The Manhattan Country School Farm is deep into harvest season. The Catskills have experienced several frosts, which puts the Farm on a tight deadline with Mother Nature. The farm community needs to stay focused and industrious in getting things out of the ground.
This week fifth grade students have been incredibly busy harvesting our root vegetables. Bushels of carrots, potatoes and beets are pulled or dug, brushed off and stored for winter. Some vegetables are snacked on during class, while some goes straight to cooking class to be prepared in that day’s meal. Our abundant tomato crop continues to yield huge numbers of paste tomatoes. The class harvested full buckets, bagged and froze them. All visiting classes will enjoy the fruits of their labor as they enjoy pasta sauce and salsa throughout the year. Apples were plucked from the Farm’s orchards and pressed into apple cider. A couple of gallons were served immediately, while several gallons were frozen to be served this winter.
A year-round harvest that we sometimes ignore is the harvest of the sun’s energy to create electricity. The fifth grade had the responsibility of tilting the MCS Farm’s solar array to its winter setting. The 24.5 kilowatt, 140-panel array sat at near horizontal during the summer months. This is the most efficient angle to gather energy from the sun, high overhead. As we move into fall and winter, we tilt the panels to near vertical. This orientation captures energy from the sun as it arcs low over the horizon. This position also allows snow to slide off.
The Farm will have plenty to be harvested in the coming weeks. The 8-9s, sixth grade and the third grade classes from Little Red Schoolhouse, which rents our farm program, can look forward to delicious meals and dirt under their fingernails when it’s their turn to run the Farm.