse.Image

 

Hillary and I reflected on a class trip to Caterpillar in Sanford where we took a factory tour of the very high tech plant that produces skid steers for the national and international market. They are very proud of their recent investment in an innovative assembly line, where they stream line the building of several types of skid steers. As a the company points out they are “the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment” among other things, and I got to wondering about Caterpillar’s effect on our natural resources, the safety of our people and planet, and the supposed carbon emissions limit we are running up against. If you are like me and wonder those things, you may be interested to find out that the company has a sustainable development plan which you can read online.

According to their sustainability report in 2012, I discovered that locally Caterpillar has aided two jobs training programs in our state. In Greenville, Caterpillar supported a 12 week course run by Pitt Community College to train logging-equipment operators by donating $1.25 million dollars’ worth of Caterpillar equipment. Also in Sanford, the company runs a Caterpillar Youth Apprenticeship program training high schools in welding for two years, culminating in a certificate in welding from our very own Central Carolina Community College.

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Merchandize compliments of Caterpillar

In other thoughts, the North Carolina Poultry Federation website informs me that poultry is the number one agricultural industry in the state and the state ranks number two nationally in Turkey production.  I did not get to see the package my thanksgiving turkey came in, so I have little chance of tracing it back, but there is a good chance it came from one of the leading producing states (Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas and Missouri).

Enjoy the rest of the Thanksgiving break!

 

 

Published by Lauren Hill