A 17 year-old's first trip to a farm

rd-mcgrathnov1

Written by Manual Arts Student, Victor Islas...

November 20th, 2008, yes that was the day that, after 17 years of life, I first set foot on a real farm, The McGrath Family Farm. When I first heard of this farm, I thought to myself “oh just another boring piece of land with acres of nothing but wheat and corn,” but to my surprise, the farm was filled with a myriad of fruits and vegetables, all of which were planted very near each other, sometimes side by side. I soon learned why that and many other planting techniques used by the McGrath Family Farm were important, not only for the growth of the plants but also for the consumers, us. The tour began with a look at the animal farm. I and two other students started visiting the animals. We enjoyed petting the rabbit, seeing the pigs and the goats, and running from the angry geese, which seemed to be the only one upset at our presence. After seeing the animals Farmer Phil McGrath began the real tour. Right off the bat I knew there was something intriguing about the place. The first piece of information I was impressed with was with the fact that it was an organic farm, meaning they did not use any type of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and instead they use organic pest control methods. By using these methods, organic farmers eliminate the need for pesticides. This is important because it means the plant is healthier and natural, but besides that these methods prevent further damage to our soil and pollution to our atmosphere. Then we walked for about an hour around the farm with Farmer Phil. We kept on learning more and more about the benefits of organic farming. So, the reason why it is beneficial to have so many diverse plants growing together is that it helps prevent bugs and insects from spreading. For example, if I were growing nothing but corn or wheat on my 100acre farm, as some farm companies do, and corn bugs infest my crops, then they have the potential to wipe out my entire corn supply. Then, I must use tons of pesticides to kill them but at the same time I’m destroying the soil, and creating a health hazard for my workers and my consumers. But if I had diversity in my crops, that event would never occur. It was almost time to head back to our table and prepare lunch, but before that Farmer Phil, the Owner of the farm, allowed us to walk through rows of strawberries, and he allowed us to pick as many as we wanted. The strawberries were not as big as the ones I am use to seeing at the markets, but to my surprise they were ten times sweeter. My friend also remarked that they were the best strawberries he had ever tasted, and I agreed with him. We prepared lunch with freshly picked vegetables from the farm. Some of the vegetables we used were carrots, potatoes, beets, garlic, and onion; the best part was that they were all organically grown. After roughly an hour of cooking, I was anxious to taste our neatly prepared vegetable pasta. Simply delicious; it was the best pasta I had ever tasted, even though it was missing the Parmesan cheese. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it so much that I even made room for seconds. Finally we were ready to leave the farm, but not before Phil, our generous host, filled our bags with organic fruits and vegetables to take home. I was so excited to show my mom the different vegetables we gathered, but I was more excited to see her reaction to the taste of the vegetables. She ate a carrot first and agreed with me that it tasted better than the ones that are not organically grown. Now, my mother wants to go buy more of this organic food, and I think we are going to make our first visit to a family farms market pretty soon.