Monday, May 23, 2016

Tomatoes for Peru...

Great Tomatoes here, Free Healthcare there!

Today we have a guest post from Pat Jackson who is a bilingual RN who travels to Peru each year with Global Health Ministry. We're sharing Pat's story! Without further hesitation here is Pat's story in her own words!

"Hi there, Pat Jackson here. I'm a bilingual RN and in 3 weeks I leave for Peru, a medical mission trip with Global Health Ministry that I've been doing for ten or so years now. It's an expensive endeavor and I stumbled upon a fundraiser that has really worked...The Great Tomato Sale. (I'm an RN, but a master gardener also, so why not combine these talents?)

A house call made in Peru with the Global Health Ministry

The first year was serendipitous...I was teaching a seed-starting class, and included some of my own in the greenhouse, along with the students'. But when 100 tomato plants "took," I wondered what I'd do with them. Ran to St. Francis Hospital, my then-employer, who is affiliated with Global Health Ministry. The plants sold out in an hour. The next year, I tried for 200 and it was a hit. 
Villagers in Peru that need medical care

Well, I moved north to Vermont, had no greenhouse at my disposal, but continued this mission trip. How would I pull this off? So I called my good friend, HG Haskell, and presented my dilemma. His only question: "how many plants do you need?" And I had the nerve to request 300! Since then, he has been supplying me with the crux of my fundraising for this 2-week trip to Chulucanas, Peru. Amazing!

Tomato Plant Starts in the SIW Greenhouse

GHM has two trips to Peru: one in June for Primary Care where many of us travel 5-6 hours up into the mountains, offering care to folks who may only see a doctor -- us -- once a year! We also triage the patients for the October surgery trip where at least 200 surgeries are performed in two weeks, 3 surgical rooms running non-stop. All our services are free. Without this most of these patients would never receive care.

One of the Global Health Ministry doctors with a patient after surgery

So, my mantra is: "great tomatoes here, free healthcare there." Can't go wrong, right? What a guy, that HG. 

We thank Pat for sharing her story and doing the amazing work she's doing! Keep it up, Pat!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

A scare with the cold...

An unexpected cold snap in May!

Last night called for frost and that put everyone on edge at the farm. So many varieties of vegetables have been planted in the fields already this season. HG and the team have planted tomatoes, eggplant, peas, squash, green beans and corn in the fields thus far this season.

Young pea plants in the field

A frost could mean significant lose due to frost damage. It doesn't take much cold to kill a plant depending on it's hardiness. Most of the early vegetables that we've planted aren't hardy plants. They're also still young so don't have much strength to fight against the cold. It isn't so much the cold temperatures but frost that causes the most irreversible damage. Frost is actually what can damage the plants. A light frost, like we had last night, doesn't cause as much detrimental damage as a hard frost. HG and the team took to protecting the precious vegetables in the fields. Last night they were out covering the crops with row cover to help insulate and keep the plants warmer then the outside air temp. A few degrees could make or break the harvest potential of the crops. The row cover helps keep the temperature up a few degrees to protect the plants.

Row covers on the plants in the field to protect them

Since we're talking about all these delicious vegetables, we might as well mention the CSA as well. We are still accepting enrollments in the CSA until June 1st! The CSA is a great way to plan your meals around the surprises in your share of the week. Email us at siwveggies@gmail.com for more information!

Tomato plants with blossoms