Staff, volunteers keep our agricultural operations growing fresh food
October 17, 2022
Despite this summer’s heat and the humidity, the Food Bank of Delaware’s farm – a year ‘round operation at our Newark facility – was quite productive, benefiting the community we serve. Agriculture Programs Director Kyle Brolis reports that more than 50 different fruits, vegetables, and herbs grew on the 5-acre site. And some crops produced high yields: 2,767 pounds of peppers; 2,137 pounds of tomatoes; 1,673 pounds of squash, and 1,056 pounds of cucumbers.
While the bounty of field-grown, hot-weather produce may be history for now, thanks to technology and agricultural expertise, this farming operation is expected to yield an abundance of cold-weather crops as well as seedlings for next year. “Our greenhouses extended the season,” explains Brolis. He, along with two full-time farm team members, two paid interns, plus a host of volunteers have already planted cover crops on the fields and planted garlic to grow over the winter.
From April through September 2022 over 250 volunteers donated 1,229 hours to assisting out Newark Farm program, he added. Brolis says volunteers – many of whom are students — are essential to the farming operation. “Their tasks depend on the time of year,” he notes. But volunteers might help by preparing the soil with compost or aerating; they also seed, transplant, weed, harvest, and assist in washing produce or packing boxes. “We get into a weekly rhythm,” Brolis said.
Meanwhile, our farm team is preparing to harvest fall greens, such as kale and Swiss chard, as well as cabbages, radishes and lettuces since the three high tunnels are home to seedlings and cold-hardy vegetables.
Who enjoys this fresh produce? Neighbors who visit our Healthy Pantry Centers, those who purchase CSA – Community Supported Agriculture — boxes, our chefs who prepare breakfast and lunches at the on-site café, students enrolled in The Culinary School, plus those who support our Newark farm stand.
Look for opportunities to purchase winter CSA boxes and learn more about our agricultural operations by clicking here!