Section: Features

Puppies, mushrooms, harvests and more at the Kenyon Farm 

Puppies, mushrooms, harvests and more at the Kenyon Farm 

Thomas Buzzerio ’25, Lauren King ’25 and Luca Segalla ’25 | THE KENYON FARM

Where at Kenyon can you find a mushroom lab, eight puppies and cherry tomatoes all in the same place? The Kenyon Farm, located only minutes away from campus, allows students to interact with agriculture and animals in a hands-on, exciting way. This year, the fall harvest is bringing in around 12 different crops, among them broccoli, peppers, corn (both popcorn and sweetcorn), eggplants, tomatoes, pumpkins and watermelon. 

Kenyon students, though they may not know it, are consuming the direct results of some of these products. Peirce Dining Hall purchases sweet peppers, seeded watermelons and eggs from the Kenyon Farm to use in campus meals. Additionally, a small selection of readily available crops are for sale in the farm’s garage. 

However, that is not the only time Gambier residents can purchase the farm’s produce: Every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Middle Path in front of the bookstore, the farm brings a selection of its current harvest to sell. Bethany McCarty, the Farm Manager, explained that these Wednesday sales typically conclude with the first frost of the year, and for that reason, may be ending soon. So if Kenyon students are interested in buying fresh produce, now is the time to see what is available. 

Apart from crops, the farm is also home to almost 200 chickens, two dogs and eight puppies. Stella, Bruno and their adorable puppies are currently running around the doghouse. Bruno is often inside the chickens’ enclosure, warding off predators like raccoons and hawks. It’s a good thing, considering that the farm provides 60 dozen eggs per week to Peirce.

Egg collection is a chore that can be done by any Kenyon farmer. Thomas Buzzerio ’25 started working on the farm this summer through a new internship program that they offer. He explained some of the common daily tasks students can expect to work on this fall, including harvesting produce, feeding the dogs and checking on the chickens. 

However, there are new projects to begin as winter approaches. Buzzerio explained that the last of the harvest must be collected and they must prepare the high tunnels, greenhouse-like structures that conserve heat and allow plants to grow in the winter. The farm has two high tunnels, one of which is currently growing peppers and eggplants while the other is ready to be prepped for new crops.

Though the farm already has a diverse array of crops, Buzzerio said that fruit-bearing trees would be a cool, new addition. 

Buzzerio shared other ways students can get involved with the farm. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, Kenyon students are welcome to help work at the farm with the employees. No previous experience is required and student volunteers work among peers with experience on the farm. 

Since 2012, Kenyon students have been an integral part of the farm’s maintenance, in spite of the dissolution of its residential program in 2022. This year, the farm staff are excited about the implementation of a no-till system, meaning there are no tractors or other mechanical devices tilling the fields. Instead, the farmers use drills or shovels, a much less invasive method that will eventually lead to a decreased need for fertilizer and other harmful chemicals. 

Another more recent addition to the farm is the mycelium (mushroom) lab in the basement of the farmhouse. Last year, McCarty led a project where students in Permaculture and Homestead Winter Farming (ENVS 240) helped then-Mushroom Advisor Jacob Clark build the wet and dry room for the mycelium lab in the basement. Clark is now the Assistant Farm Manager and a resident of the house. He manages the mycelium lab, where mushrooms will hopefully be ready soon.  

As colder weather sets in, the farm is preparing for final harvests and winter snow. In the meantime, anyone who is interested in learning something new about agricultural practices – or maybe who just wants to pet a puppy – is welcome to stop by the Kenyon Farm. 

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