On a recent Saturday morning, a crew of four of us helped farmer Charlie Siegchrist of Barber Farm pick yellow beans for donation. After filling over five bushels, we called it a day. Small feelings of guilt at the oodles of yellow beans still beckoning from the vines, but Charlie assured us that folks from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) were coming on Monday to help harvest.
One volunteer delivered a brimming bushel of beans to Aunt Dot’s Place in Essex Junction, and Charlie planned to deliver the rest to the food-sharing sheds in Underhill and Jericho.
Charlie, once a professional strawberry farmer, now spends his “retirement” growing food for charity. Even though he said he’s cut back this summer, his fields of squash, pumpkin, corn, beans and peppers are filled with abundance. He was particularly pleased with this year’s green peppers, showing me the happy plants. The varieties were Vanguard and Karisma, so called continuous set plants. These are high yield with an early harvest followed by a second harvest later in the summer; even after a soft frost, the peppers are still viable.
Charlie said VYCC is the main recipient of his produce, as they supply hospitals across the state as well as providing weekly shares to 420 nutritionally at-risk families. Charlie happens to be my landlord and I feel lucky to live on land that provides food for so many people!
*Extra Row farmer Tucker Andrew reports his butternut squash are getting closer to being ready to harvest at his Bolton fields. Watch for announcements on this website for harvest days!
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