Join the Rushton Farm Staff for an informative look at starting seeds for the upcoming season. We will look at how to select seeds, propagation techniques, soil preparation, and how to ensure your seedlings grow strong and healthy. We will use hands on demonstration to show how we grow over 40,000 seedlings each year providing 30,000lbs of food. You don’t need to have a green thumb to join us and learn how to make the most of your garden!
A week-long event Art on the Trails: Preserve Gallery Walk with a pop-up picnic dinner on the lawn at the Rushton Conservation Center provided by our friends at Taste of Puebla. Wander the trails of Rushton Woods Preserve, enjoy the original Plein Air artwork by LandArt Events artists, and stay for a picnic with your group!
Pop-Up Picnic with Taste of Puebla
Friday, October 16th
from 4:30 – 7:00 pm
Rushton Conservation Center
Join us for a pop-up picnic dinner provided by our friends at Taste of Puebla held outside on the lawn at the Rushton Conservation Center. This event is BYOB, blanket, and chairs. There will be plenty of space to maintain social distancing while enjoying a menu featuring ingredients from Rushton Farm and other local Chester County farms. Guests are welcome to picnic on site or take their dinner to-go.
Ticket sales end at 12:00 pm on Thursday, October 15, 2020.
Art on the Trails:
Preserve Gallery Walk
October 17th – 24th from 8 am – 6 pm
Kirkwood, Ashbridge, Rushton Woods Preserve and Farm
Explore the Trust’s preserves through a Plein Air artist’s eye during our week-long, self-guided gallery walk. Trail markers will display the artist’s artwork along the trails of Kirkwood Preserve, Ashbridge Preserve, and Rushton Woods Preserve for you to enjoy from the same location the artist set up their easel. The preserves are open from dawn to dusk for you to wander the trails and collect a canvas for your own home. Visit landartevents.com to purchase the original artwork. LandArt Events donates 15% of all sales to WIllistown Conservation Trust.
Excerpt from The Wild Carrot, August 25, 2020, a weekly newsletter from staff to Rushton Farm CSA members.)
It was a warm day in mid-June and summer was right around the corner when Abby and Anna showed up to volunteer at Rushton Farm. Rushton had been bringing in regular volunteers for a few weeks and we were still working on the logistics for work precautions and social distancing. Volunteers were generally working alone and communication was limited as staff worked independently from the volunteers. That all changed the day Abby and Anna arrived.
On that mid-June “Just Show Up” volunteer Wednesday Abby rolled into the parking lot, hopped out of her car, and sauntered over with a smile to say she was here to volunteer. Anna pulled in a short while later (driving a little bit slower) and with a similar enthusiastic smile jumped right into work in the field. Both Abby and Anna showed no fear in attacking weeds and planting endless crops. They also worked comfortably with the Rushton Staff, who until their arrival had been keeping isolated. In these times where precaution is a constant focus, it was refreshing to see two 17-year-old rising seniors smile and laugh while working hard alongside seasoned farm veterans. From that first day on, Abby and Anna became part of the Rushton Farm Staff.
While Anna became a committed volunteer putting in many hours of hard work on the farm, we found that Abby wouldn’t leave the farm. Really! She showed up at 9 am every morning and left when the senior staff left, took lunch with the senior staff, and put in the same hours as the senior staff. By July Rushton Farm had hired its youngest full time paid intern in Abby Oswald.
Through this summer Abby and Anna have been a constant source of positive energy and hope. Every day Abby shows up with a smile and a no-fear attitude. She has worked alongside the senior staff not missing a beat and following instruction closely. It is when Abby and Anna are working together that the farm is most alive. Two high school seniors laughing and bantering about school, swimming, and life while working in the field. Their energy is contagious and it makes you forget about current conditions and appreciate being outside, working on a farm, and enjoying the company of those around you.
Next week Abby and Anna leave the fields of Rushton and head back to school. They will be missed. They leave behind an example that when things get tough when your summer plans are canceled when the future is uncertain, you still have to move forward and keep a positive frame of mind. They both came to Rushton and we, and the farm, are better for it. Abby and Anna, good luck in the upcoming year and always remember that Rushton Farm is right around the corner.
So are the weeds. If you want to sneak out of your virtual classes and come back to the farm we won’t tell anyone.
Abby Oswald will start her senior year at Great Valley High School. She is an avid swimmer who enjoys the outdoors and has a great work ethic.
Anna McNaull will start her senior year at West Chester East High School. Always upbeat and with a constant smile, Anna saw Rushton as an opportunity to get out and spend some time during her summer working on a farm.
Excerpt from The Wild Carrot, June 23, 2020, a weekly newsletter from staff to Rushton Farm CSA members.)
|Last week was our first big harvest with the spring vegetables finally making an appearance. With the abundance of produce coming out of the fields I wanted to take the opportunity to have our family take the first food donation to the West Chester Food Cupboard. Lisa Kiziuk (Bird Conservation Director, UPenn Professor, College Ref, Master of All), Katerina (precocious teen), and I (happy farmer) gathered up 70lbs of fresh vegetables harvested by the tremendous Rushton Farm Staff and headed to the Cupboard to provide produce to members of our community who need it most in these uncertain times.|
I realized the importance of our donation when the staff at the West Chester Food Cupboard welcomed our delivery after closing hours. We were greeted with the smiling faces (behind masks) of volunteers who make sure the donated food gets to the people who rely on it. Being able to share this experience with Katerina made me understand why I became a farmer. A farmer’s primary job is to provide. Provide not just to those who can afford food, but those who cannot.
Of course, you do not need to have a farm to provide food for area food banks. If you have a garden consider donating a portion of your harvest. If you do not, consider donating healthy canned goods or volunteering time at a food bank. As always, you can donate your CSA pick-up. All food left at the end of a pick-up day is donated to the West Chester Food Cupboard.
I do think that it is important to share any of these efforts with your kids. My parents involved me in food donation at an early age and it has impacted me ever since. Over the past 10 years, Katerina has helped plant, harvest, and donate food and I would hope it has given her some insight into helping others.
Of course, right now she is helping her friends load up the car for a trip to the shore. Seems about right for a 17 year old rising senior. We still have the rest of the summer to get her into the field and back to the food bank. I can hear her exhausted sigh from here.
(Excerpt from The Wild Carrot, April 21, 2020, a weekly newsletter from staff to Rushton Farm CSA members.)
Share the Bounty
Food insecurity in the United States is always a problem. In these uncertain times, food insecurity has moved front and center as a primary issue that needs to be addressed immediately. There has been a call to action for farmers to prioritize the need for food donations as they start their season. As we begin planting it is with full knowledge that we need to maximize production so that those facing food insecurity can benefit from the fresh fruits and vegetables we grow.
From the first stages of planning for Rushton Farm, we understood that as a community farm we had an obligation to make sure a significant portion of what we grew went to those in need. The Share the Bounty program was established to work with local food banks to see how Rushton Farm could best meet the needs of our local community. Between 12% and 15% of what is grown at Rushton goes to area food banks including the West Chester Food Cupboard and the Chester County Food Bank. That amounts to 3,500 to 4,000 pounds of food a year. Since Rushton Farm began, over 35,000 pounds of fresh produce has been donated.
Through this season, Rushton Farm is significantly expanding the Share the Bounty program. Our goal is to donate over 5,000 pounds of produce to those facing food insecurity issues. Our donation garden, Henry’s Garden is expanding. We are sharing plants with area gardeners with the intent that the food they grow is donated. We will be collaborating with area farmers on how, as a community, we can best utilize our efforts. We will be working with area organizations to find support for donation programs. As this crisis continues, Rushton Farm will continue to reach out to those in need and use our tremendous resources to feed our community.
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right
During uncertain times, it is so important to keep positive. This is especially true in farming where long hours and heavy labor can wear on those in the field. I have been so proud of the energy and exuberance that Molly, Noah, and Eliza have brought to the fields at Rushton. We have been shorthanded all season, but the effort put out by the Rushton Farm Staff has been nothing short of incredible. Molly’s constant smile, Noah’s wit, and wisdom and Eliza’s cheerful nature (while keeping 20 feet of social distancing) have helped the farm thrive. My own physical and mental health has benefited greatly by these amazing people. I have not felt this good about a season in years.
With that said, the real work starts this week and while I am going to be spending time in the field, I may have lost a step or two in my aged body. This week Caitlin Welsh returns to the Rushton Farm Staff to pick up my slack, and she is a welcome sight. Always upbeat and full of energy, Caitlin brings another ray of sunshine to the fields of Rushton. Caitlin is a triple threat being an accomplished birder, an educator and she knows her way around a farm. She will be a great addition as we start planting broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and six thousand onions this week. I am excited to start work in the field with such a talented staff (excited for the comradery, not so much the labor).
The Rushton Farm Staff is looking forward to the end of May when we can see our loyal community members and share our joy in a new season. Stay well.