“Anyone that thinks all fruits ripen at the same time knows nothing about strawberries.” - (quote unknown)

Corner Kitchen partners with a few local farms to provide our guests with as much local produce as possible.  

Learning Tree Farm is a non-profit outdoor education center that serves more than 10,000 visitors each year.   They provide farm educator-led programs for school groups such as Alter High School and The University of Dayton, these programs are a huge part of what LTF does since it was founded in 1973.  Anyone is welcome to visit the farm on their own any day of the week to hike the wooded trails, see the variety of farm animals, tour the garden, or even just have a picnic at the covered picnic shelter.   LTF has a big event coming up on September 24 called Autumn Fest, there is great food and activities for everyone, and admission is free.  You can learn more by visiting their website.  

As part of a two part blog series, we have taken some time out of our favorite farmer’s busy days to ask them a few questions about their work.  Keep on scrolling to learn more about our friends at Learning Tree Farm:

What crops to you most look forward to planting?

We plant a lot of beautiful lettuce varieties – speckled romaines, deep purple oakleaf. Much of our spinach overwinters, which is wonderful, and we supplement it in the spring with a few more plants. It's so great to see something green popping up in dreary late winter. It's always so nice to have fresh herbs, too, for omelets and summer salads. Our annual herbs this year did really well despite the heat and lack of rain.

Do you have a preference between summer/spring/autumn crops?

Spring makes us feel like we're amazing at growing things. It rains, it's not too hot, everything is lush and green. It's great. Plus, that first flush of crops ready to be eaten is such a wonderful thing after an Ohio winter. It feels a little like magic.

What does the growing popularity of Farm-to-Table restaurants mean to you?

It is exciting and gratifying to work with a chef like Jack to see the creative ways he uses the produce that we grow in making tasty dishes for the restaurant.  Farm-to-Table restaurants help show people how delicious a tomato picked earlier that morning can be, or how flavorful carrots from a few miles away taste. Fresh food is so delicious, and the Farm-to-Table movement is showing that to people, and we like to think that people are seeking out fresh, local produce outside of – and because of! - that restaurant experience.                                                                                         

What is one misconception of farming?

That all fruits and vegetables are available at the same time.  A lot of people don't realize that there are distinct seasons that plants grow well in – or that you can plant tomatoes every few weeks for a month or so to get a continual harvest! That's one of the really fun things about working at an outdoor education center – we get to tell people all about the possibilities of farming and home gardening.