Hey there, folks! I’m Jackson Blum from Hanover, New Hampshire, and I’m part of this year’s Lazarus Summer Internship crew. It sure has been an edifying and exciting week on the Farm.
Last Saturday, all six of us headed to CitySeed’s Wooster Square Farmers’ Market to have our first taste of what it’s like to actually sell the delicious produce that we grow on the farm. Local community members who stopped by the farm stand showed a strong appreciation for our colorful beet selection; we sold out within the first hour.
On Tuesday, Jeremy gave us a primer on how to irrigate the Farm’s fields using drip lines, these black hoses that we install across our crop beds with tiny perforations running along their bottom sides. When we turn on the hoses, water slowly percolates through the drip lines and saturates the base of each plant and its surrounding soil. It’s a technique of irrigation that is more precise and less vulnerable to rapid evaporation than the use of sprinklers.
Once we got a firm hold on the basics, we installed these drip lines across the beds where we recently transplanted our new peppers and eggplants.
At the end of the day, we sprayed the field with neem oil, a natural pesticide that is extracted from the neem tree native to the Indian subcontinent. Harmless to humans, neem oil helps ward away any insects that may want to feast on the leaves of these juvenile veggies.
Wednesday was our introduction to the wonderful machine known as the Jang Seeder, which digs up soil, drops a semi-precise number of seeds, and properly buries the seeds as it is pulled down a bed. Using the device can cut the amount of time required for seeding from minutes to seconds. It’s certainly less back-breaking than placing each seed in the bed by hand.
On Thursday, we worked on our raspberries, weeding the area so that it seemed less like a jungle and planting posts in the ground so we could trellis the plants between them.
Early Sunday morning, we took the train into New York City for the 11th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park.
We served as volunteers at the BlackJack Barbecue station, hosted by Jimmy Hagood, a pitmaster (such a cool job title) who was featured in Michael Pollan’s new book, Cooked, as well as Jack Hitt, a New Haven resident, frequent contributor to This American Life, and a longtime friend of the YSFP. In the above photo, Jack is second from the right, pulling pork with Maya Midzik.
The barbecue platters, which were assembled in the thousands as customers lined up along Madison Avenue, were finger-licking good. Dining on the hand-crafted pulled pork sandwiches and cold lemonade on top of the double-decker BlackJack bus, with live country music pulsing through the park, was a satisfying cap to a week of farm work and education.