Sipping fresh raw milk and sampling Fire Cider vinaigrette…tasting pure Maple Syrup from the trees you can see at the Farm…feeding goats, petting pigs, and walking through greenhouses lined with rows of tomato plants and greens.
These are not things you may do or see every day, especially when you’re from inner city Boston. Last week 27 high school students & staff from TRINITY BOSTON FOUNDATION’S Trinity Education for Excellence Program (TEEP) in Boston, MA embraced the opportunity to do just that.
It was a special day for the Farm at Eastman’s Corner as well, as the Events team, Head Farmer, and several staff pulled out all the stops to provide these curious students with an impactful experience. “We’re so pleased that the TEEP staff reached out to visit the Farm. A big piece of TEEP’s mission, like ours, is experiential learning and community building. The day’s focus was to expose their students to New England farm-based, sights, sounds, and foods they wouldn’t typically experience,” shared Farm Events & Marketing Director Eric Cimon.
The Farm events team (Eric Cimon and Mariah Kilcoyne) kicked off the visit with a tour of the Farm Market and a basic overview of the Farm operations. Head Farmer Rich Colburn then led all of students through several of the on-site greenhouses packed with tomato and cucumber plants, herbs, and greens. Farmer Rich set the stage with a general overview of how to grow plants and produce, which was followed by probing questions from the students about the Farm’s specific growing process, and the types of food and volumes he expects to produce throughout the year’s various growing seasons.
Following the greenhouse tours, the group migrated to Angela’s Café for a hand’s on presentation about solar energy and sustainable practices. Chris Lee from ReVision Energy described some of the Farm’s sustainable practices, such as the Farm market and Preservation Barn’s solar-sourced energy from roof-mounted and pole-mounted solar panels. He explained how those solar energy features are the heart of sustainability when it comes to energy production and how they are akin to locally grown food. “I really loved working with the students. They asked great questions and we talked about everything, “ said Chris.
With the busy tour half over, by noon the students were ready for a lunch break. In addition to bagged lunches, the students were served samples of fresh Raw Milk, Fire Cider vinaigrette over fresh greens, and Grade B pure maple syrup from Hemlock Hollow Farm in Kensington. “I did not want to try the raw milk, but they finally convinced me. It was really good! It was cool to try new things and the farm was really nice.” said Devin, a TEEP student. “We were so happy to see the students jump right into everything, the taste testing as well! They were curious, respectful, and tried everything,” said Mariah.
Following lunch, everyone headed over to visit the goats and pot-bellied pigs in the Farm’s Animal Yard. Rich corralled the goats and pigs into the barn so the students could see them up close, pet them, and feed them. “I had an awesome time. The pigs were hysterical, and going into the greenhouse was like a different world. I would definitely go back.” said TEEP student Oscar.
While still outside, Chris from ReVision Energy showed the students the solar panels in the sun to see the effects of tilt, azimuth, and shading by testing them out. He then took everyone upstairs in the Animal Yard barn where the group got to see the newly installed solar inverters for the 71.2K pole mounted Solar Farm out back.
The tour wrapped up with Eric Cimon talking about the Farm’s mission and values and the importance of eating and buying local to support the local agriculture and economy. Both the Farm and the Trinity Education for Excellence Program youth are looking forward to next year’s visit.
“Thank you so much for hosting us on such a wonderful visit on Saturday! Our youth highly enjoyed our trip, and we are so grateful for your hospitality.” – Susan Khurshudyan, Associate Director for High School, Trinity Education for Excellence Program