Intern Files: Week eight

By Joe Pintaudi

Just as my time here is almost up, more food is starting to come in.

There are huge cucumbers and radishes, as well as zucchini. The amount and size of the greens and lettuce are amazing. All the rain from the last couple of weeks has sent our crops through a major growth spurt. It doesn't seem like the watering system I'd been working on will be needed—though I do think that at some point it will be good to set up a permanent water collection system to at least water the seedlings in the greenhouse.

I am trying to make the most of the time I have left. Today we were able to harvest enough food to have an inexpensive, self-serve produce stand near the road. The system that we have worked out is that whatever does not sell that day becomes dinner. In the two hours the stand was up, we sold some radishes but had enough fresh veggies left over to make a delicious dinner.
Yesterday was also very eventful.  It started with me helping our friend Walter take down his wind turbine tower at his home on Butterfield Lake. The turbine had been damaged in a wind storm a few years ago. Walter showed me the whole setup and gave me a quick crash course on the electrical system he designed and set up for it. It was nice to get a feel for the assembly of a turbine tower. 
After lunch, Walt and I accompanied two employees of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) around the lake. Walt has been monitoring the weeds in Butterfield for a number of years in order to keep track of things like nutrient quantities in the water and invasive species in the lake.

Yesterday we hauled the DEC guys around the lake so they could collect sediment samples in order to glean information on what insects and microorganisms live in the lake. They guys were more than happy to let me put on waders and collect a sample.

I took the sample, as well as a Secchi disk measurement. Both were simple to do; but it was a great way to spend a day learning more about some of the things we talked about in my "Sustainable Ecosystems" class.

As far as accomplishments at Better Farm, I have to say my greatest achievement has been the farm and gardens themselves. These encompass so much of my experience here. I learned a great amount about composting, as well as which plants work better together than others. I have learned to look at everything, no matter how useless it may seem, with the idea that it can be implemented in some way.

Overall I am proud to know that what I have done will feed the not only the people here at the Farm, but others in the area who want to have fresh, locally grown food.

Originally published at Joe's Blog.