“When I started this farm three years ago, I didn’t know much about greens,” said Radix Farmowner and grower, Kristin Carbone. This seemed highly unlikely to those of us from Arcadia who were visiting Radix for the day – especially as we looked out on beautiful, long rows of senposai, broccoli rabe and mustards. But Kristin did start Radix from scratch in 2009, and we had come for the day to learn about the ins and outs of farming her land in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Oh, and to put in a little farmhand work, too!
As Kristin talked with us that morning, we learned that Radix is a two-acre farm which was part of a larger surrounding area cropped intensively with soy and corn. Since acquiring the land, Kristin has focused on organic farming practices at Radix including crop diversity, covercropping, farmscaping to restore the health of the soil and the surrounding environment. In 2010, Radix offered its first CSA. Kristin sells some of her produce directly to chefs and restaurant owners and has also teamed up with Arcadia for past Mobile Market sales!
After lots of questions, armyworm squashing and in-field greens tasting, we got down to work! Arcadia interns Morgan, Lacey and Amanda along with Education Manager Liz harvested parsley and basil and then moved on to digging up the sweet potatoes! At Radix, we learned that Kristin transplants her sweet potatoes into rows covered with reusable black landscape fabric instead of the black plastic liners used at many farms. Before harvesting the sweet potatoes, we trimmed back the sweet potato greens and then rolled up ground cover and loosened the surrounding soil. Our final reward was digging up sweet potatoes which were bright orange, beautiful and a perfect food to pull from the earth on a crisp September morning.
Our hard morning’s work concluded with a well-earned lunch amongst crates of sweet potatoes. Thanks so much for hosting us for the day Kristin! As an intern, it was great to learn about new practices in sustainable agriculture—especially from a farm with a CSA model. If you’re interested in learning more about Kristin, Radix or their CSA, visit the farm’s blog at http://radixfarm.wordpress.com/.