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Prepping for farming’s spring

Garlic planting one of the activities at Community Farm’s Fall Festival in Greenfield

  • GREENFIELD (October 27, 2013) — Greenfield Community Farm's fall festival brought a small crowd to the farm on Glen Brook Road on Sunday, despite the brisk temperatures. Recorder/Trish Crapo

    GREENFIELD (October 27, 2013) — Greenfield Community Farm's fall festival brought a small crowd to the farm on Glen Brook Road on Sunday, despite the brisk temperatures. Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • GREENFIELD (October 27, 2013) — In an agricultural spin on speed dating, "weed dating" gives people a chance to do something good for the farm and meet new people at the same time, said Greenfield Community Farm board member Shelly Beck. "It's good to be busy when you're meeting new people," she added. Here, participants picked rocks from a field while responding to questions on their buckets, such as, "What are three things you are both afraid of?" Recorder/Trish Crapo

    GREENFIELD (October 27, 2013) — In an agricultural spin on speed dating, "weed dating" gives people a chance to do something good for the farm and meet new people at the same time, said Greenfield Community Farm board member Shelly Beck. "It's good to be busy when you're meeting new people," she added. Here, participants picked rocks from a field while responding to questions on their buckets, such as, "What are three things you are both afraid of?" Recorder/Trish Crapo

  • GREENFIELD (October 27, 2013) — Greenfield Community Farm's fall festival brought a small crowd to the farm on Glen Brook Road on Sunday, despite the brisk temperatures. Recorder/Trish Crapo
  • GREENFIELD (October 27, 2013) — In an agricultural spin on speed dating, "weed dating" gives people a chance to do something good for the farm and meet new people at the same time, said Greenfield Community Farm board member Shelly Beck. "It's good to be busy when you're meeting new people," she added. Here, participants picked rocks from a field while responding to questions on their buckets, such as, "What are three things you are both afraid of?" Recorder/Trish Crapo

GREENFIELD — Rather than saving the cloves for pasta sauce, half a dozen people peeled away the thin white husks from garlic bulbs Sunday afternoon for burial in the soon to be frozen ground.

The activity was one of many at Sunday’s Fall Farm Festival at the Greenfield Community Farm, where winter coats were already in evidence but the work of farming was not done.

Just Roots apprentice Aaron Drysdale of South Deerfield explained garlic planted in the fall will survive the winter to grow in spring, provided the original bulb was properly stored and the thicker husk protecting the individual cloves is not removed. Cloves should be planted three inches deep and about six inches apart.

The cloves being planted were a portion held over from the spring’s harvest. Katie Campbell-Nelson of Greenfield, who works for the University of Massachusetts’ agricultural outreach program, advised first-time garlic growers buy cloves from a local farm. Supermarket garlic may not have been stored properly and could carry plant diseases from elsewhere, she said.

“We are a community farm, we run on a lot of volunteer power, so events like this are helpful,” Drysdale said, but the main business of the day was to introduce people to the farm.

About 50 people were already milling about the farm in the early afternoon, and numbers continued to grow.

Trouble Mandeson, also peeling garlic, said she came out to learn about the community garden. Mandeson is a member of the town Human Rights Commission, which she said has recently discussed ways to make Hillside Park off Conway Street more inviting.

Mandeson said she thought community garden plots in the park might be a good idea, she believes it is being discussed by others as well, and came to learn about Just Roots’ garden.

Just Roots has leased the one-time poor farm on Glenbrook Drive, off Leyden Road, from the town for two years now, said board president Wisty Rorabacher. Rorabacher said she hopes to change the negative associations of the land. Historically, poor farms often functioned as a sort of open-air debtors’ prison.

Just Roots began with the idea of finding an alternative location for the then-imperiled community garden on Pleasant Street, and now operates a small commercial farm, a community garden, an education site, a garden dedicated to the center for Self Reliance food pantry and Stone Soup Cafe in Greenfield, and produces subsidized $5 farm shares. Rorabacher said the goal is not to compete with growers for the existing 10 to 20 percent of people who already eat locally-grown food but to expand the trend. More information on the organization or how to get involved is available at http://justroots.org.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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