All of us at OSA were delighted to welcome nearly 100 supporters to our Community Field Day and Variety Tasting at our Chimacum, WA, research farm on October 1, 2018, an opportunity to share how organic research enriches a resilient food system. Guests enjoyed seed activities, saw new varieties growing in our 2-acre research farm, and learned how farmers participate in our research. Engaged tour attendees peppered the OSA researchers with questions as they were introduced to carrot breeding and pollination cages, the challenges of adapting peppers and sweet corn to the Olympic Peninsula, and OSA’s other variety improvement projects that benefit farmers locally, regionally, and nationally.
The fruits of those projects were laid out for guests as OSA invited all to the variety tasting table at Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Guests explored and commented on the flavors of new and improved peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower and more, prepared as crudité or cooked as a gourmet dish by Chef Arran Stark. A special tasting opportunity this year were several varieties of landrace wheat grown by Finnriver’s Keith Kisler, presented as raw grains, cooked wheat berries, and in a salad with roasted tomatoes and fennel.
The community event followed an on-farm program for farmers engaged in plant breeding and seed production. Dr. Bill Tracy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison updated the farmers, researchers, and seed businesses on the latest in sweet corn breeding, and OSA researchers invited them to rate vegetables in development and explore the research field guided by detailed crop maps and evaluation data.
We are grateful for the participation of so many supporters, despite the wet weather, and look forward to sharing our work with the public and farm partners again next year.
Special thanks to Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chef Arran Stark, OSA board member Amy Grondin, our hardworking volunteers, and Pan D’Amore Bakery and Sunrise Coffee for helping us deliver a fabulous tasting. Thanks also to the Sustainable Path Foundation for supporting this event.