Some Wesleyan students summer in agriculture in Middletown

The weekly event, held this year on the South Green, runs through October 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rising juniors Gray Simon and Solea Fiester watched a toddler nibble on a garlic scape, which his mother said she loved. They sold fresh currants, globe turnips, radishes and kale.

The two explained that Long Lane had not had a water supply for some time, so the students had to carry buckets to support crops from a nearby house. The two taps on site have been broken for about two weeks, said Simon, who prefers his vegetables raw.

“Some of them didn’t get as much water as they normally would,” so they’re smaller, but “packed full of flavor,” Fiester said.

In the coming weeks, student farmers will also harvest sour cherries, onions, beets, Swiss chard, garlic (they grow 200 bulbs and hand-dry them), corn and tomatoes.

The garden operates with between six and eight students who stay on campus during the summer to work full-time, aided by community volunteers. They are paid by college funds and the Bon Appetite in-house catering service for their work.

“We create a fun atmosphere,” Fiester said.

They eschew mechanized methods of farming on the 2-acre plot, instead preferring wide fork or tilling the soil, which means a lot of manual labor, she added.

Long Lane uses mixed or inter-cropping, an indigenous model that, for example, has space for sharing corn, beans and squash, Fiester explained, much like Three Sisters Farm does in Essex.

Long Lane adheres to a low tillage pattern to reduce the number of weeds growing, she added. There is also a booth on their property. Students donate surplus produce to St. Vincent De Paul Middletown and the Amazing Grace Food Pantry, and distribute to community members.

Across the street, city-based Forest City Farms sold Swiss chard, peppers, kale and other vegetables.

Angela Surowecki, who runs SNAP-Ed for UConn Extension, set up a “game” on a table so people could guess the different types of grains in glass jars, such as barley, quinoa, oats steel cut and various types of rice. .

“It helps people put visuals with things they may have heard of or had, or make things familiar with things they may not have had and don’t. aren’t used to using,” Surobecki said.

For example, many may not think popcorn is a cereal or know that many are a good source of protein.

Although whole grains take longer to cook than, say, “instant” brown rice, they are cheaper if purchased in bulk, she added. People can also whip up a large batch and use it throughout the week in different recipes. “It helps you optimize your food budget, while making prep work a whole lot easier.”

For environmentalists, cinder + salt on Main Street was there, with tees, tanks, market bags, reusable silicone straws and other items.

Additionally, the Middletown Recycling Service accepted food scraps for composting.

For more information, visit the Middletown Farmers Market on Facebook or the Middletown Farmers Market Instagram page.

About Lolita Plowman

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