After much debate about what to do during my week vacation, I decided to spend time here in MD, cookout with friends, and volunteer at a community farm in Montgomery County named Red Wiggler. It takes a bit under an hour to drive out there during the morning traffic on 495. I've been spending the mornings from 8:30-1 pm out there helping out, learning, and enjoying the 100 degree weather.
I feel so lucky to have found this wonderful place. There mission (as you can see on their website) is to "create fertile ground to nourish a healthy and inclusive community". They do this in the four following ways:
1. Meaningful employment for adults with developmental disabilities
2. Educational opportunities through "service learning" for area youth
3. Environmental stewardship
4. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
The mission is impressive, but there are really no words that can capture the amazing feeling of community and sense of mission felt on the farm. Here is what I have been doing:
Tuesday: Harvested garlic and sorted garlic. Turns out they had some trouble with garlic due to the crazy snow and weather this year. Some of the garlic went bad, so we had to sort through to get the good garlic out to the food banks and CSA.
Wednesday: Harvested chard, cukes, squash, and beets. Helped organize food for the CSA.
Thursday: Harvested the last row of garlic. Weeded the baby tomatoes. Removed peppers that had gone bad (but not too bad! see below). More garlic sorting and cleaning.
Friday: TBD, but it will involve more harvesting!
I was able to take home some of the seconds of the peppers that we sorted through and pulled off the plants. I was surprised, even though the peppers have black spots on some parts, you can cut off the bad parts and slice up the good ones. Apparently, these can be frozen and used later in the season. I'm trying it out!
Also, I was able to take home some other goodies from the farm including plenty of garlic. :) I am so excited to cook up the veggies and enjoy them this weekend. I cooked the chard with some onions and garlic (with a little bit of butter) and had it for dinner. YUM!
Despite the hot weather, this has been a fantastic experience for me and I plan to continue to volunteer throughout the summer and stay involved with Red Wiggler. In just a couple days, I've learned so much!