Aloe From The Other Side

It is safe to say that last year I did not picture myself volunteering at the Guelph Center for Urban Organic Farming alongside Martha Scroggins the Farm Coordinator. Assisting with the farms daily routines has been an enriching experience and I would not have it any other way. After harvesting butternut squash during the first venture to the farm, I was fairly enthusiastic to begin what would be a strenuous but gratifying ten hours.

On arrival to my first shift, I greeted Martha in one of the greenhouses. Both Nicole and I were sent off to work, watering various plants and collecting bundles of tomatoes underneath the vines. Because the Center for Urban Organic Farming uses limited technology (only one tractor which is not utilized for harvesting or maintenance of the plants), Nicole and I scooped up water from rain barrels in order to water the garden. The majority of tomatoes that we discovered were already rotting but some remained slightly soft and had an even red colour, indicating that they were still ripe.

As you can see from the image, one of the tomatoes in the bottom right corner looks like a golden egg!

One of my favourite tasks during my time on the farm was harvesting potatoes. I know for a fact, that one volunteer who I was working with had a very different perspective. When I had reached the garden to begin, the vines of the plant had already disintegrated and the mulch and bedding had been removed from the site. Martha explained to me that potatoes can be harvested in the early spring and summer however this sacrifices the parent plant.

To ensure that the potatoes were ready for harvesting, one or two potatoes from a plant had to be dug up. If the skin on the potatoes was not easily rubbed off, then they could be collected.

It was essential within the activity to begin by placing the fork into the soil on the periphery of the mound. This was done in order to minimize skinning, cutting or bruising of the tubers.  On reflection, a six instead of four-pronged pitch fork would have been more efficient as then the entire root system could be lifted in one fell swoop. I found it entertaining once I spotted the potatoes, to plunge my hands into the soil and dig for them. This was partially due to the fact that I had a tendency to stab the vegetables. Please note that this was not on purpose, as I was aware that by doing so, I was reducing the storage quality and damaging their appearance! After a few attempts, I was able to grasp the depth of the mound and the location of the plant and therefore caused fewer casualties. The damage tubers were consequently set aside from the market basket as they would rot quickly.

Closed toed shoes were a must, as you ran the risk of accidentally spearing your foot in the process.  I did not photograph the activity as it was only two of us working on the patch and I was too consumed with finding the treasures.

I met this little guy shortly after digging the tubers

My final days at the Organic Farm were occupied by weeding, the most popular deed. Although it was a labour-intensive task, the job seemed effortless with the collaboration of numerous people. The heavily dense areas were stripped using our hands and the use of a tonged pitch fork (for the tap roots that extended deep below the surface).  Unlike digging for potatoes, this job required the use of leather gloves as thistles could provide you with some discomfort.


In this moment, I was weeding some of the larger plants with members of outdoors school

Two years, I had the opportunity to visit an Organic Farm near Ottawa called Mariposa Farms. It was fascinating to reflect on the experience and juxtapose the techniques used at both sites. For starters both farms have a focus on sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, the owner of Mariposa, Ian Walker, follows Martha’s methods in utilizing crop rotation with no pesticides.

One of the main difference is that unlike Martha, Ian Walker utilizes animals such as pigs to churn up the soil. I pondered as to why this might be the case. Nonetheless, as one walks around the Urban Organic Farming center, it is evident that there are woodchips to form paths and since one must remain on it at all times, the soil never packs down. As a result, there is a permanent bed that allows for aeration in the soil and consequently animals are not required. Overall, the experience at both sites allowed me to strengthen my knowledge surrounding organic farming methods.

Some of the permeant beds visible after weeding

I’m certainly looking forward to volunteering and purchasing items at the Organic Farm in the future (specifically the aloe vera plants or the magic onions). Martha was a delight to assist and therefore my experience at the farm was extremely positive. Even with our lack of knowledge surrounding Organic Farming, she remained patient and it was clear that she really did appreciate our help.


I’m ready to come back in the following years!

Martha look what weed done!

This fall semester at the University of Guelph has by far been one of the greatest as I was given the opportunity to work at Guelph’s organic farm located right on campus. The farm itself is run by Martha, an amazing farmer and kind hearted lady, who takes pride in the nature of the farm as it is all run organically and primarily by her. The farm is supported by volunteers from the university and from around the city of Guelph. Martha enjoys hosting markets every so often to sell her crops to the people of the city and to collect donations to keep her farm running. In addition, Martha makes round trips down to the women’s shelter in Guelph to donate multitudes of fresh vegetables and other crops to the many women living there.

At first glance the task of completing 10 hours at the farm seemed daunting as I have never worked in a garden or such before. Yet, even after the first hour of work with the rest of my classmates by my side it appeared to be much more fun and exciting than I had planned. At the time I had no clue how the work ahead of me would allow me to build an appreciation for the dedication and hard labour that goes into harvesting these crops for people to enjoy.

The first time I went to Martha’s farm I showed up alone and ready to work on a beautiful sunny day. The first tasked that was asked of me was to pick all of the red peppers from the garden and the greenhouse. Martha took me out to the fields and explained to me the decision process that takes place in deciding whether a pepper should or shouldn’t be picked. Martha takes pride in selling only the best quality vegetables as it keeps satisfied customers coming back for more. She showed me how some peppers will have a translucent colour and look shriveled which is indicative of a pepper hit by frost. Due to the recent cold weather many of her vegetables were hit with frost and could no longer be sold.

The peppers that were hit by frost appeared shriveled

The peppers in the garden were almost all hit by frost wiping out entire plants although many of the peppers in the greenhouses were still good to harvest. I harvested many crates full of peppers that were smooth in texture and full of colour. After a few long hours of harvesting peppers my next task was to pick the tomatillos from inside the greenhouse. Martha showed me how to pick the tomatillos saying she wanted “very full” ones not the ones that were tiny and rotten. Alongside my classmate Emily we picked the tomatillos for a few hours while often watering the rest of the plants. After a long day of work on the farm I went home only to return the next week searching for more work.

The tomatillos that were harvested and sold at the market

The next time I attended the farm I helped Martha run one of her last markets as I was responsible for organizing the baby tomatoes and cutting the leaks to be sold. The market provided me with an amazing opportunity to meet some of the locals in Guelph and bond over our love for food. Many people came out to the market and took home numerous fresh peppers I have previously picked along with the leaks I had just cut. It was pleasing to know how my contribution had led to the smiles on these people’s faces.

A display of the vegetables and crops for sale during the market

One of my last days at the farm was spent pulling weeds with many other classmates. A lot of my classmates came to the farm that day eager to help and of course Martha put us to work. We spent hours digging out an entire field of weeds which at first appeared impossible but as we began working together the task became much easier than we had thought. We used a pitchfork to ensure we would be able to reach even the deepest roots but we had to be extremely careful around the greenhouses as the pitchfork could deflate the entire thing if punctured. Martha supplied us all with gloves as the weeds were very prickly and we managed to fill many wheelbarrows full of weeds within hours. We were taught many interesting facts while picking these weeds such as how spiders are a critical part of the garden killing and consuming many smaller bugs and insects that prove harmful to the gardens. After hours of pulling weeds the field was completely cleared leaving us feeling accomplished and proud of what we had done for Martha.

Many students can be seen pulling weeds from the weed infested garden

Overall, working at Martha’s farm allowed me to appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into harvesting these organic crops. I enjoyed the entire experience as it was an eye opener for me in seeing how hard Martha works and how knowledgeable she is in the field. From harvesting peppers to pulling weeds I gained a new experience that I will never forget. I would like to go back and volunteer with Martha next year as she clearly has a lot of work on her hands and could definitely use the extra help. I look forward to contributing next year and am thankful for the opportunity.

Written by: Clara Leska

My gleaning on the Farm.

On Thursday October, the 26th, I headed out to the University of Guelph’s organic farm to complete my volunteering with Martha Scroggins. Martha is the woman in charge over there.

Five volunteers including me set a record at the farm. Martha said that she has never had more than three male helpers at a time. I was ecstatic. I set to work picking the peppers that had ripened up since the main harvest. I was to collect all firm peppers that had some color to them. One thing I did not like about this process however was how many peppers I had to throw away. I never realized at what rate mold and worms could ruin these jewels. After I was finished, Martha introduced me to the term “gleaner,” saying I was wonderful at gleaning. After returning to my room, I looked up the word and found the definition. Gleaning is “the practice to gather the leftover crops after the harvest” ( or “to extract information from a number of sources.”

Medieval gleaning.

The peppers that are grown on the farm require to be in a greenhouse. This containment of the environment leads to the creation of one breed of pepper, rather than the two that had been grown years ago. The blend of the two flavors have led to what is now called “sweet and spicy” which I had the pleasure of enjoying. I can speak from experience when I say the name does not disappoint. Although the peppers are smaller, they do not have as tough a skin as the ones found in grocery stores. However, they make up for it with flavor and aroma. I also learned how to hang and dry these peppers by putting a sewing thread through the stem and hanging them in a well-ventilated area. Dried peppers are an excellent source of vitamins in the winter.

The fresh peppers.

Organic farming is a more intensive method of farming, without the use of pesticides and herbicides. This natural method is picking up much traction and popularity. Compared to commercial farming, organic yields may not be as high, or the fruits and vegetables may not be as big, but there are benefits. Some of these benefits are; healthier food for people, better soil condition and it’s less harmful on the environment. Organic farmers have a strong sense of community and appreciation for the plants and the environment. This has given me a new look at farming and I have gleaned a wealth of information from my organic farm experience.

Me after enjoying a spicy pepper, Yum!

A Day In The Weeds

While working at the University of Guelph Urban Organic Farm I preformed various tasks including picking tomatillos, watering plants, organizing peppers for the market etc, but an activity that was most interesting for me was weeding. Weeding doesn’t sound too interesting and I wasn’t particularly excited for it but once we began, we got into a system and were determined to finish. There were about 5 of us working together to completely de-weed the area. 

Image 1: The area full of weeds!
Image 2: The weeds being pulled out by their root

The first image shows how the area looked before, you couldn’t even see a pathway. There was a wide selection of weeds, debris, and dead plants that Martha told us was supposed to be taken care of in July. We used thick garden gloves to pull the prickly bushes (seen in the second image) and for the weeds that were too thick to pull, we used pitch forks and shovels to dig them out from the root. It is very important to make sure they were pulled out by the root so that the weed can be completely eliminated from the area and to prevent future growth. (The third image is the pitchfork next to the greenhouse) But, we had to be very careful with the sharp tools around the greenhouses because if they got punctured the whole structure would deflate.

Image 3: The pitchfork was a key tool for the huge stubborn weeds that were deep in the ground
Image 4: The finished product! All our hard work payed off and we can finally see the pathway

We also came across some creepy crawlies in the bushes but Martha explained that many insects, especially spiders, are not only important but actually essential and beneficial to farms because they eat the mites and other unwanted pests in gardens. Kind of like a pesticide, but its a completely natural process! It took a few hours but we finally loaded the last 2 wheelbarrows with the weeds and brought it to the composting area, then admired how well we cleaned up the area (as seen in the fourth image).

Image 5: The tall red root pig weeds

We then moved onto the pinkish/purplish coloured red root pig weeds  (As seen in the last image) that grew taller than me! they were much easier to pull out and were less time consuming. Overall, volunteering on the farm was very exciting and I learned so much from Martha about things from strategies on how to take care of your own garden at home to information about insects that are destructive/beneficial to the farm. After a day of working, Martha allowed us to take home some vegetables so I also was exposed to being able to eat what we helped cultivate. It was a great experience that I hope to be able to help take part in again!

By Emily Mogilnicki



You won’t bay-leaf what I can do on campus!

Here at the University of Guelph, there is a ton of things to do! From taking a walk in the arboretum and the Bovey greenhouse to grabbing a coffee at a local shop downtown, there’s always something to do. Every student knows about these activities, but what many do not know about is the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming.  When given the task of volunteering at the farm for 10 hours, I thought it would become a chore, but I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. The first time, I made bouquets of flowers for customers at the markets, then, I was harvesting tomatoes, and finally, I weeded some beds in preparation of the farm closing for the season. Throughout my time there, I learned quite a bit about farming, and even about the university itself.

Just a small part of the flowers I had available to create bouquets with!

The first day we went as a class, I thought the farm was wonderful! It was lovely and quaint. When I arrived the first day for volunteering, I realized how much hard work went into the everyday life of an organic farmer. The first Thursday market, I was put on making bouquets of flowers. I had a more simple job, which allowed me to observe the workings of the farm before I was given a more involved task. I saw Martha and the other regular volunteers running to and from, harvesting, tidying, labelling, etc. It was a new experience I loved doing! All the while, I got to handle flowers, and take some home with me!

The bouquet I took home! It brought some colour and joy into my little dorm room!

The second time I arrived at the farm, I was harvesting the last few tomatoes off the vine in the field. This was the first time I got to see the extent of the whole farm. Each crop is placed in a particular place for various reasons. Sunlight, soil quality, beds, etc. With the tomatoes, I learned that they are not harvested when red. Although they can be, most of the red tomatoes on the vine had rotted. For the most part, you harvest the green tomatoes, and then leave them out to ripen. I also realized how much food waste would have occurred should this farm have been industrial. The tomatoes at the supermarket are all large and perfectly round. At the organic farm, they were not. They were still juicy, and perfectly fine, but they were not grown with pesticides or enhanced with who-knows-what. I was able to see, during my time there, what real, untouched food looked like, and tasted like.

We were only harvesting for a short while, but the amount we took back to the market was incredible! We had to reorganize everything in the tent that was ripening, AND we had to use the ground too! There was so much delicious food, it was incredible!

The tent with ripening vegetables. In a couple hours the back tables, and underneath each table would be covered in lovely green tomatoes!

Finally, I was given the task of weeding the beds. I didn’t manage to take any photos of the weeding, but we were told to weed in preparation for the end of the season, preparing the soil in order to be ready for another prosperous crop next year.

All in all, I enjoyed my time at the farm. Martha is passionate, grateful, and a wonderful woman to work for and be around. I really look up to her and her hard work to keep what she loves alive, despite the difficulties she faces. In this day, running an organic farm is difficult. Many consumers want their products as cheap as possible, and as big as possible. They want GMOs, and pesticides, etc. and the university knows this, which is why they do not support her farm. Through this experience, I learned one of the many things I believe the university doesn’t want to be common knowledge. I do not know the exact details, but I learned that the institute does not support the farm financially because they themselves, receive support from large food companies that do not farm their food the way Martha does. This way is not nearly as environmentally sustainable, nor is it as ethical, but because it brings in money, the university loves it. This disappointed me quite a bit to hear. The University claims to be a “green” school, but yet they don’t support this wonderful endeavour and the hard work Martha does. I also learned that the school invests millions of dollars in fossil fuels, AND they do not compost like the rest of the city, even though there is enough resources, and compostable single use items on campus (i.e. the bowls and plates in LA and the UC). I care deeply about the environment, and plan on obtaining a job which allows me to protect it and therefore, hearing this has made me feel very conflicted. Back in grade 12, I had made a pro/con list of each school I wanted to attend. One of the pros on Guelph’s list was that it was a “green” school. I use quotation marks here for obvious reasons. This “green” initiative seems to be only a front put on by the institution to draw students in, and keep the tuition money rolling in.

The beautiful greenhouse (Check out that neat blue barrel!!)

All this said, I believe that the farm has inspired me to really try my best to support Martha, and people like her in every way I can. I have a new appreciation for the work it requires, and for the benefit it brings to people. What the university does behind doors seems impossible to change, but by reaching out and offering a helping hand to the determined individuals, together a change is not impossible. I look forward to the spring season so I can learn more about the farm, and about growing my own vegetables so that one day, I can perhaps have my own greenhouse, and grow my own produce! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

I love the Organic Farm from my Head-To-ma-toes

Over the past couple of weeks, my classmates and I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming. This little farm is tucked away on the east side of campus and is filled with little gems such as these tomatoes I had the chance to harvest.

Tomatoes I picked on October 18

On September 21, I participated in the weekly Thursday farmers’ market. My responsibilities included: rearranging the harvest to make it more appealing to potential customers, sorting the firsts from the seconds, and my favourite, picking flowers from the field and making bouquets for customers.

Zinnias waiting to be sold at the farmer’s market!

I learned many basic skills farmers have such as the differentiation between a first and a second; essentially its down to the size, colour, and any small imperfections the produce may have. I learned how to pick marigolds, zinnias and snapdragons correctly so that the flowers are not hurt in the process. Snapdragons have sturdy stems, while zinnias have hollow stems and marigolds have delicate stems so the methods to cut them are different. I learned how to make a bouquet, which colours match better with one another and how to make sure they last the trip home (you just wrap a wet paper towel around the end of the stems). Lastly, I identified tomato blight which is a plant disease cause by a fungus which causes discolour on the fruits themselves.

Surprisingly, I also learned a new set of social skills from interacting with people who came to the farmers’ market. While I was making bouquets, I made small talk with the customers and learned so much about them and who the bouquets were for. Upon volunteering for the farmers’ market, I didn’t expect to make meaningful connections over making $3 bouquets for people.  I was recognized by lady that I made a bouquet for a month ago when she came back for the last Thursday market on the 18th of October, she told me her friend loved the bouquet I made for her and which made my day.

Flowers at the farmers’ market

Looking back, I wish I had more time to spend on the farm and I definitely will go back next semester to volunteer my time when it opens again.

A bee feeding on a zinnia


Old MacDonald Isn’t the Only One With a Farm

Unbeknownst to many, the University of Guelph has is very own self sustainable organic farm! It is run completely by an amazing lady named Martha, and many keen volunteers. The organic farm is on the east side of campus right bedside the Arboretum; you just need to follow the carrot trail to find it. I had heard about the organic farm before coming with the outdoor school class but never had the opportunity to visit it. Every Thursday in the early fall is the day of the market and is the busiest day there.

The carrot trail goes all the way from east residences to the organic farm so you cant get lost!

However, no matter the day, there is always work to be done on the farm.  Plants need to be watered, weeded, harvested, and sold. I often would harvest vegetables and help get produce ready so it could be sold at the market on Thursdays. It was a bit strange in the beginning to be working on a farm without big machinery like I am used to, but it was a unique experience and made me feel as though I was really working with the land and I appreciated where the food was coming from at a new level.  My favourite task however, was definitely selling. I loved to be able to interact with Guelph locals and other university students, and share my gardening knowledge with others as well as learn about the different types of produce grown and sold at the farm.

Peppers waiting to be bought.

With over half a dozen green houses and fields galore, there is so much variety that the farm has in store. It contains all the produce you would expect to find, including: tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkins carrots of many varieties, as well as some more uncommon foods. Things like mouse melons, tomatillos, hot peppers, and sour melons, to name a few.  As well as my personal favourite to sell, the magic onions. These plants have similar healing properties to aloe vera plants and as flower a beautiful orange colour in the winter. This was one of the many things I learned about on the farm from Martha. It seems like every time I go there I end up learning something new, which make me love going there so much more. As well as, this new knowledge was a great conversation starter. I also found that there were many regulars that I got to know and converse with throughout the weeks of the market. It has become a large part of many folks lives and they schedule coming to the farm every week into their busy lives. Plus, for university students, there are student prices to help make the food more affordable. On top of the fact that the food sold is already at such a great price compared to grocery stores. This is  great way for people to eat more healthy in a more affordable way.

A university student inspecting some fresh veggies.

The organic farm is and amazing place to go and it reminds me of being back home on the farm. Even after completing my 10 hours, I continue to go and help volunteer there since it is a great place to be able to go and take a break from studying. It has been spectacular experience and I am so glad to have been able to find out about this little farm. I definitely plan on continuing to help out in the future and in years to come.

Nicole Corley

10 Hours of Eye Awakening

The great Guelph Organic farm is no joke. I had the pleasure of working alongside the head farmer Martha, as peers from the Outdoor school class of fall 2017 and a different variety of other students and volunteers of The University of Guelph. There is a lot you can do in just 10 hours and Martha likes to use every minute to its fullest. A farmer is a master category of multiple different subdivisions. During my 10 hours of physical demanding labour I explored the harvesting, washing, marketing and gardening aspects of farming.

One of the many different crops I was chosen to harvest was lemon grass. Lemon grass as an odor of a typical lemon. Lemon grass is often made into a tea as its oils are natural muscle relaxers. Accompanied by a 5th year student I eagerly raced down to one of the many green houses and learned to harvest lemon grass. The most efficiently and optimal way of harvesting lemon grass is to, reach down to the bottom of the stem and bend it until it snaps. As I was getting a head of myself my lack of experience delivered me a paper cut on my finger. But that did not stop me, I put on a pair of gloves and continued with my day.

With the little time I had to escape the fields, Martha had me washing,bagging and sorting different variety of vegetables for the weekly market. I used this time to collect and prepare myself for the hours in the sun that were about to come. Parsnips as displayed in the pictures were one of the many different vegetables which were assigned to me. It was brought to my attention that some vegetables must be kept moist after being picked while others need to be completely dry. With the watchful eye of Martha I somehow did everything correctly.


The last hours of my service fell just in time for preparing for the winter . One of my last protruding tasks I had to do was to remove all the left over flower pots of a Guelph class experiment.  At first I thought this activity was going to fun, but as removed row by row I suddenly found myself staring at the last row hoping it would be all over. What doesn’t seem to be that physically demanding, it sure took a tool on my body. By the end I felt as if I was an elderly male with back problems.

All in all the 10 hours on the farm made me realize and appreciate all of the hard work that is put into having food in markets and on the shelves at stores.  I can definitely  see myself going back next year to lend Martha a helping hand as she has so much on her shoulders. Her recent success of her market being published in the paper is going to put her sales through the roof next year. She already has me as a loyal raspberry customer.

-Adam Patzelt

When all tasks fail, weeding prevails!

Oh won’t you look at that. Another post about weeding! Indeed this is! Of all the activities one can take part in at the University Guelph Urban Organic Farm (or as I like to call simply “Martha’s Farm”), weeding is the most time consuming, labour intensive, and important task.

With only 10 hours of volunteer work, I took part in many tasks, whether it be on the field or at the front helping run the market. I found that I completed tasks fairly quick and always ended up hunting down Martha to be assigned other tasks. When all was completed, she would revert to weeding. This is a task that was constantly being done at Martha’s farm due to the fact that it wasn’t able to get done in the summer as she would have liked. At first, the thought of weeding brought back memories of my mom and I weeding together during summer months in the scorching heat to find myself covered in burrs and tan lines. Naturally, I was a little hesitant.

Martha began by instructing us to wear proper gear. This included gardening gloves, preferably the leather kind, that way we’d be able to weed out any prickly plants, in particular, thistles. Now let me tell you, handling thistles without proper gloves is not fun. The pain is a mild, sharp, irritating and spontaneous pain, comparable to a splinter. Next would be making sure to wear close toed shoes. Doing so prevents any injury from heavy tools or external dangers. Also, to wear comfortable clothing you don’t mind getting a little dirty. By little I mean a lot!

Then Martha took us onto the field and showed us how to properly pull out a weed. All you do is grab the weed as close to the base as possible and pull. Once the weed is pulled. It is important to shake off the soil trapped in the roots as this minimizes the weight and space taken up in the wheelbarrow.

Here, Catherine demonstrates how to properly pull a weed.

This technique is almost always successful. In the case of  plants that are deeply rooted and have a main root with the circumference of a water bottle, a fork is much needed. Using the fork to take out the tough guys was my favourite part. To do this was also simple, you just dig the fork into the soil next to the root at a slight angle and lift upward to try and lift the roots keeping the weed down. I won’t lie, this did require some upper body strength and you will break a sweat after doing quite a few. You do this all around the weed to make the final upward lift as effective as possible in catching the whole root system. Seeing this task took some strength and persistence.

Here I am taking out a deeply rooted weed that was improperly pulled.

Upon the first removal of a weed that required a fork I was incredibly impressed with how deep this root grew and spread with a great circumference. After clearing all the weeds, they were placed in a wheelbarrow and taken to the compost pile.

Seeing Martha’s excitement over our hard work always put a smile on my face. You could see how much she appreciated our help. This entire experience has been eye-opening to all the other farmers like Martha that put so much passion and hard work into providing delicious fruits and vegetables to local consumers including organizations that rely on donations. The thought of weeding will now be replaced with the feelings of gratitude and accomplishment. Thank you for this opportunity.

Written by: Alexa Alman-Pastor

Hard Work Never Tasted So Good

Beginning my first busy year of university the last thing I wanted to do was volunteer 10 hours of my own time picking weeds and vegetables, especially as midterms were approaching.  However even after the first visit, volunteering at the farm began to grow on me. (Pun intended)

Digging up potatoes!

My jobs at the farm included harvesting potatoes, squash, tomatoes, washing vegetables, sorting good vegetables from the seconds, and setting up or the market that was held every Thursday. I would say the most urgent job was harvesting the vegetables in time before they began to over ripen on the vine. I remember the first visit I had we had a big rain that day and the dirt was compact. These conditions were not ideal for harvesting potatoes because the potatoes were all caked in the mud. However, with myself and two other volunteers we plowed through them fast. Doing this type of difficult, hands on work really makes you appreciate teamwork. Teamwork is exactly what you need to run a farm, it is definitely not a one-person job.

The beautiful squash for sale at the market!

The market was one of my favorite days to volunteer. Getting everything set up nice and pretty was when you really saw all the hard work pay off.  It was something about seeing the abundance of produce on the tables that gave you a sense of achievement and a sense of pride. Whenever someone bought some tomatoes, a little thought popped up “Hey I helped pick those!”. On that note, I never knew about the organic farm before this class, so I was surprised how many locals came out every Thursday!

The yummy squash I baked!
The yummy pumpkin pie I made with a pumpkin from the farm!

Seeing all of the beautiful vegetables harvested I couldn’t help myself but to by some to bring home to my family to show off what an awesome farm we have here at Guelph! We cooked up some butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and a pumpkin! The butternut squash was a denser squash while the spaghetti squash was something a little lighter. Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite’s because it is so versatile. You can make so many different recipes with it. With the pumpkin I made a DELICIOUS pumpkin pie from scratch and brought it to my family thanksgiving. Everyone loved it! I thought it tasted that much better since I knew how much hard work it took to grow, wash, and harvest the pumpkin.

In the end I am so glad I got the opportunity to work on this farm, and I plan on doing it next year too!