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.




Apiaries have arrived, bees are a buzzing and mushrooms are appearing.

This week a few folks at Eden Hall installed three apiaries on the field below the moveable high tunnel where graduate student Casey Vogan will be studying and researching all things bees. Stay tuned for honey.



Also this week, interns and GAs followed Allen Matthews into the woods on a hunt for wild chanterelles, which proved successful. We also harvested shiitakes and bush beans. Back home, I destemmed the shiitakes and sliced into thin strips, popped the ends off the beans and snapped them in half, sauteed them both up with a little garlic and olive oil, added some lemon zest and juice, parmesan, fresh basil and tossed into linguine. Finished with a dash salt and grind of pepper. Delicious dinner, quick and easy.


A week in pictures

This week at the farm, we got a lot done!

Interns worked with a local spirituality group planting wildflowers for pollination, transplanted squash for the fall CSA and the Food Bank in our Elsama field, harvested rye for Food Studies student Shauna Kearns delicious brick oven bread, weeded (always and forever),  inspected for insects, watched the bees pollinate on our wildflowers, tried the first of the yummy, delicious, pop-in-your-mouth yellow cherry tomatoes (many more to enjoy in the coming weeks.)

What are you enjoying this week from your garden?




Summer Workshops at Eden Hall

Take advantage of the summer workshops offered Thursday nights at Eden Hall in the coming weeks including:

  • Roof Run-off: Rainwater Harvest and Usage–July 17th @ 6:30
  • The Living Lawn: Sustainable Yard & Landscaping Practices–July 31st @ 6:30
  • Backyard Composting 101–August 14th @ 6:30pm
  • Harness the Sun: Solar Home Projects & Energy Saving Tips– August 28th @ 6:30pm

For more information and to register–




Work N’ Pick

“It’s amazing how much you can get done with a group of people working together.”

Katie Walker beams as she weeds around softball size kohlrabi out at Eden Hall last week. A straw hat dips around her face and blocks the three o’clock sun overhead. It’s an ideal summer Wednesday in the garden–soft blue skies, lingering white clouds and an ever-so-often breeze that sends the wildflowers dancing.

Katie Walker, one of the two Graduate Assistants that run the program.

The group she talks about is Work N’ Pick –a crew of exclusively Chatham students, faculty and staff that venture to Eden Hall either Wednesday nights or Saturday mornings throughout the summer to help out in the garden in exchange for harvest–hence the Work N’ Pick name.

Participant Hana Uman shows kale equals strength.

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Kale Summers–Here and There.


A few summers back, I lived in Cape Cod for a couple of months. It took about three hundred sandy steps to get to the shore and I usually rounded up my day with a nice beach walk and a swim in the mostly timid Nantucket Sound. Despite being so close to the ocean, I was turned off by the abundance of tourists (me being one of them) on the beach and in town. So, instead, I found solitude in the garden started by my housemates right outside my room. I weeded. I watered. I harvested. I sweat into the dirt of the garden, then would refresh my skins in the salt of the sea. It was a lovely combination.

That summer was my formal introduction to kale. Sure, I had consumed it before. I knew about it. But I hadn’t handled it. I hadn’t watched it grow from something small into big bulky bundles. My other housemates didn’t really care for kale despite how much we had. So, I took it upon myself to find something to do with it.

It became the summer of variations of kale salad.

A few days ago, I snapped my first beautiful bundle of Eden Hall kale. As I broke its stem from its base, I traced the iridescent pale purple of its stalks with my pointer finger. I studied the kale’s curly leaves and they reminded me of when you look down into a dense forest from an airplane. In the green house, I talked to Allen Matthews about the kale. He informed me Eden Hall has three varieties– Red RussianRipbor and Toscano.


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