This summer, Kanuga’s farm made an official debut with raised beds filled with vegetables, herbs, and flowers; a herd of Mangalitsa pigs; and bees. As the season came to a close, we enjoyed looking back at a successful season with Clint DeWitt, Environmental Projects Manager.
A Growing Interest in Local Food
Kanuga’s farm was a project months in the making with endless hours of planning and work by staff and volunteers from Camp Bob and the Mountain Trail Outdoor School. By the time guests arrived for Summer Guest Period, the farm was ready for the bi-weekly tours offered during the season. “Between the Summer Guest Period tours, Summer Guest Period youth program, Mountain Trail Outdoor School classes, and Camp Bob campers, we estimate we had over 1,000 people who visited the garden, bees, and pigs this year,” says Clint.
The farm also provided a natural foray into learning more about the impact of locally grown food. Bounty from the farm was sold at the weekly Kanuga farmer’s market throughout Summer Guest Period. “Our biggest seller this summer was the garlic, although we also sold out of our tomatoes, basil, okra, beans, and herbs many times,” says Clint. “Everything we didn’t sell went into the kitchens for guests to enjoy days and weeks after harvest.”
Planting Roots for Next Year
Now that summer is over, Clint and his team are preparing for the fall growing season and thinking ahead to next year. “Mustard greens and kale went into the garden a few weeks ago, and our pumpkins are starting to look pretty good for the fall,” says Clint. “We’ve also begun the process of pulling out the summer crops that are no longer producing to give the garden a healthy dose of leaf mold, lime, compost, and other soil amendments that will result in healthier beds next year.”
The herd of Mangalitsa pigs, who enjoyed ample attention from guests during the farm tours, are also getting ready for fall. “As we move into fall, the pigs will continue to move around, get fresh food from the kitchens, and enjoy grain from Fermented Nonsense Brewery,” say Clint. “We will also start feeding them more walnuts, chestnuts, and sweet grains to help them gain weight as they get closer to market.”
As the farm team looks ahead to the next growing season, there are numerous exciting projects. “We plan to add onto our small mushroom production as a way to use our spent coffee grounds, fallen logs, and shaded forests,” says Clint. “We hope to grow oyster and shiitake mushrooms on site.” Other changes for 2020 include planting more beets, peppers, and watermelon, and experimenting with carrots and edible flowers in the new raised beds.
Cultivating with Core Values
While the daily details revolve around plants, pigs, and seeds, the goal is a simple one—to get people excited about local food and help them reconnect to the land. “I think people are thrilled to see Kanuga connecting with our land in new and different ways,” says Clint. “People are passionate about their food and are interested in local food systems. The fact that Kanuga is slowly growing our farm program shows our commitment to education and the environment.”