As summer slips away, the tell-tale signs of autumn appear all around. The rich gold and purple of goldenrod and iron weed dot the landscape and Queen of the Meadow, also known as Joe Pye Weed, lifts her lofty crown of blossoms above the fading remnants of summer flowers and browning meadow grasses. Some early-turning trees begin to show their colors and slightly cooler temps make the shortening days more enjoyable. The seasonal succession can also be seen in the garden here at Rural Resources’ Holly Creek Farm. The summer harvest has been gathered and celebrated and the freshly tilled ground is ready for hardier fall and winter crops.
During August, Farm and Grazing Manager Taylor Boles taught our teens about planting for fall and how to extend the growing season with low hoop covers and other simple, effective methods. They planned their fall garden and started seeds over the summer that are now ready to be transplanted in the ground. The teens are also using what they’ve learned about season extension in their home gardens. Being able to extend the growing season can help economically challenged families put healthy, tasty, local food on the table during the colder months.
August marked one of the teens favorite annual events: the Greene County Fair! The fair provides a fun-filled opportunity for the teens to interact with the community. They helped man the Rural Resources booth and gave fair goers information about the Farm and Food Teen Training program, recruited new participants and provided samples of healthy and delicious local food. They assisted with several food demos — one of this year’s favorites was a berry salsa recipe — and gave away prizes for the younger children who stopped to play a farm-related “duck game.” They also helped with a harvest scene photo op, designed by Program Coordinator Debbie Strickland.
I promised you last month that I would include a picture of our teens sporting some farm fashion, so here you go!
Cooking classes during the month included canning tomato salsa with Miss Debbie and making corn salsa and chili con carne with Miss Kitty at the Greene County Extension Office. Next on the calendar: an apple butter workshop!
As always, the teens took advantage of the local farmers’ markets to educate the community about eating local and healthy and doing food demos. The berry smoothies were a big hit! They also provided some fun for the youngest market goers with a hands-on fruit and veggie print art demo for one market’s festival event.
Marching ahead with the seasons, our teens are looking forward to their annual retreat this weekend. The overnight, weekend retreat, arranged by Miss Debbie and conducted by licensed outdoor education professionals at their campground facility, offers the teens and accompanying staff and chaperones an opportunity to develop team building and leadership skills through high and low ropes courses. There is also canoeing, campfires and lots more fun in store!
Last, but definitely not least, the teens would like to extend an open invitation to the 4th annual Teen Chopped! Cook-Off, to be held in the pavillion at Rural Resources’ Holly Creek Farm! They will try to slice and dice their way to victory in a grilling competition based loosely on the hit TV show, “Chopped!” The teens will compete in teams and will have an hour and a half to wow judges with their planning, preparation and presentation, incorporating two secret ingredients. The free event will be held September 24th at 1:00 p.m. Please visit the ruralresources.net for more info and come join us for the fun!
Lorelei Goff, program assistant