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Kelsey O’Hare

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.

Summer? Where did it go?

Kreher Family Farms certainly knows how to keep summer interesting! If we just grew one or two crops, that might be a different story but the diversity certainly keeps things interesting. This past month has included many exciting events including a visit from the Wegman family on the farm and a trip to the Cornell Field Days at the Musgrave Research Farm.

Not only does the Kreher family grow field crops for the chickens along with

Baby leaf lettuce harvester! 100% stainless steel construction for sanitation purposes!

green beans and beets, they are also involved with a baby leaf lettuce operation in Brockport, NY. The baby leaf lettuce operation is run by Duncan Family Farms who is based out of the South West but is beginning to expand their baby leaf operation into the North East. We had the honor of joining the Duncan Family Farm team in hosting a farm tour for the Wegman family. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Not only was it a unique opportunity to meet the Wegman family but also to learn more about the baby lead operation that Kreher’s are connected to.

The Wegman Family and Executives joined by the Kreher Family Farm and Duncan Family Farm Management!


Some of my more routine days are spent scouting fields for insect and disease pressure along with monitoring crop development. Our spring peas have been harvested, our beets are sizing up nicely and on track for harvest in September, our snap beans are beginning to be harvested daily and, our corn is looking for any drop of moisture that is out there! We have laid miles of irrigation pipe in the past few weeks to irrigate the green beans while praying for rain to help other crops. Finally, our wheat fields have all been combined and our malting barley is days away from harvest!

The beets are coming along nicely however New York soils can have lots of variability that can lead to size differences in the cotyledons, as pictured above.

Malting Barley on a beautiful summer morning!

Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Malting Barley, Green Snap Beans, Beets, Peas, Hay and More: Oh My!

My first few weeks at Kreher Family Farms have been an adventure, to say the least! Although many of you may have never heard of Kreher Family Farms, you have probably encountered their products. Have you ever bought eggs at Wegmans or Egg Lands Best eggs? If the answer was yes, then you have supported the Kreher Family! Kreher Family Farms is a large Organic and Conventional Poultry and Crop farm that spans many counties in Upstate New York and was founded in 1924. We grow crops and/or raise chickens in Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Livingston and Wayne County.

This summer I am interning with the Crops Team and have not seen a chicken yet! I began interning with Kreher’s

A beautiful day to make 1st cutting hay on land that is being transitioned from conventional to organic.

just as cropping season was kicking into high gear. My first few weeks have been spent doing a variety of things including scouting for early season diseases and pest, creating a management plan for combating the Bind Weed that is scattered throughout the farm and thinks our corn is the perfect thing to grow up and making hay. I have also spent a bit of my time typing field address into my GPS to find the fields, but now I have learned the fields and by the end of summer will probably be able to find them with my eyes closed! I have learned a lot about a variety of insects and disease in a variety of crops thus far because Kreher’s embrace diversity(in case you couldn’t tell by the title!).


The first beets of the year! Beet planting will last for many weeks because the processor can only handle so many a day during harvest.

Many of us have heard the old wise tale that diversity is beneficial, especially in organic crops.

Green beans for miles!

Kreher’s embrace diversity and have been successful in using diversification of crops to help them control disease, pest and weed pressure. All the crops are produced organically. The green beans and beets are grown for human consumption while the field crops are grown for the chickens. Another unique aspect of the operation is that along with the chickens and crops, Kreher’s also produce and market their own organic compost and fertilizer!


I have learned a lot in my first few weeks here at Kreher Family Farms and I am sure I will continue to learn more because this operation is so intricate and diverse! Until next time, I will continue to enjoy my free employee eggs and embrace the fact that I have yet to see a chicken!

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