Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Growing

Things have settled down a bit in the gardens, but there is a lot still growing! We did a big harvest for Mission and then another for the Vietnam Veteran's Food Bank in North Adam through WRAPS (Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus) last week and have been having fun brushing snow off the beds. Most everything in the Presidential Garden looks great (even if things are still on the small side), Kellogg is doing marginally well (some frozen veggies, but lots of wonderful looking mache!), and Parsons is holding up well also, except for some damage after the 10 degree temperatures last week. Here are a few pictures! Wishing you all a restful, happy holiday season!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We're still growing!

Even though for the last two days we have had gorgeous, more typical gardening weather, the garden is definitely in its winter growing phase. Because the plastic covers are over all the beds it doesn't look like much is going on, but check out these pictures of what we're still growing!

Claytonia in presidential garden

Kale and Bok Choy in the Presidential Garden


Spinach in Parsons

Arugula in Parsons
Lettuce and Endive

Kale and Chard that has been going strong since last April


There is garlic under this straw that overwinters and will be harvestable next summer

Endive and Radicchio

Lacinato/Toscano/Dinosaur Kale, also from last April

Brussel sprouts are getting closer to being ready, but are being eaten as well

So many flourishing greens!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall Harvest Events

After the first snow of the season fell yesterday afternoon, it's really becoming transition time in the gardens as we tuck our cold-hardy greens in from the cold and harvest all the remaining summer crops that we can. The tomatoes have been very impressive, as they continued to ripen this week despite a few frosts and some crazy wind. Maybe our efforts at the work party last weekend to sucker and top off the plants so they could focus on ripening their remaining fruit paid off! New seedlings in Parsons and the Presidential Garden are looking good, and our transplanted greens are coming along as well. Kale, chard, and other greens from the spring and summer are still going strong! We've also still got some beets and carrots ready for harvest. Even our peppers have continued to grow through the colder weather.

 We've had a lot going on in the past few weeks in addition to our usual work parties. The Organic Valley Generation Organic young farmers tour came by on the 12th to spread the word about organic farming, and we had a great time meeting young farmers from around the country and showing them the gardens! In addition to the Sukkot dinner with the JRC, we've collaborated with Koreans of Williams and VISTA on some multi-cultural harvest celebrations. Last Friday (the 15th) WSG hosted a Williams After Dark event, where KOW made a delicious soup with our napa cabbage and over 50 students came to make and eat salsa (our tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos supplemented with Mighty Food tomatoes and onions and Peace Valley tomatillos) and pesto (we have so much basil!) Thanks to Dining Services for sharing kitchen utensils and gelato with us! Everyone also had fun painting ceramic pots to plant with herbs for their windowsills. Then last night, WSG and VISTA co-hosted a Harvest Dinner at the Log for both students and faculty! We had a great time cooking (and cleaning) together, and served more delicious salsas with our tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers, as well as kale, chard, and more cabbage from the garden to supplement the yummy frijoles, picadillo, y arroz con leche (with local apples!)

As we prepare for the increasingly colder temperatures, we'll be saying goodbye to our tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, but also planting garlic and maybe even more cold-hardy greens. We're also hoping that more people will get involved with covering and uncovering the hoop tunnels as the weather varies--nothing like your very own bed of greens to tuck in at night!

Some pictures from our Williams After Dark "Celebrating the Harvest" event:

Miso Napa Cabbage Soup

sampling the soup..

our tomatoes for salsa!

decorating pots

salsa making


making and eating pesto

chopping tomatoes for salsa

peppers and tomatillos from the garden

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October update- work parties, presidential garden opening ceremony, and more!

Since the last blog post so many things have happened in the gardens! We've had a few near frosts but nothing that our row covers haven't been able to handle. We're hoping the tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos will keep thriving at least until the end of this week when we'll be making salsa, and most everything else we have growing is happier in the cold. We had two more successful work parties where we planted the new beds and built hoop tunnels in all three gardens and ate delicious lunches. We also celebrated the harvest and Sukkot by sharing garden produce at Shabbat dinner on the 24th. We've been harvesting salad greens every Wednesday morning for Mission Dining Hall and harvesting herbs and various veggies for Log Lunch on Friday.
The other big excitement of the past few weeks was the opening ceremony of the Presidential Garden, which was held on the morning of The Place of Taste Symposium on Food, Culture, and Community. It was a beautiful morning and we had a fantastic turnout of adults in the community and especially the symposium speakers, many of whom happily wore WSG buttons gave us shout-outs in their talks! We're so grateful that the Falk family is sharing their backyard with us- it's such a great way to connect the campus and demonstrate the value of growing food in a sustainable way. Here are some pictures from the last few weeks: 
Salad from work party lunch!
Putting up hoops in Parsons

Planting the new beds in Parsons with cold-hardy greens

We're still harvesting tomatoes!
Work party lunch
Professor Goldstein speaking at the Presidential Garden opening ceremony
President Falk at opening ceremony

Michelle sang her wonderful planting song again!
The ribbon cutting- Karen Falk did the honors

Some of the VIPS... Bill Yosses- the pastry chef at the White House, Mitchell Davis- cookbook author, food journalist, and food studies scholar who moderated one of the panels on taste, and John Moresi and Jimmy Guiden from Mission catering
Transplanting in the presidential garden

Heritage wheat! Unfortunately since this picture was taken something nibbled down many of the plants...
More transplanting!For more pictures of the opening ceremony, check out the Zilkha Center facebook page!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Work party #1 of the fall!

So today we successfully built 4 new beds in the Parsons garden and planted 4 varieties of heirloom wheat in the presidential garden! It was a beautiful day and we had an amazing turnout- probably between 25-35 people over the course of the day. We also had a delicious lunch of mostly garden produce. Working with 2'' thick white oak instead of 1'' cedar caused a few hiccups in the process but it all worked out it in end! Here are some pictures of us in action and what we accomplished:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Harvesting and preserving

Campus has been very quiet the last week or so and now seems to be barely waking up as students trickle back in. Despite a few rabbit, deer, and missing compost incidents, the Parsons and Kellogg gardens are doing as well as ever! Those of us still around have been trying to preserve what we can for use the rest of the year through various methods. Here are a few things we've been up to:
-Using the cryovack and blastfreezer in the Paresky kitchen to vacuum seal and freeze kale and chard
-Blanching, peeling, quartering, and freezing tomatoes for future use in sauce/salsa
The tomatoes

The blanching and peeling in process
Final product! Now we just need permanent freezer space...
-Making and freezing lots more pesto from all three types of basil (lime, amythest, and Superbo Genoa)
-Pickling the biblical cucumbers (going to happen this week)

We also harvested all of the carrots from Kellogg which maybe should have happened a bit earlier, but they're still quite tasty and impressive looking!
Some of them were really thick!