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  • Gretchen Seigworth

Farm to School at Burley Berries

Two students show off the full pints of fresh berries they picked.

Thanks to all who came out for our second strawberry season. We had a great year and are already looking forward to next. We wanted to share one of our favorite events from this year:

On Monday, June 20, 2016, students from grades 1-5 at the Buffalo area school district made a trip to Burley Berries to learn all about strawberries. This visit was part of a Farm to School educational project in which students learn about different fresh market crops each month, and June was the month for strawberries!

The students arrived in the morning, and were greeted by me, Gretchen Seigworth, 2016 Burley Berries intern. I showed them the ropes of the strawberry farm. They first learned the basics of strawberry plants; how they are perennial fruits, and that they produce “runners” to grow bigger, heartier fruit sets.

The students then took a tour of the planting and weeding equipment used on the Burley Berries farm. They learned the importance of weed management when they took turns hoeing weeds in the garden with a hand-hoe. A few lucky kids were able to sit on the transplanter to pretend to plant their own strawberries! The students then learned how to care for strawberry plants with a “strawberry journal”. In their journal, they documented weather and temperature conditions in which the plants were growing, how many blossoms they had, how tall and wide they were, and whether they look healthy and green.

After participating in all the hard work involved in planting and caring for the strawberry plants, the students from Buffalo took part in the most important and fun part of growing strawberries: Picking and eating them! The 1st-5th graders picked over 60 pounds of strawberries in 1 hour, a new elementary school record! Many students and teachers claimed that this was their “best field trip ever”, and they were very excited to share their pint of berries with their families.

We were delighted to be able to share this wonderful experience with the students of Buffalo Area School District. The Farm to School project is a smart way to expose children to the process of where their food comes from and connect local farmers to a new market. It’s always fulfilling to educate our youth about agriculture.

(Photos courtesy of RJ Anderson, Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Gretchen shows the students how to use a hand-hoe for weed management

This student was excited about the size of the berries she was picking!

Students rested on the transplanter while they ate their berries

The students each were in charge of taking care of a strawberry plant, this included keeping a plant journal.

Picking strawberries

Burley Berries intern, Gretchen, preparing for the students to arrive

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