Introductions: Melissa

Melissa is a second year Food Studies student who works on integrated pest management (IPM) here at the Eden Hall Farm

Melissaphoto
I’m from the small south-central Indiana town called Trafalgar. I came to Food Studies  with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences from Ball State University. I’ve always been interested in food and considered going to culinary school  to become a pastry chef.  But, I am also passionate about agriculture so I felt that the Food Studies program would be a better fit for me. My focus and interest within this program is livestock and I spent this past summer interning at North Wood Ranch.

North Woods Ranch is a grass fed beef and pastured pork operation in Cranberry.

Introductions: Gianna

Stay tuned for a series of posts introducing the student graduate assistants at the Eden Hall Farm. First up is Gianna

Gianna

I came to Chatham’s MAFS program from a variety of positions in sustainable agriculture, including farm internships, environmental education, and farm management at College of Lake County. My interests in pursuing the program are vast but are connected to my passion towards incorporating sustainable farming and gardening into hands-on experiential education. I am currently working as the Grains Assistant at Eden Hall and will be doing community networking and curriculum work around grains growing. I am also working on the hops growing project.

I was given the opportunity to go to the PASA Field Day: Seed Cleaning Intensive Course hosted by Ernst Conservation Seeds. This family business has been saving an enormous variety of native seeds for 50 years! We learned about harvesting grains, separating the seeds, cleaning them and storing them. It was a great learning opportunity as the Grains Assistant and also have me a chance to meet some local grains farmers including Nigel Turdor from Weatherbury Farm. We even got to try some local wheat bread grown by Weatherbury Farm. I am excited to go out to Nigel’s farm and help him plant some winter grain in the next few weeks.
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September Update

Hops Harvest

Fresh hops, ready to harvest!

Fresh hops, ready to harvest!

We harvested the hops from the plants in the student garden on the 23rd. We cut the ropes that the bines (the name for hop vines) grew up all year and harvested the hops by hand. The plants are in their second year so we cut the bines off about four feet from the ground and composted what we cut off. Soon we’ll retie the ropes to the trellis. The plants in elsama are only one year old so they won’t be cut back this year.

We then dried them for a few days in the greenhouse and packed them in ziploc bags and stored those in the freezer.

unnamed  hops

Some of the hop cones (the name for the hop that’s harvested) are brown and more dried out. We think it’s because we may have harvested them too late. We’re going to experiment with brewing with them though to see what the difference may be. Look out for some Eden Hall beer in the future!

Work and Pick

harvestworknpick

Colorful Harvest!

Work and picks are now from 5-7 on certain Wednesdays. Next one will be a preservation day on oct 15 on preserving peppers: roasting freezing and dehydrating. Then the next work day will be November 5.

On Wednesday we worked out in elsama. We gleaned the last of the tomatoes, there were a ton! Now the plants will be pulled out and the beds tilled. We also helped load up the pumpkins, butternut squash and Amish crookneck squash that had been picked. They’ll be transported from Elsalma on the big hay wagon. We also got the chance to pick some amazing wildflower bouquets! All the wildflowers around the fence of elsama are in bloom. It was a really beautiful evening!

Garden Harvest 

Arely harvesting peppers

Arely harvesting peppers

There is a frost coming.

Allen and Arely preparing the lettuce  beds for frost

Allen and Arely preparing the lettuce beds for frost

In an effort to prepare we covered the new lettuce beds and harvested all mature looking peppers from the student garden, the high tunnel and Elsalma.  That’s a lot of peppers!

Harvest Dinner at Eden Hall

On September 20, Chatham University hosted a Harvest Dinner at Eden Hall Campus. About 60 people attended, including community members and Chatham faculty and staff. Eight students who currently work at the farm were able to attend as well.

For dinner, we harvested and provided many great ingredients from the farm, including Amish butternut squash, red onions, heirloom tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, yellow onions, tomatillos, sweet peppers, fresh herbs, wheat, and two organic pastured chickens.

Executive Chef Lee Keener of Google Pittsburgh prepared house-made charcuterie made from Clarion River Organics Berkshire Hogs.  Also included were a sampling of Himalayan Sea Salt cured Lonzina, Canadian Bacon, Guanciale, Szechuan Bacon and Cured Pork Offal: Tongue, Heart, Kidney, Spleen, and Liver.

Offerings from the Eden Hall Garden included heirloom tomato caprese (with hand-made fresh mozzarella), roasted tomatillo salsa verde, and pickled shiitakes.

Chef Dan Dooley, executive Chef at Chatham University prepared dinner for the evening. The delicious menu:

  • Soup
    Eden Hall Amish Butternut Squash and Pear Soup with a brandied crème
  • Salad
    Tortellini (Fontana Pasta , Vandergrift, Pa) with Pickled Red Cipollini onion, Kohlrabi and Radish Microgreens with a Meadow Belle Goat Cheese Vinaigrette
  • Entrée
    Braised Jamison Farm’s Lamb Shanks with a ragout of Heirloom Tomatoes with fresh, thyme, basil, shiitake mushrooms (Eden Hall) Merlot sauce (Narcisi Winery, Gibsonia) accompanied by Roasted Smashed Yukon Potatoes with Caramelized Garlic (Eden Hall)
  • Vegan Entrée
    Vegetable Quinoa Cakes with a Heirloom Tomato Basil Concasse accompanied by Roasted Smashed Yukon Potatoes with Caramelized Garlic (Eden Hall)
  • Dessert
    Apple Strudel Layers of local apple selection with scents of cinnamon and phyllo dough served with a Vanilla Cream

The weather was perfect- a gorgeous early fall evening with a light cool breeze. Guests arrived around 6:30 and enjoyed appetizers, beer, and wine in and around the new cafe (formerly the dairy barn) while listening to Vineyard Junction .

During this time, eight graduate students who work on the farm gave tours of the agricultural sites on campus. Guests learned about the history of Eden hall campus, and visited the student garden, moveable high tunnel and hoop house, and Elsama field. Students at each location talked to the guests about our work there and what ingredients were harvested from that site for the evening’s meal.

After tours and appetizers, dinner was served in the barn.

Dinner in the barn

It was a wonderful evening and we enjoyed sharing our work and harvest with the guests. Both local community members and Chatham community members were engaged and interested in what is happening at Eden Hall and it was a great opportunity for them to see it firsthand and talk directly with students about their experience there.

We hope we can host more events like this one in the future – it was a pleasure to have guests on the farm and share a delicious meal together!

Back to School Fall 2014

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.


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!


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.


Last, but not least, we have been discovering and identifying lots of animal life on the farm.

Good luck to everyone this semester!

To all the new students – remember to “Follow” this blog so you are notified when it’s updated!

The latest buzz at Eden Hall–

More photos of the three new hives of bees with first generation queens. The hives were originally urban hives from Pittsburgh–where the queens were bred in Lawrenceville, North Hills and the East Side. They are now residing here at Eden Hall, down the hill from the moveable high tunnel full of tomatoes and peppers. We are currently planting nectaries–wildflowers which secrete sweet liquid to tempt and feed pollinators–across the farm to feed our hives and attract native pollinators.

Dr. Gary Marshall, a Chatham Biology Professor, and Casey Vogan, a Falk Graduate student are operating the care of the hives and the feeding process. Stay tuned for more.