Scott Hoffman and Emily Bowie harvest mesclun salad mix in the farm's largest greenhouse.

“We find the vegetables to be crisp and delicious, the recipes intriguing and the farm staff to be friendly and eager to please.  We feel fortunate to be a part of the Dickinson Farm CSA.”  – Davis C. Tracy

“Your staff is always so very helpful and pleasant to interact with.  I love the smell of fresh produce and the way the produce is displayed.  Keep up the good work!” – Sharon Sites

“Thanks for the good work you do. I think the way in which the pick up is organized is tremendous. Really appreciate it. Also, we like that we can come and stroll around the farm on pick-up days. We enjoy seeing what you’re doing and having a chance to kick back and enjoy. Also like the pick-your-own flowers option.” – 2011 CSA Member

“I really like that you are at the Farmer’s market. I get to preview what is going to be in the CSA share and have a chance to pick up some of my favorite things beforehand. I also think it matters that you organize/coordinate/support such a wonderful community activity.” – 2011 CSA Member

“We LOVE being part of the CSA! It’s been such a pleasure to enjoy the excellent produce! Thanks so much for all your hard work and for feeding us so well. We’ll be back next year for sure!” – 2011 CSA Member

“Love what you guys do–thanks so much and can’t wait for next season to begin!” – 2011 CSA Member

“It’s hard to pick just one thing we like best because we enjoy our farm share for so many reasons. We love the CSA and the Farm! It’s really all very wonderful. Keep up the good work!” – 2011 CSA Member

“I love going to the farm to pick up my share, cut flowers, and pick basil or tomatoes. The food is beautifully set out and everyone who works there is so friendly and helpful. The CSA, as well as reading I’ve done, has really changed my attitude toward food and sustainability.” – 2011 CSA Member

“I really enjoyed the strawberries and melons this year- I hope to see more strawberries in the future- they were delicious!” – 2011 CSA Member

“I love the CSA, only eat organic food and there is an amazing difference in the quality you produce. …Having had to buy organic produce this month (December) at the grocery store I was reminded how reasonable the CSA is and how amazing the food is.” – 2011 CSA Member

Hay ride! Photo courtesy of Melinda Schlitt

A Teenager’s Sojourn at the Dickinson College Farm
Kerry Snyder, PASA member, Centre County
Published in the July/August 2010 Issue of Passages, the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter

“What’s in season?” This is an important question for those receiving produce from a vegetable farm. At the Dickinson College Farm, both the college staff and the community know the answer. Although strawberries only stick around for a short time and spinach doesn’t last forever, one thing remains consistent; the community members involved with the farm are developing meaningful relationships with each other.

I came to Dickinson looking for an experience worthy of a senior project. What I found after two weeks of volunteering on the Dickinson Farm was something much more; a new perspective towards farming. I left having discovered its ability to nourish a community just as fresh food has the ability to nourish our bodies.

When someone buys a Dickinson Farm CSA share, they can expect to do more than just pick up vegetables once a week. Not only do they receive fresh produce, they are also encouraged to return to the farm for events like a summer solstice celebration or an educational cooking class. Some even work on the farm in exchange for their share of vegetables each week.

Kerry Snyder tries out the Solar Wheeler at Dickinson Farm.

Kerry Snyder tries out the Solar Wheeler during her stay at the Dickinson Farm.

In the same way that the community becomes so involved with the farm, the members of the farm staff find themselves in a unique educational summer job. They too are welcome to attend several different farm events outside of their regular working hours.

Staff members have the pleasure of attending an educational class relating to the farm once a week and they also go on field trips to other farms in the area. When asked about their work on the farm, it is common to see a college staff member smile when saying “Well, it is hard work, but…” Now I know why they’re grinning.

My smile stems from the people I worked and lived with for twelve days. The laughs and conversations we shared during “group weeding sessions” and other farm projects made me extremely content during my visit. The staff members clearly enjoy each other immensely. I will always remember the joy they brought me through their kindness, understanding, wisdom and sense of humor.

Living and working with Dickinson College students was an extremely rewarding
experience. Despite the fact that I was only there for two weeks, the relationships I formed during my stay in Carlisle are in some ways stronger than some that exist back home. So what’s the difference, you might ask? I believe that farming is the answer. The work was not always glamorous and easy. The “hard work” united us with each other and the community. That is something to smile about.

As far as I’m concerned, farming has always been a part of my life. From the time I was born until I was eight years old I lived on Gould Farm in western Massachusetts. The Farm is a mental health program that uses farming as therapy. Staff, their families, and those needing care, all live on the Farm. This community aspect helps residents recover.

I was young and, for the most part, blissfully unaware of what kind of effect Gould Farm has on the residents who stay and work there. Although I have gone back and visited the Farm since I left, my experiences remain those of a child going home, not of a contributing member of a farm staff. This summer I believe I finally got the chance to see a farm from that other point of view; that of a serious worker. We lived together, worked together, laughed together, shared misfortune, and brought our harvest to the community.

My two weeks at the Dickinson College Farm have opened my eyes to what I never quite understood about Gould Farm as a child. People who farm together develop relationships with each other and to their community that, in my opinion, will never fade away.

So, what’s in season on the Dickinson College Farm, you might ask? To give an answer true to me, satisfaction, community, laughs, education and friendship are ripe for the picking all year round.