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A heartfelt thanks to Aaron and Suzanne at Kingsbury Farm and Garden Market. Despite their overload of work and loss from Hurricane Irene, they offered a warm welcome to Roni Donnenfeld’s kindergarten class from the Warren School.
As part of a service learning project, the students are tackling the issue of hunger. We went to the farm to harvest carrots for the Food Shelf and to learn about farming. We compared pulling up carrots by hand from the ground to pulling them out behind Aaron’s machine that drives through the bed, shakes the soil and loosens up the carrots. Children came up with just green tops and no carrots when harvesting by hand. It was too hard to yank those huge delectable veggies out of the ground, but the machine made it so easy that we harvested 400 pounds of carrots in an hour.
The carrot washing machine was met with giggles, awe and focus. Children gently dumped carrots in a barrel at one end which rumbled and tumbled the carrots downhill under a Dr. Seuss- type system of pipes spraying water. The carrots then fell onto a conveyor belt made of PVC pipes where the children did quality control. “Grab that one; it has a boo boo.” Ingenious, inventive, inspirational were the comments every few seconds from each of the parent volunteers. Yes indeed. Aaron knows what he is doing and he thinks about how to improve the nutrient levels in his produce and remain organic.
We experienced steam as we dug into the huge compost pile Aaron has been building. He explained that it will be enriched with super fine basalt rock dust. This dust is loaded with minerals and trace elements and should help grow the kind of organisms that are essential for healthy soil. He’s also applying this basalt rock dust all over the farm. He introduced us to the word "remineralizing." The idea is that he will be replacing all of the trace elements and minerals that have been removed through farming over the years. He hopes remineralizing will increase resistance to disease and insects and will produce more nutritious crops with higher antioxidant levels.
After so much hard work, Suzanne met our hunger needs with cookies that excited the tongue with a rich blend of tastes and textures and topped off our tummies. Thank you for persevering in these hard times and making the time to be distracted by a group of 5- and 6-year-olds and to teach them about farming. It certainly became a highlight of our studies.
Warren Elementary School