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Undergrads pick peppers, sample soil

Instructor Frank Rossi (front right) and HORT 1101 students and peppers at Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.  Photo by Betsy Leonard.

Instructor Frank Rossi (front right) and HORT 1101 students and peppers at Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y. Photo by Betsy Leonard.

On Friday, October 8, students in Hort 1101 spent their lab session touring the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm, Freeville, N.Y., and then pitched in to pick nearly two tons of sweet peppers for donation to Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

“As primarily a survey course for freshman interested in Plant Sciences, Agricultural Sciences and Viticulture and Enology majors, visiting the research farm was an eye-opening experience,” says Frank Rossi, the course’s instructor.

In addition to the tour and pepper picking, farm staff taught the students about soil sampling. Then the students sampled the 30-acre parcel of the farm certified organic by NOFA-New York. Technician Betsy Leonard talked to them about the research trials there aimed at optimizing vegetable production systems for the Northeast.

“It was an excellent hands-on learning experience that engaged the student’s minds, bodies and spirits,” adds Rossi. “Many of them commented how it gave them a sense of pride knowing they picked 3,800 pounds of peppers for the food bank.”

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