Saturday, August 20, 2011

Turtle Farm

This summer I volunteered a couple days a week at a farm near my home in Des Moines, Iowa called Turtle Farm. Check out their website here:

Turtle Farm is an organic CSA (community supported agriculture) in Granger, IA. Angela Tedesco is the owner, and Ben, the farm manager, runs things with the help of three full-time employees (Lucy, Darrin, and Josh), and numerous volunteers. The farm grows many different types of vegetables: eggplant, pole beans, snap peas, beets, squash, tomatoes, strawberries, asparagus, cucumbers, okra, chard, lettuce, and peppers, just to name a few. Ben likes to grow many unique varieties that you can't find in grocery stores. I didn't know there were white eggplants and brown peppers called sweet chocolates! One of my favorite parts of this summer was learning about all of the different vegetables (and sampling them, of course).

I've gotten to help out with many different tasks during my time at Turtle Farm. I had very limited farming experience before this summer, so I learned a lot. I helped harvest, weed, move fences, weave plants up trellises, lay down weed fabric, and set up irrigation. This experience helped me appreciate how much work farming really is. I was usually there for 3-4 hours, but the farm crew puts in 8 hour days. As hard as the work is, it is extremely fulfilling. I like feeling that my physical effort is accomplishing a worthwhile task, because what could be better than feeding people? It's also a great way to spend time outdoors and see all kinds of cool critters (I'm an insect fanatic). Yesterday we found a bullsnake that's endangered in Iowa! All in all it's been extremely rewarding, and I'm grateful to everyone at the farm for giving me this experience. I'm looking forward to future agricultural adventures.

by Megan Brant '13

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