The spring semester always flies by. Spring 2017 was no different, and I would say it has gone in the blink of an eye.
My semester at the Howdy Farm provided me with a hands-on educational experience in which I was able to grow my technical knowledge of horticultural production, but also taught me a lot of life lessons. I tend to be a list person, so here are a few things I took away from my experience at the Howdy Farm this semester:
4. A mutual goal makes for an instant connection. Pulling weeds, planting seeds and spreading mulch are tasks that provide ample time to have great conversations and get to know someone on a deep level. I had countless conversations with volunteers, some that were very small-talk oriented and others that caused me to leave the farm knowing I had made a new friend. Conversations ranged from family to school to life struggles, but I cannot count the times I laughed until my stomach hurt. I think having a common goal to complete a given task is what forms a friendship. We shared in our current experience, and made it more fun by sharing stories about our lives. I did not use my Howdy Farm experience as social hour, but I am thankful for the friendships I made through this experience.
This semester was pivotal in my education here at Texas A&M, and I think The Howdy Farm has a huge part in that. I have a renewed faith in my area of study, that it directly fits my skills and passions. I am thankful for this invaluable experience, and I look forward to being involved with the Howdy Farm in the future.
Thanks and Gig 'Em.
All good things must come to an end, but they also open up the doors for a new beginning. In our case, a field has been cleared for another season.
Harvest has finished in some areas of the farm, and we were left with empty soil, aside from the residues left over from the previous crop. The preparation for the next season began immediately after clearing the produce.
It is always exciting to see the end product of any project.
At the Howdy Farm, our end product is the produce, and we sell most of it at the Brazos Valley Farmers' Market in Downtown Bryan on Saturday mornings.
Our product line for this particular morning included Yukon Gold potatoes, Red Pontiac potatoes, red butterhead lettuce heads, red leaf lettuce, Napa cabbage, green magic broccoli and Texas Legend sweet onions. The customers selected what they wanted, and we weighed their potatoes and broccoli to determine the price. The lettuce, cabbage and onions were sold by quantity, rather than by weight.
I was able to walk around and have conversations with a few other vendors. I met the "Jammin' Granny" who raises produce specifically to make specialty jams and jellies. I bought a few jars from her to take home as gifts for two of my roommates. I also bought a jar of bread and butter pickles for my other roommate.
The other vendors showed great pride in their products and had incredible stories to tell about how they became interested in their particular business.
I have decided to visit the farmers' market more often. I love the wide variety of farm fresh product and the atmosphere was incredibly friendly..
I learned that as the weather starts to warm up, cold crops like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts start to get bitter and rotten more quickly. Mature lettuce gets woody, and goes bad quickly, so immediately after washing, we shook of the excess water and placed them in coolers for storage in the refrigerator. The lettuce could stay in there for up to ten days without going bad.
I cannot express how rewarding it feels to finally be able to harvest. It truly makes me feel accomplished, even though the fragile lettuce frustrated me how easily it came apart and the discovery of a few cutworms was a little discouraging. Despite all of that, I love being able to produce something that others will enjoy.