In these last few lingering days of summer heat, parent volunteers joined Farm Assistant Amaia Owens in harvesting Home Winds Farm’s tomato crop for consumption by the Gill St. Bernard's community and in prepping the beds for fall seedlings.
With this final harvest, Home Winds Farm successfully reaped over 1300 pounds of tomatoes in one season. The last picking was by no means the largest—that happened on September 12, 2023, when the farm team hauled in over 450 pounds of tomatoes in one day—but by all accounts, there were a lot of tomatoes to consume in a short amount of time.
“We don’t refrigerate our tomatoes, and so, we have to move them fast,” Farm Manager Ned Lincoln said. “All of your sales avenues come into play when you are faced with a bumper crop.”
Home Winds Farm’s revenue angles include the weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program offered through the farm, the Home Winds Farmstand, wholesale sales to local restaurants, and after it opened for the new school year, the GSB Dining Hall.
Once it became obvious that the tomatoes were in abundance, Lincoln coordinated with Food Service Director Scott Jordan to integrate the Home Wind’s produce into the weekly Sage Dining Services menu. At the appointed time, Lincoln then hand-delivered industry-standard, 10-pound flats of tomatoes to the dining hall’s “back door.”
“It doesn’t get much more farm-to-table than this,” Chef Jordan said. “Lincoln walks the tomatoes over from the field, and within 24 hours of being picked, they are being served to our community.”
What is even more impressive is that our students eat them—a lot.
“Tomatoes are very versatile and very popular,” Chef Jordan explained. “They are very eye-appealing, and they are in so many more dishes than you realize.”
Home Wind’s tomatoes have shown up in three-bean chili, chipotle and roasted tomato salsa, tomato-cucumber salad, avocado, tomato, and mozzarella salad, and in the sandwich toppings bar. They have been stewed, baked, chopped, sliced, sauteed, and roasted, and there are rarely any left at the end of the day.
The tomatoes are not the first vegetable from Home Winds to grace the lunch service. Last year saw a bumper crop of fall beets make its way into the dining rotation, which both Lincoln and Chef Scott hope will repeat this year. And next on the rotation, Lincoln will be delivering apples.
“The apples are hand-picked from our very own orchard and come in two varieties,” Lincoln explained. “They may look a little different on the outside than the commercial apples you see at the grocery store, but on the inside, they are even more delicious.”
Rather than being available in the grab-and-go fruit bowl, the Home Winds Farm apples will be made into applesauce or roasted with vegetables. They will be baked into pies and crisps, and they will be stewed into hearty soups. For anyone wishing they could take a few home with them, they will also be for sale at the Home Winds Farmstand located on St. Bernard’s Road (open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.).
Showcasing the food raised on the GSB campus in the meals students receive in the GSB Dining Hall fulfills a fundamental component of Home Winds Farm’s mission: to provide a connection between our community and the land and to help students understand where their food comes from and the impact that they have on the world. The farm-fresh produce also introduces the students to the authentic taste of locally produced vegetables served directly from the farm.