Summertime

watermelon in the field

summer treasure

And the livin’ is easy (er)…  Students are enjoying (really!) a month of summer school during June – harvesting, cleaning up, and covering some of the beds for the summer.

Summertime in the south offers the kind of garden/farm respite that winter does up north. While some things don’t mind the heat, a lot of things we like to eat just can’t survive the high temperatures and humidity – and the plethora of pests. So garden work and workers take a rest – and we spend more time indoors, huddled around the air-conditioning vent, evaluating, reporting, and planning.

But first, harvest! Students have enjoyed snacking on cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. And today, they harvested some watermelons to try out in a taste test. Since these are heirloom varieties, they are also saving the seeds for next year. Needless to say,  this is one of their favorite summer school activities.

melon taste test

Which melon do you like the best? 

mike saving watermelon seeds

Mike saves a watermelon seed – while enjoying its delicious fruit

These guys

What a busy and productive year this has been at the new location! New staff, new grants, new students, and a ton of new processes, procedures, and reports! But the core of it all are the students who work hard ever day to get fresher, healthier food to fellow students while gaining job skills for themselves – and the thousands of students their good work benefits.

Getting a group photo was next to impossible (there are 9 full-time students, 30 part- time), but we grabbed the ones in the field one day before many of them left for the summer, and we got what we got.

outtake 14 improved

Here are a few more photos from earlier in the fall. Good kids, growing along with the program.