Farm People are Friendly

I figured that the best place to start my exploration of local eating would be at square one: a farm. I chose to work at the Yale farm, which sells its organically grown produce to restaurants in New Haven. The farm has volunteer hours on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:00 to 5:00, which are open to Yale students and members of the community. I learned two things very quickly at the farm. First, farm people are friendly – volunteers and farm managers alike were eager to help and give guidance. Second and more importantly, I learned never to step on the garden beds – a rule that seems obvious to a veteran farmer but foreign to a new volunteer.

The first project I assisted with was to aerate the soil with tools called broad forks, giant pronged instruments that dig into the ground and loosen the soil. After broad forking, we neatened the soil with steal rakes.

Next, I helped move the chicken coop, so that the place where the chickens were living could be converted into additional gardens. After corralling the chickens into a smaller area, we moved their coop down a hill to a spot tucked out of the way. The harder part was carrying the chickens to their new home. The trick to holding a chicken is to have a firm grip so that he/she relaxes. You can even grab chickens by the feet; after a few seconds they hang calmly. Watching the chickens interact, I saw the original meaning of the phrase, “top of the pecking order” – some chickens clearly had powerful personalities and knew how to get what they wanted.

For more information on the Yale farm or its main customer, Miya’s Sushi, check out their websites:

http://www.yale.edu/sustainablefood

http://miyassushi.com/

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