Morning pea-picking is good work. The farmers move down rows of emerald tendrils “dripping with peas,” as Assistant Farm Manager Hilary Crowell puts it, pinching off round, ripe pods and dropping them into buckets. With this bumper crop, harvesting goes quickly. And there are plenty of sweet snap peas for snacking. “Take a few for the return trip!” Crowell calls out to a couple of visitors who, after sampling one pod, don’t need convincing.
The morning harvest is 65 pounds of Super Sugar Snap peas for campers and staff to enjoy. And lots more to come.
Just beyond the pea patch stands a handsome new structure that encompasses a wash station, garden shed, and storage areas. According to Farm Manager Megan Phillips, once it is finished, it will revolutionize Chewonki’s farm operations.
“All of us have been involved in giving input about what would be most useful,” says Crowell. This is a building with intention. The finishing touches—including electricity, wash basins, and shelving—are still underway, but here’s what the the building promises to provide:
West bay: A place to store large implements such as the walk-behind tractor and some horse-drawn equipment. There will also be a sink where students can wash their hands, “something we’ve wanted for a long time,” says Crowell.
West room: A garden shed to hold hand tools, seeds, and other items that should not get wet.
Central wash station: A large open space with a concrete floor where harvested produce will be washed. There will be a modular, flexible system using 100-gallon water tanks allowing for a sequence of washes. Float valves will shut off hoses automatically when the tanks are full. The shade will help keep vegetables (and farmers) fresh. A washing machine modified to be a giant salad spinner will dry leafy greens. Several defensive strategies, such as spikes in doorframe corners to tell birds to nest elsewhere, will help keep critters and produce apart.
East room: A closed room where clean vegetables entertain themselves until delivery to the cooks in the Wallace Center kitchen.
Second floor: Storage space in the upper reaches of the building will hold out-of-season equipment.
No wonder our farmers are celebrating!