|From left, Laura Irish, a senior in horticulture, and Lindsay Meylor, a sophomore in horticulture, harvest green beans.|
By Molly Foley
ISU faculty, staff and students for the first time can order fruits and vegetables grown on the Horticulture Research Station near Gilbert.
A website will be available year-round for the ISU community to order the produce.
The website was created this spring by the Horticulture 465 class, Horticulture Enterprise Management: Marketing, as a project in the study of management and operation of fruit and vegetable enterprises for local markets.
“We have produce ready to sell now,” said Megan Cannon, a 2014 graduate in dietetics and nutritional sciences and a summer intern at the Hort Station who has been helping to develop the website.
Cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi and beets are available for purchase, she said. Toward the end of July, there will be cherry tomatoes, legend tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, raspberries and blackberries ready for sale. Specialty melons will be available in mid-August.
Different seasons will mean different produce. The widest variety will be readily available during the spring and summer, but apples and root vegetables like sweet potatoes will last longer into the fall and winter months.
Students in Horticulture 465, staff at the horticulture station and the student organic farm are growing the produce for the project.
So how does the system work?
Visit the website, www.foodlo.cals.iastate.edu, to check out what produce is available from the farm. Log in using your ISU net ID and password. Orders must be paid for at the time of pick up with check or cash. Pick up your produce in ISU parking lot 43 (between Bessey and Horticulture halls) Fridays, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The first produce drop off/pick up will be Friday, July 18.
The class developed a proposal and a plan for the website. Students proposed the plan to the Leopold Center which agreed to pay for the website design and for half of the salary and benefits for an intern to do data entry and manage the website. The horticulture department agreed to fund the other half of the student intern costs. The Horticulture Research Center acts as a supporting entity for the class and the website.
The Horticulture Research Station sells produce wholesale, especially apples, to ISU Dining.
The Hort Station conducts 85 to 100 projects with 20 to 25 researchers on a yearly basis, according to Nick Howell, the superintendent of the station. These projects include fruit and vegetable production as well as ornamental and turf grass projects. There also are several ecology projects involving tree swallows, bees, wasps, painted turtles and fish.
If you’d like to visit the Hort Station, you’ve got a few chances this summer. There will be a home demonstration garden field day July 23, a turf grass field day July 24 and the Iowa fruit and vegetable field day Aug. 11.