“I couldn’t keep my hands out of the fields,” David declared. Four years ago, David was working at a nearby organic fertilizer company and was compelled to keep a small garden, focusing on garlic cultivation. Now, David is operating Eagle View Organics and needs not to make an excuse to be in the fields. The garlic he raises is enough proof that his itch for gardening was worthwhile.
Eagle View Organics is located in Leola, just a mile or so from the LFFC warehouse and office location. It’s also near member farmers Aaron and Sylvan who operate Riverview Organics and Shady Brook Organics, respectively. Together, they work land that is along the banks of the Conestoga River. This is a benefit to all three because they can be handy when there’s much work to do.
Among the vegetables being harvested on the four acres of fields are Kale, Yellow Swiss Chard, Red Leaf Lettuce, and Bok Choy. In addition, he just planted Green Peppers and Okra, and is set to plant tomatoes in the near future. There are also vibrant, red strawberries coming on – tasting sweet and juicy – and raspberries that are just blossoming. Each crop has roughly a quarter-acre to grow on. However, more space and consideration is given to the garlic.
There are about 13 kinds of garlic being grown at Eagle View. They range from German Extra-Hardy to Chestnut Red and Purple Glazer to Persian Star. As David mentioned, “garlic has types, and each type has many varieties.” Overall, garlic is split between two types: hard necked and soft necked. He is growing mostly hard-necked types, which produce a single scape from the top. The scape is a thin, curly shoot that will be harvested separately and, when prepared, has a mild taste.
Now that David has some years of farming under his belt, he has begun to take notice of his personal preferences. In addition to the garlic, he likes to grow plants that produce fruit – things like strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes. He also has taken to raising a specialty breed of chicken – the Americauna. These birds are slightly smaller than the Red Sex-Link kind being raised at other member-farms and they lay eggs that vary in color – from white to tan to brown.
Even though David is only entering his second year with the Co-op, he is in good company with Aaron and Sylvan nearby. And, by the looks of it, his passion for agriculture will keep him plenty motivated.
From The Com Post, News from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative
article and photos by Chris Breimhurst