Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Field Trip to Tipi Produce

On Tuesday, July 20th, we took a field trip to Tipi Produce in Evansville, WI.  There, Beth Kazmar and Steve Pincus gave us a tour and filled us in on the evolution of their organic CSA and wholesale produce business.  They have 45 acres of land in production, where we at Troy have only 3.5.  This difference in land use, as well as Tipi's extensive wholesale operations, means that they use a variety of different methods and equipment that we are used to.  It was interesting to see how another farm works successfully.  

Here we can see new pepper transplants across from established plants which are starting to bear fruit.  Note the use of black plastic mulch.  At Troy, we do not use this as it is not re-usable and not recyclable.  However, as I noted before, Tipi is working with a lot more land and therefore uses resources differently.  
One of Tipi's signature crops is melons.  Here is a watermelon, ready to be harvested.  Note the black plastic.  Melons are a highly valued crop and therefore their appearance in the CSA share is very welcome.  Not many CSAs can say they give as many melons as Tipi.  
Steve, Claire, and some of the interns step into the field to get a closer look.
Here is an example of drip tape used for irrigation.  
Here, we see leaves composted from the city of Evansville and used as mulch with squash plants. 
Steve explains how the irrigation gun works.  If you look closely, you can see it far in the distance to the right of Jake's shoulder.  It can shoot 200 feet in all directions and can crawl along the length of the field by itself.  It can be adjusted for pressure and distance.  
Steve shows off the Perfecta II to Jake while an army truck converted for water distribution lies waiting in the background.  Just two of the many pieces of equipment in operation at Tipi.  

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