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City Orchard Report – May 2017

What’s going on at City Orchard? Read on for details on the month of May!

May has been the month of “May we keep up with the strawberries!” We have 2 fields of very productive strawberry plants this year, and we’ve been trying keep up with picking the strawberries and maintaining the plants as fast as they grow. We have also been preparing for our next orchard harvests: blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Executive Summary

In May 2017, the Sustainable Agriculture program harvested about 460 pounds of strawberries and cared for the orchard to ensure long-term food production. This equates to nearly 800 servings of fresh, nutrient-dense fruits distributed to DC residents through our farm to pantry operations.

The Sustainable Agriculture team engaged over 70 volunteers at orchard workdays, including Uber Eats and several visits from Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy.

Harvest & Volunteer Numbers

May 2017 Harvest
Produce Weight (lbs) Servings (pints)
Strawberries 461 794
# Volunteers 76

Orchard News

Our farm contractors, Purple Mountain Organics, are working hard to control the Fire blight in the orchard. Again, Fire blight is a powerful bacteria that infects fruit orchards all over the eastern U.S.

  • The apple and Asian pear trees are still combating Fire blight. It has spread to some of the blackberry plants too, which is uncommon.
  • The strawberry plants are growing and producing a lot.
  • The raspberry plants are looking healthy and starting to form berries. They got trellised this year, so they are a lot easier to walk through in order to maintain and harvest.
  • We have our first ever vegetable farm plot dedicated to serving BFC clients. Purple Mountain Organics prepared it and starting planting it with okra, tomatoes, peppers and more. We are looking forward to maintaining it and harvesting a bounty of summer vegetables!

Work Highlights

In the last 2 months, our volunteers, staff and Purple Mountain Organics together have:

  • Encouraged the growth of the baby strawberry plants by weeding and deflowering them so they grow more foliage before fruiting.
  • Maintained established strawberry plants by removing bad berries, dead leaves, runners and weeds in order to keep them healthy and productive.
  • Trellised, pruned and tied the raspberry and blackberry plants, so they will be healthier and easier to harvest.
  • Removed Fire blighted blossoms from the blackberry plants.
  • Harvested about 460 pounds of strawberries.

WOW! Want to help support this important work? Sign up to volunteer at City Orchard this summer or make a donation to help support this invaluable project.

City Orchard is managed in partnership with the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences

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