What a FABULOUS day at the farm! About two hundred students came out today to witness the wheat harvest. One class got to pick carrots out of the ground, wash them and eat them in the span of about 5 minutes. You just can't get any fresher than that!
Today we harvested the wheat in two different ways. The first way was like the Romans did thousands of years ago with a scythe. Dan Conley, storyteller extraordinaire, wheat expert, and all around great guy, came and taught about 200 students over the course of the day how wheat was harvested and showed them the kind of scythes used as far back as 50,000 years ago. His small scythe/knife made out of a sharp edged rock and a deer antler was so interesting! After watching me harvest the wheat by hand with the scythe and cradle, I told the kids they should never complain about mowing the lawn again with their mowers!
The other method of harvesting was shown to the kids by three generations of Rockford farmers, Gary Fricke, his son Blaine and his son Tyler. They brought their 1950 John Deer tractor and combine to the field and explained how the combine worked complete with diagrams and pictures. Then they cut a swath around the wheat field and showed the kids the cut wheat in the grain bin. They even gave a real life example of fixing your equipment in the field as their rear wheel had a bit of a problem. It wasn't a problem for long because the Fricke's can fix anything!
Eldon Jons also brought a tractor and mower and started to get the harvested parts of the farm ready for tilling under in November. With the construction class busy finishing the shed, it was a very productive and busy day at the farm! A HUGE thank you to the Fricke's, and Eldon and our construction class for all they do to make our farm great! I don't think our students will eat a bowl of cereal or a sandwich without thinking that they now know where the wheat flour came to make what they eat.
Tuesday, I will take the wheat to ADM out in Cheney where they will clean the wheat and give it back to us ready to be ground by our students for use in various baking projects by various classes.
The harvesting of the produce continues. Believe it or not we are still harvesting broccoli and beans! The cucumber and some zucchini plants have succomed to frost, but the rest of the farm looks pretty good. Look for another update announcing a community harvest day some time in the next few weeks. Also check out the photos on our Facebook page East Valley Farm to School Program.
See you at the farm!
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