It’s been a busy and beautiful summer at the Duke Campus Farm so far. My fellow summer intern, Katie, and I have enjoyed becoming part of the multi-faceted and fascinating world Emily Sloss (farm manager) has created here.
Items covered in this post:
-Summer begins as our business continues to grow!
-What’s growing at DCF?
-Our visit to Frog Pond Farm (and why you should go, too!)
Our first month-long CSA has been a great success and we’re looking forward to another round in August (see a sample CSA box below!) We have also spent the past month selling produce at theDuke Farmer’s Market on Friday afternoons, and we will continue to sell there through the summer. The market is a great place to grab some Duke Campus Farm swag as well!
In addition to expanding our business model, we are just darn excited about summer. Our space is always evolving, but the summer season is a particularly vibrant time of year for the farm. We are anticipating the coming weeks when tomatoes will spring from their vines and the bright colors of corn, okra, beans, eggplants, peppers, and more will explode from every row. These summer favorites are coming up as their spring neighbors produce final fruits (come out Friday for some of our last beets, strawberries, snap peas, and more!) We’ve laid drip irrigation so the plants don’t fry in Durham’s heat, and we’ve shifted our work hours so we don’t fry either. Join us Thursdays and Sundays from 6-8:30pm for community farming fun!
Our hands-on internship at the farm also allows us to learn from the experts. Manager Emily is arranging visits to area farms so Katie and I can witness how the veterans construct their own ventures and visions of sustainable, organic agriculture. Our first visit landed us at nearby Frog Pond Farm, owned by Libby Searles and Larry Bohs. Larry and Libby (with help from their two kids and a pair of friendly cats) maintain a marvelous operation that focuses primarily on berry production but also includes some row crops similar to ours depending on season (chard, tomatoes, leafy greens, potatoes etc.) for a CSA and personal use.
A particularly impressive feature of Frog Pond’s farmed land is that it is extensively mulched. Although small wood chips don’t sound like the sexiest farm feature out there, the protective groundcover effectively prevents weeds from sprouting through – believe us, weed-less crop rows are a beautiful thing (and hard to come by!) We’ll work hard this summer to follow Frog Pond’s example.
Worth noting: Frog Pond’s irrigation system, while way beyond my level of comprehension, is a wonder orchestrated by Larry’s engineering brain. Definitely worth asking about it you get the chance to visit!
Finally (though we could write a novel about this place), a simply awe-inspiring piece of the Frog Pond puzzle is the family’s home. Libby and Larry designed and built the house themselves, and it includes every possible feature –and more—that you could imagine under the labels ‘sustainable,’ ‘efficient,’ and ‘insanely innovative.’ We left our visit more than energized by the family’s commitment to ethical farming and living.
Thanks, Frog Pond Farm! We are grateful for your stories and advice, and are glad to call you mentors and friends. We certainly know where to send friends of the Campus Farm during berry season!
Stay tuned for more of our agricultural adventures!