It is already two weeks into my internship at the Howdy Farm and I have already done so much! Before I get into all of that, though, let me introduce myself. My name is Colette Langley and I am a senior Supply Chain Management Major. I am sure you are all wondering, what is a Supply Chain Management major doing on the farm? Well, I am actually getting a minor in Horticulture so this Howdy Farm internship is helping me to achieve my minor. I joined Howdy Farm during my sophomore year and I fell in love with farming and I decided I wanted to go more in-depth into farming and horticulture so I decided to add a minor in it!
Now back to the actual internship. The interns have already been able to help out with so many things, and I am already learning a lot about farming in general. First of all, it is a lot of work! I am only working for 9 hours a week at the farm and this weekend my back has made me feel like a grandma. There are muscles that are sore that I did not even know existed. But with all of that said, I have absolutely loved my time at the farm so far. It is wonderful to spend time outside with plants and to learn all about growing food.
During the first week of my internship, we got all sorts of seeds started. We planted them into trays you can see below. There are all sorts of good seeds planted. We have seeds such as cauliflower, lettuce, cilantro, and also an interesting seed called Shungiku. I have included a picture below because I thought the seeds were so unique and I wanted to see if I could learn some more about the plant!
I did some research about Shungiku online and here are just a few of the tidbits that I found. Shungiku is also called chrysanthemum greens and they are used as a leaf vegetable in many Asian dishes. They are especially an essential ingredient in hot pot dishes and can be found in dishes from Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Vietnamese dishes. The greens are also used in stir fries, salads and sushi. Shungiky has “a fairly strong, slightly sweet, somewhat grassy/herbal flavor” according to diversvore.com. Once the plant blooms the chrysanthemum flowers can also be eaten or dried to use in tea. See below for a picture of the Shungiku greens and its flowers!
The interns have also harvested Sweet Potato leaves. Who knew they were edible? I definitely did not! We spent an afternoon cutting off the shoots and leaves and then washing and bundling them. The leaves have a bitter taste, but I was pleasantly surprised by a nice aftertaste that tasted a bit fruity. You could use Sweet Potato leaves in a salad or stir fry to add some unique flavor and to use more of the plant so not as much goes to waste! According to Prevention they are "ridiculously healthy" and noted that they are nutritionally very similar to spinach leaves with lots of B6, Vitamin C and riboflavin. I think these sweet potato leaves could be the next super food (you herb it here first).
After we harvested the leaves, we got to harvest the sweet potatoes! It was a little disappointing in that we did not find too many sweet potatoes, but I had a great time digging around in the dirt. It kind of felt like we were archaeologists because you have to be careful when digging out Sweet Potatoes or else they will break in half. Once you find a potato you have to carefully dig around it until you have uncovered the whole sweet potato and then you can carefully remove it from the ground. We definitely went all in for our search for the sweet potatoes. We destroyed the row, but I think we can safely say that we found all of the sweet potatoes there were!
That is all for this week, but I will be back again for another blog (hopefully) by the end of this week!