A lot has happened since our last update! The summer term wrapped up in the second week of August, then students had a short week long break before fall term began. At the end of August, we welcomed back all of the continuing students, and welcomed all of the new students. We have been excited to get to know the 29 students in the new Food Studies MA cohort, and an intern we are hosting from EARTH University in Costa Rica.
Here are the highlights from the past month!
On August 29th, the new cohort of Food Studies Masters students in the Falk School of Sustainability came out to Eden Hall to talk with Allen Matthews and the Graduate Assistants who work with him there- Amber Webb, Casey Vogan, and Katie Walker.
After talking about the farm and the work we’re doing at Eden Hall, Allen showed everyone a part of the campus most students don’t often see. We hiked up a short trail through the woods and found ourselves in a spacious beautiful open space called Stanford Meadow.
After visiting the meadow, the new students and the GAs harvested fresh vegetables and herbs from the student garden and prepared lunch together. After eating lunch, everyone headed to nearby Harvest Valley Farm for a tour.
Allen Matthews shares some thoughts on the “Blue Sky Vision” for Eden Hall Campus, as he shows the new Food Studies MA students the Stanford Meadow.
The new Food Studies MA students worked together with the Eden Hall GAs to prepare a delicious lunch from the garden. Here they are gathering to eat.
The new Food Studies MA students worked together with the Eden Hall GAs to prepare a delicious lunch from the garden. Here is the caprese salad they prepared.
A beautiful lunch full of color from the garden!
Beautiful Stanford Meadow at Eden Hall Campus
In addition to the new cohort, we have welcomed an intern from EARTH University in Costa Rica, Arely Quirós Alpízar. She has been working on the farm with us, setting up a compost research project, and working with Penn’s Corner. Look for an update in the future with more about her and her projects!
Arely helps plant cole crops in Elsama
New friends, Allen Matthews and our new intern from Earth University, Arely Quirós
Lunch straight from the garden, a beautiful rainbow of fresh veggies
Collecting microbes! This investigation is about capturing the efficient microorganisms found in forests and reproducing them through a fermentation process to be applied by a liquid product. The product can be used to increase the biodiversity of farming systems.
Cooked rice was packed in a cup, covered with a screen, and left turned upside down on the forest floor (15 of these were placed) for 5 days. Microorganisms moved in, resulting in the mold, fungus, and whatever else is growing there. We will be finding out soon what exactly was collected in the rice.
It may look funky, but it smells nice like the forest, and slightly sweet.
We hit the ground running this term, harvesting 200+ pounds of produce weekly for delivery to Parkhurst dining services in Anderson Hall. Students have been letting us know how much they enjoy “EDEN HALL TOMATOES” available fresh from the fields to their plates on the Shadyside campus. Keep the feedback coming! It makes us so very happy to know that this delicious food we’re producing is being enjoyed by our community.
Fresh from the field! Tomatoes, peppers, and cabbages, all bound for Anderson Dining Hall!
A beautiful day to work in Elsama
Arely navigates some overgrown tomatoes- there may be weeds, but there are so many delicious tomatoes hiding in there!
Produce ready to be washed and packed!
Wild Cherry tomatoes! They are intensive to harvest, but worth it.
Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash are coming in nicely! Look for them in the near future!
A very full Fit packed for delivery to dining services!
Cherry tomatoes on the vine
What a harvest! 150 lbs. of tomatoes harvested for Chatham University dining services on August 27th.
Last, but not least, we have been discovering and identifying lots of animal life on the farm.
A tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata), the larvae of the five-spotted hawkmoth, who was found enjoying our tomatoes. Sorry hornworm, those aren’t for you.
This is a tomato hornworm covered with Braconid wasp eggs. This wasp is what we call a beneficial insect because it is a parasite on the tomato hornworm and so helps protect our tasty tomatoes from these destructive worms. If you find a hornworm that looks like this, leave it alone! The wasps will breed and move to other hornworms.
Agriope spider in the tomatoes in Elsama. Harmless but awesome garden spider!
Two caterpillars found in the high tunnel on the tomatoes.
Can you identify them?
Good luck to everyone this semester!
To all the new students – remember to “Follow” this blog so you are notified when it’s updated!