Local and In Season

University Farm—like the rest of Case Western Reserve University—has sustainability and responsible environmental practices as its highest priority. Our partnership with the Bon Appétit Management Company allows us to align our sustainability goals for our food production with those of the campus' food service provider, a company with a proven track record of sustainable practices.

basil

This synergy allows for our students, faculty and staff to be served fresh, locally—grown food from their very own farm, located a mere ten miles east of main campus. Supporting local production also helps to reduce packaging, shipping costs, and the time that the produce sits after being harvested—meaning it is fresher, it lasts longer, and it tastes better.

Local Sourcing

The Farm Food Program also practices sustainability by locally sourcing as many of its products as it can. In an effort to encourage and support the development of local business, we source from local vendors for many of our raw material needs, from seeds to building structures. Our hoop houses are designed by Tunnel Vision Hoops in Cleveland and some of the plastics for our growing containers (like pots and seed trays) come from Middlefield and Akron, from companies like Dillen and Akro-Mils. Other local suppliers include Chagrin Valley Nurseries in Gates Mills, and Waldo and Associates in Perrysburg. Ivy Garth Seeds and Plants Inc. in Chesterland has donated thousands of dollars in seeds over the years, and their support is continued, generously providing nearly another $1000 toward our seed orders since 2011.

In Season

Like traditional, weather-dependent farming, our biggest production occurs in the summer and early fall months when sun is abundant, temperatures are high and rain is falling. Each plant has specific optimal growing conditions related to temperature, soil composition, hydration, and sunlight. Each plant also has a specific ideal growing term to ripeness. For this reason, certain crops are only available at certain times of year, and they have peak production when ideal conditions align.tomatoes

These days, with global production, a global market, and shipping and preservation capabilities, customers have come to expect these crops year-round and it is a challenging shift to eat in season. At the Farm, we are trying to make it possible to eat local produce throughout the year. Warm weather crops are still dependent on warm weather. They cannot be planted until May and typically are done producing after the first frost. However, with the greenhouse and high tunnels, it is possible to extend the growing season for a few crops like broccoli, green beans, carrots, and dark leafy greens. These can be grown with reduced production levels through the winter.

What We Grow

Each year the Farm Food Program has continued to grow and change based on previous years' experiences. Consequently, each year the crops change as well. Below is a list of the 2018 crops.

2018
Herbs
  • Basil
  • Chivesonions
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
Vegetables
  • Assorted Edible Flowers
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Oyster Mushrooms
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • Green Onions
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onion (storage)
  • Pak Choi
  • Peppers (sweet bell and hot)
  • Radish
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash: Zucchini + yellow squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomatoes (cherry and field)
  • Turnips
  • Turnip Greens
Wild edibles
  • Ramps
  • Sumac
  • Garlic chives
  • Garlic mustard
  • Wild mushrooms