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Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Farm Tour: Planting Day at Brenckle’s

On March 28th, I visited Brenckle’s Farm in Renfrew, PA. This farm visit wasn’t like my other visits – this time, I had 50 others join me! The 50 others were hourly and management team members (employees) from our restaurants. Our team members truly have a passion for food, and they were just as excited as I always am to get out and spend some time with a local partner like Brenckle’s.

Eat'n Park team members help Brenckle's Farm with spring planting!

We arrived at 9:30 AM with the wind blowing and clouds of rain overhead. We were greeted by Don, Gary, Gary Jr. and Greg Brenckle. Our objective was to plant tomato plants and pickling cucumbers in their newly constructed three-acre hoophouse. A hoop house is a greenhouse with a plastic roof wrapped over flexible piping, which helps extend the growing season by two extra months (one month earlier and one month later in the season). Unfortunately, due to high winds, the hoophouse hadn’t been fully covered in plastic yet. However, that didn’t mean we were off the hook – Don and his family found other ways to put us to work!

The tractor creates holes in the plastic, where zucchini seeds are then placed.

We decided to split the group up into two; one to plant zucchini and the other to transplant pepper plants. Our zucchini group got to work planting the zucchinis from seed. There were rows and rows of black plastic mounds, which help to keep weeds at bay. Gary Jr. drove a tractor that made holes in the plastic. Our team members then placed one seed in each hole, then covered it back up. It sounds easy, but we had to be careful not to lose track of where we planted each seed! After only a few hours, the group planted over 7,000 zucchini, which you can expect to see in our restaurants in a few months.

Planting zucchini seeds

Our pepper group was equally productive. It’s still too soon to plant peppers outside, so our team members were given the task of transplanting trays of 100 pepper seedlings into larger trays that held 24 seedlings each. Greg Brenckle explained that it’s important to give the seedlings more room to grow; otherwise, when they’re transplanted to the field, they won’t be able to produce a large enough root system to survive. By the end of the day, we had transplanted over 18,000 pepper plants!

The Eat'n Park team, transplanting pepper seedlings

After all of our hard work, we enjoyed a gourmet lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs, which was a perfect end to a great day!

We're not afraid to get our hands dirty!

Look for these FarmSource items at your Neighborhood Eat’n Park during the summer months, when we’ll be featuring house-made pickles, zucchini bread, and yummy peppers. I’ll explain more in my next post, so stay tuned!

Happy gardening,


1 comment:

Sherry said...

I love gardening! So this was such a nice read :) If you weren't a gardener before the visit, I bet you want to be now!! Have a great summer:)