Produce grown on the Downtown Farm Campus is directed to student-run farmers’ markets and culinary programs at our seven partner schools; fills the produce stand Monday through Thursday, April to November; is marketed at Pepper Place Market each Saturday, April to November; is used for Jones Valley Teaching Farm fundraising events; is donated to partner organizations; and is featured on menus at local restaurants.
With year-round programming in mind, our farm staff creates crop plans with a focus on seasonal diversity, innovation, and soil health. Annually, our downtown farm’s fields and orchards are home to more than 200 varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers and provide a rich habitat for urban wildlife and honey bee colonies.
Providing consistent weekday access to our high-quality harvest, our Produce Stand is stocked April to November, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Customers help themselves and make payments through our honor box, located within the stand.
Our Produce Stand was designed and built through a partnership with Auburn’s Rural Studio program in 2012. One Rural Studio graduate, Will McGarity, continued to work closely with Jones Valley Teaching Farm by designing—and in some cases building—the structures and beds found at Teaching Farm sites.
Whether selecting seed varieties, planting, cultivating, or harvesting, we try to be thoughtful stewards and engage students of all ages in the care of our Teaching Farms. With year-round programming in mind and the need for a consistent flow of high-quality produce, our farm staff and Instructors create crop plans with a focus on seasonal diversity, innovation, and soil health.
Our staff and students choose varieties like Deep Purple carrots and Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, selecting each for the best flavor and unusual characteristics to boost curiosity and satisfy customer demands. Prioritizing varieties that ripen during the school year, each of our sites features a range of perennial fruit plantings from familiar apples to exotic Asian persimmons. Each site maintains a wide selection of herbs for use during culinary lessons, as well as annual and perennial flowers to brighten our spaces, encourage pollinators, and enhance instruction.
Pests and disease are natural and expected in farming and gardening. At Jones Valley Teaching Farm, we value our sites as rich habitats, especially for our pollinators, and we emphasize an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. We believe that overall plant health is greatly influenced by soil quality. Annual soil testing and adjusting for balance is our most important line of defense against pests and disease. When we seek to control crop damage from persistent pests and diseases, we look to methods that are the least disruptive to the ecosystem and rely on solutions approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute.