Farmer's Market at LUREC- Fridays, 3:00-6:30pm
The Gardens of Loyola at LUREC are progressing nicely despite the long, cold spring. Newly hired LUREC Farm Manager, Emily Zack, has done an excellent job in leading a team of student employees and ramping up farm operations at Loyola’s Retreat and Ecology Campus. This year alone, the farm has harvested over 1,300 pounds of organic produce for use in the campus kitchen and expects to double that by the season's end. Because of the cold temperatures in April, the farm is about two weeks behind with the main summer harvest of tomatoes, peppers and squash but they are coming in rapidly now. The LUREC farm has 315 tomato plants including seven types of heirlooms, 200 pepper plants in nine varieties, and a sea of squash.
Farm Manager, Emily Zack, along with the help of her student workers harvested 95 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes in just one day! The farm has five types of potatoes planted eight weeks apart in three increments to provide a constant supply into the winter. According to Zack, “our chefs are hoping to make enough pasta sauce for the year from our Paisano sauce tomatoes and with 81 plants I think they will come close.” Other progress that has been made this season includes the drying of herbs, blanching and freezing the kale, and turning cabbage into sauerkraut. All of these food preservation techniques are important for future use and an integral park of eating locally and sustainably.
However, the farm has also faced a few recent obstacles and set-backs. A bacterial wilt took out many cucumber plants, the squash vine borer killed some patty pans and acorn squash plants, and the ground squirrels have taken a bite out of each ripe tomato--just enough to ruin them. Despite all this, Zack is excited about their progress and claims it has been a great season! “Not too hot, enough rain so we don't have to water much and lots of sun. We are hoping for some warmer nights, warm enough to make my bell peppers turn red!” Already planning for next year, Zack is hoping for more student workers and interns to help expand and grow even more produce with a greater variety. Zach and her team are looking forward to sharing this beautiful space and produce with the community. Follow us on Instagram at gardensofloyola_woodstock to view daily photos of Loyola’s farm.