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Summer Summary

Green bean harvest was well underway because green beans are only a 55 day crop!

I have had an amazing summer interning at Kreher Family Farms! As my internship came to an end,  I couldn’t express my appreciation enough for all the opportunities I was provided with this summer. My last week was bitter sweet because I was so thankful for all the opportunities I was provided with but sad to leave and not see the completion of harvest (why isn’t corn a 45 day crop???). I want to utilize this post to reflect on my amazing summer and all the opportunities I was provided with.

During scouting, I was able to find some unique things such as these two leaves that had actually fused together at the stem to form a funnel shape!

One of the highlights of my summer included being involved in

These little guys make themselves right at home, even though they aren’t exactly welcome!production!

field and vegetable crop. It is not everyday that you are able to experience an organic farm that not only grows field crops but also approximately 600 acres of vegetable crops. I was able to scout fields for insect and weed pressure along with conducting yield estimates. In some fields, specifically beets and corn, we took tissue and soil samples at various growth stages and sent them out for nutrient analysis. It was very neat to see the results of these samples and be able to make connections about why the results were what they were. For example, the drought stress our corn experienced in the beginning of July was visible when compared to the irrigate corn sample from right across the street! In the beets, we were paying particular attention to the boron levels in the tissue samples because beets require a high level of boron and we wanted to apply foliar boron applications at the correct time.

Mechanical cultivation is crucial in organic production. This is a six row cultivator with row guards in place, cultivating twin row planted beets.

I also had the pleasure of being involved in some planning meetings about next years crop plan and this winters cover crop plan. It was important for us to keep in mind the desired rotation but also considering where we were experiencing high weed pressure and should be utilizing cover crops to decrease weed pressure in future seasons. Other things to keep in mind while planning for the future included availability of irrigation, soil type, and proximity to the main farm location.

Finally, I would like to reflect on my experience with being involved in audits that occur on the farm. In the moment, preparing for and completing an audit may not be the most enjoyable experience but now that I look back on them, I was able to learn a ton from the experience. During my times at Kreher’s, we completed our NOFA-NY Organic audit and a GLOBAL G.A.P. Food safety  audit. These audits were both very different but each serve there own purpose. GLOBAL G.A.P. focuses on food safety in the vegetable crops. The auditor wanted to make sure we were following proper procedures to ensure a safe product at the end. Some things she looked at included records of sampling irrigation water and testing it for E. coli along with other potential contaminates. They also wanted to see records of equipment cleaning to make sure that was occurring at appropriate intervals to prevent food safety issues.

Overall, my experience at Kreher Family Farms was extraordinary and I could not have asked for a better experience. I was able to experience a one of a kind large scale crop and poultry operation and make connections that I hope will last past these three summer months.

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