There has been plenty going on in the last two weeks on the farm! LEAF is kicking into high gear for the summer season, getting ready to start our eight week internship next week. All the staff are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the youth crew that will make the 2017 season unique and meaningful.
Last week, LEAF had its first real harvest of the season! We harvested kale and salad mix for some restaurants in Carlisle, and our squash blossoms are beginning to come in.
It is so rewarding to be able to sell produce to restaurants in our community. For the youth in our program, it gives them a great opportunity to strive for the most excellent product possible, and it can create a sense of real contribution to the food system. It's another instance in which interns at LEAF know that the quality of their work matters, and that they are capable of creating something wonderful for someone to enjoy. One product in particular is a feature at Trattoria Piatto. They take LEAF squash blossoms (the little flowers at the end of the squash!), stuff them with ricotta, and then fry them. This delicate harvest is an honored task for the crew.
This week, the harvest was completed by some important folks at LEAF - our Crew Leaders! Crew Leader Training began on Wednesday in order to prepare these folks with the skills and knowledge they need to lead our youth crew this summer. Olivia and Lynn will each work with six youth interns, through work tasks, culinary lessons, and partner farm visits, in order to ensure that they get the most from their LEAF experience.
During training, the staff and the crew leaders worked together to have conversations about the complexities of being a leader, and how mentorship can impact someone. A recurring theme throughout this week and many other times at LEAF is the value of being "seen" by someone, and honored for who you are. This can be a transformative part of discovering what you're capable of, whether it's harvesting lettuce in record time, or conquering a daunting public speaking challenge.
The group got lost accomplished in the field as well, planting carrots, beans, and lettuce mix. The beans will eventually be harvested and then made into our dilly beans, which the interns preserve. They're a great way to have LEAF produce year round, and it's fun to watch the youth crew practice their canning skills.
We have also been hard at work transforming our post-harvest handling space into a space that can efficiently process and pack all of the great vegetables we'll be sending out to the community this season. It will also double as a space for interns to meet and collaborate, like a hub for the whole program.
Over the summer, the blog will be updated every other week with information about what's we're all up to! We'll feature individual crew members, and share some of their insights as they learn and grow together. Make sure to look out for special events and ways to get involved!