Internship Program

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End of the Season

Rainbow over Persephone Farm

A rainbow over our last CSA harvest yesterday.

Happy (last) CSA Wednesday, everybody! What a season! As the CSA wraps up this week, so does our season here at Persephone. Our last official day of work is Friday, then we’ll all move on to our next steps in the next week or so. Looking back over the past 8 months it is really incredible how much this farm has transformed. Brand new areas have been turned into productive farmland, and all of us workers have grown and learned so much valuable knowledge. This week we’re wrapping up any loose ends, getting as much cover crop in the ground as possible, and harvesting our last rounds of flowers and vegetables. The weather today is a nice full-circle reminder of when we got here at the end of February, and the farm is starting to look more and more like it did when we arrived. Our few over-wintering crops are being prepped for colder temperatures to come, some by being nestled in the greenhouses or others by being sprayed with a cold-toughening kelp spray.

Five Persephone farmers posing with flowers

A throwback to one of our late Fridays making bouquets for market as a crew! From left to right, Brian, Kristina, Rebecca, Taylor, and Brooklyn, Persephone crew 2016

We hope that you all have enjoyed sharing in the bounty of the season with us. By supporting our farm you have allowed all of us flower-novices to learn the full cycle of flower growing, harvesting, and arranging — an experience we will all cherish for a long time. We have also all learned so much about vegetable production as well, and have been exposed to delicious regional treats such as pea shoots, sweet turnips and purple sprouting broccoli! From all of us at Persephone Farm 2016, including all of our pollinators like the one below, we would like to thank you for your kind words and continued support, and hope that you have a nice and relaxing winter.

– 2016 Persephone Interns

Farmer Rebecca holding a flower with a honeybee

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Yellow and green summer squash

Summer squash ready for our CSA subscribers

Summer squash means it must be summer, right? We were warned about “Juneuary” but “Januly” is a whole different story. Luckily today seems to be warming back up – this sun is definitely a sight for sore eyes. This week we welcomed some new and old faces to the farm! Previous years’ interns stopped by to help out around the farm, and two new interns have been added to the mix (welcome Kris and Gracie). Be sure to say hello if you see them!

If you stopped by the Bainbridge Island Farmers market on Saturday (or saw our Facebook page), you already know we set a new Persephone Farm record of sweet pea bunches – 63! Those and all the other flowers bursting into bloom have been keeping us plenty busy, and us interns are getting to learn more about the flowers and how to harvest them. The most exciting part to me, though, is getting to use them in bouquets! Our intern bouquet making school, taught by Rebecca, is always a highlight of our Wednesdays and Fridays, and we hope you all are loving the beautiful flowers! Here are some pictures of our flowers we harvested this morning, and some of the bouquets we’ve made so far

-Intern Taylor
(Persephone’s note – Brian and Brooklyn are our other awesome 2016 Interns.)

CSA subscriber bouquets at Persephone Farm in Indianola , WA

CSA subscriber bouquets waiting for pickup

Freshly harvested flowers ready for bouquet making lesson

Freshly harvested flowers ready for our bouquet making lesson

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Tomato harvest

The interns’ first tomato harvest!

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! We had a lovely day of harvesting salad greens and lavender before our community dinner and fireworks over the water. Over the past few weeks our greenhouse and hardening off tables (where young plants live in between the greenhouse and moving to the great outdoors) have been getting emptier and emptier as the last of our summer crops and successions are moving to their permanent homes. The last plants waiting patiently (some more patient than others) that we have been working on transplanting this week are beans, sunflowers, cauliflower, broccoli, and a few others.

We’re sad to see some of our favorites, such as raspberries, on their way out but are so excited to be learning about new vegetables and flowers! This week us interns learned about harvesting tomatoes, string beans, and summer squash, and soon even more summer delights such as peppers will be on the list! Hopefully our subscribers enjoy some new sights in their boxes this week!

– Intern Taylor

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Rebecca and Lousia tell the story of Persephone Farm and talk about what makes their farm so special. Thank you to Chris McElroy for producing this beautiful short movie. Take a few minutes and enjoy…

Persephone Farm by Chris McElroy on Vimeo.

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Like many of you home gardeners, we’ve avidly scanned our seed catalogs looking for interesting new varieties to try out this season. So much seems possible from the comfort of our arm chairs this time of year, doesn’t it?

It’s only a matter of weeks until the four new interns arrive: one from Montana, two fromWisconsin and one from Seattle. The recent string of warm days tempted the farmers out into the greenhouse and fields to get a few early seeds started. But we’re trying to hold back our enthusiasm in order to allow the new interns to join us in starting at the very beginning of the farm cycle. Persephone Farm is extremely proud of our internship program. Training the next generation of sustainable farmers is one of our farm’s most important objectives.

Katt, Adam and Tess from last year will all be managing their own farms in New England this summer, Tess in Maine, Katt and Adam in Vermont. Hiram has followed his new Lady Love to Maui where he is developing a business as a personal chef, specializing in local, organic cuisine. (Ah, to have pineapple and passion fruit as part of our 100 mile diet!)

Community Supported Agriculture is another of our most rewarding endeavors. Seeing the kids excited about their veggies warms every adult heart, parent and farmer alike. Have you noticed, too, how fully children take in the sensory pleasure of the flowers? They’re so alive to all aspects of the fragrance and color. It’s a thrill watching them try to choose the family bouquet. Your support for our farm is integral to our overall success. Thank you for taking the annual leap of faith with us as we step into a new growing season.

Even though the 2011 season started out with unprecedented cool temperatures well into July, Mother Nature came through with a bang in the fall. The “summer that wasn’t” still produced one of our best tomato harvests ever. Onions sized up well with all the dampness. And cucumbers exceeded everyone’s expectations. Sweet peppers were late but prolific. Winter subscribers can attest to the bounty even in November!

Overall, last year’s shares yielded 16% more produce than the price of the shares!! Whooohooo!!

The corn crop was less happy. Incomplete pollination made for small and misshapen ears in all varieties. We’ve not seen this before and must attribute it to the unseasonable weather. Corn is wind pollinated, so, thankfully it’s not a result of bee colony collapse disorder. This problem seems not to be affecting us .The zucchini crop attests to this, as each blossom must be visited by a pollinator at least five times in order to produce a normal fruit.

We look forward to seeing you and your families at our Orientation and first veggie pickup, Wednesday June 6th.

Please feel free to call Rebecca with questions: (360) 297-1877

Spring feels just around the corner!

Photos by subscriber, Leslie Newman

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