Last week I was lucky enough to take a tour of the Frost Valley Educational Farm with Beth Fitzpatrick, our hard-working and talented farm manager. I was amazed by the abundance of produce and by the many small discoveries to be had about even the most familiar foods!

During my short visit, I saw pepper plants so loaded with green peppers that they bent over to touch the ground, super-sized green beans by the hundreds, and green speckled pumpkins over a foot in diameter peeking out from beneath their canopy of plate-sized leaves.

August has been a month of abundant harvests featuring over twenty varieties of vegetables and berries, kale growing almost faster than we can eat it, and my personal favorite, a type of English cucumber sweet enough to eat as a stand-alone snack.

The Farm grows over 4000 pounds of produce each year, all of which is consumed by our guests and staff, whether through our East Valley programs, special events, or at the small farm stands we host on summer camp checkout days.

Even though we aren’t growing it to eat, I appreciated one crop in particular that represents the way we sustainably integrate our production with the ecological needs of our land. One section of the Farm is planted with buckwheat, a cover crop that builds up the availability of phosphorous and calcium in the soil while also providing valuable pollinator habitat (these insects in turn help our vegetables grow).

Want to check out the farm, too?

Visit the Frost Valley Educational Farm for our annual Fall Farm Day on Sunday, September 24 from 1-4pm. You can see for yourself whether those peppers and pumpkins have yet turned orange! Read more about Fall Farm Day here

Katharine Chute

About the Author

Katharine Chute

Katharine Chute is the Sustainability Coordinator at Frost Valley YMCA. She works on projects ranging from renewable energy and recycling to habitat enhancement and local food production. She is originally from Minnesota, where she first developed her love of the outdoors on canoe camping trips near the Canadian border. Here in New York, she enjoys exploring the Catskill Mountains by foot and bike and sharing her love of the natural world with others!

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