Big Hill Farm is seeking two new interns for the 2014 season!

BHF 2014 Application <click for download

Hey Gustavus! The Big Hill Farm is looking for two fantastic interns to add to our 2014 Summer team. If you are a current first-year, sophomore, or junior at GAC, and want to get your hands dirty this Summer at the Big Hill Farm, please submit your application by Friday, March 21, 2014. You do NOT have to be an Environmental Studies or Biology student or have any gardening experience to apply. We have a great history of non-science majors being essential parts of the Big Hill intern team. All are welcome!

For those of you who may not already know, the Big Hill Farm hires students to fulfill the paid internship responsibilities throughout the spring, summer, and fall to provide local organic produce for the Gustavus Marketplace.

Cucumbers, Raspberries, and Swiss Chard, oh my!

The farm has been in full form as we approach the end if July! Raspberries have been ripening to perfection with another harvest to come, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, and beats all follow in suit, ready for harvest. We are so proud of our first few harvest for the caf! It’s a farmer’s dream come true to see their work reach its destination! You can expect high quality organic produce in select locations in the cafeteria tomorrow!

Below, Senior Sam Warburton has a handful of raspberries ready for harvest!


Farmer Introduction: Shelby Gamache!

My name is Shelby lynn Gamache and I am one of the four interns working on Big Hill Farm for the summer of 2013. Next fall, I will be a senior here at Gustavus Adolphus College where I will be finishing up my degree in biology. I love plants more than just about anything and the focus of my major has definitely been on plants and their interactions with the organisms and environment around them. My passion for plants definitely came about from gardening with my mother throughout my childhood and spending almost all of my free time outside growing up in both the twin cities area of Minnesota with my mom and western Wisconsin with my dad. I love growing food and am so honored to be an intern at Big Hill Farm where I can spend the summer happily among my plants!

Prune in June, Harvest in August!

Oh, they grow up so fast… The farmers have been pruning, weeding, watering, and waiting for this very moment; signs of first life! This time of year is what some might call the “slow season” but trust us, we have been nothing but busy keeping up with plant preparation in order to maximize quality production. Thus far we’ve seen the likes of peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and lettuce, all nearly ready for their first gathering.  With a fresh crop of lettuce making its debut as the first product to reach Gustavus’ cafeteria, this marks the beginning of Big Hill Farm’s 2013 harvest season.

Below, intern Justin Bruener ’16 harvest the crop of a variety of lettuce:





Up next, we anticipate the flowering of a few more hot peppers before they are ready to be gathered. Thus far we’ve seen around ten pepper plants blooming, with a few peppers over the size of a hand! Growing tomatoes surprise us every day with their rapid production, ranging from the smallest cherry tomatoes just the size of a pea, to the substantial and hearty baseball sized heirloom tomatoes. It’s hard to watch them grow so fast, but every farmer must face separation one day…

With the combination of heavy storms and blazing hot afternoons, we’ve had to be on close watch when it comes to the welfare of our growing crops. Heavy rain and winds can be a farmer’s worst nightmare, but our little soldiers have valiantly made it through each storm with little damage. Save for the loss of a few flooded zucchini mounds to the heavy flooding, the plants have proven resilient in the midst of extreme weather.

As of late, we have been experimenting with different styles of mitigating the battle between man and weeds. Thus far, we have tried three ways of preventing weeds; spreading wood chips to cover the mounds for the “three sisters” crop, utilizing hay as a base in the cool winter crops and half of the tomatoes, and we have just begun to experiment with landscaping fabric in the eggplants, brussels sprouts, and tomatoes. Weeding is not exactly the most fun activity on the farm, but with the help of farming tips and experience in past years, it can easily be aided with the help of well planned preparation.

Although weeding and watering are our main priorities, we’ve focused on utilizing all of our space and seed efficiently. Today, we are very proud to announce the final collection of crops that have been planted on the farm:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Eggplants
  • Sweet Peas & Snap Peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatillos
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Beats
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Red & Purple Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Minnesota Midget Melons
  • Cold Weather Watermelons
  • Miniature Pumpkins


With the help of amazing Volunteers, Big Hill Farm has been more active than ever!



“Till” the Break of Dawn!

Planting has been hugely successful within the past two weeks! Thus far we’ve planted roughly 265 tomato plants, 100 cucumbers, 180 peppers, 350 onions, a row of carrots, a row of spinach, two rows of kale, and three of lettuce. We’ve also gotten around 75 eggplants in the ground, as well as a row lining the fence with peas!

We’re trying a new technique to keep weeds away by laying hay around the planting sites, in between rows, and around mounds of vegetables. We’ve also set up a chicken wire fence to keep the bunnies at bay.

Even with our hectic senior and graduation schedules, we were still very grateful for all of the help and time dedicated by the farming class, seniors, and multiple volunteers that made our first few weeks an undeniable success.

Pictured below is Volunteer of the Week, Matthew Deufert, and beside him, intern Shelby Gamache. Matt rallied the troops on many occasions to come lend a hand out on the farm, for which we all say thank you. We appreciate your great attitude and cheerfulness! Congrats to Matt for Volunteer of the Week!


Peppers, Onions, and Eggplants!


2013 Summer intern and rising senior, Shelby Gamache plants onions among the tomatoes. Onions are great for pest control and do well to help other plants ward off unwanted attention from bugs and small animals.


Graduate of 2013 and former intern, Sophia Ogren-Den prepares the ground for eggplants! This year we will plant 64 eggplants in total.


With the help of volunteers, we’ve gotten about 180 pepper plants in the ground!

Ground Breaking News

The tomatoes are in!


That’s right, we said it, they have hit the ground and are loving their first few days out in the fresh air. We have officially counted 264 tomato plants, as well as 32 tomatillo plants in the ground and flourishing. With the aid of the gardening class, as well as many volunteers, we were able to get the first of our crops into the soil!

Below you can see the great fun we have been having out in the sun with all of the interns, volunteers, gardeners, and coordinators:


We have been hardening the pepper plants and expect to see progress soon!

Below we have Returning volunteer, Rush Benson, Intern for the summer of 2013, Justin Bruener, and returning volunteer and Big Hill Farm Coordinator, Alex Christiansen:


New Member Introduction; Jessica Buckley

Greetings from the Big Hill!

My name is Jessica Buckley and I am honored to be a part of the family here at Gustavus’ very own Big Hill Farm. This year I was chosen to work along side Shelby Gamache , Sam Warburton, and Justin Bruener, as an intern over the summer of 2013. While I don’t have an extensive background in farming and gardening, I’m a quick learner and love the outdoors. I grew up in south-central Alaska, where I fell in love with nature and the great adventures that life has to offer outdoors. I am a rising junior here at Gustavus Adolphus College,  and I am working towards earning my degree in Elementary Education, with an Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies Minor, as well as an Studio Art Minor.


I first found out about Big Hill Farm when a friend mentioned that most of the vegetables and produce we eat in the cafeteria comes directly from our very own student run garden. Lucky for me, I stumbled across an advertisement for a position as a intern, and soon enough my hope became a reality! I am so happy to be working with such a quirky group of individuals who know so much about agriculture and plant life. I am eager to learn more about the ways of the plants, and am grateful to be involved with such a knowledgeable staff. Thus far we’ve done nothing but laugh and dance through our time at the farm, leaving me more and more excited for our next meeting. I look forward to seeing everyone’s bright and happy faces each day, and playing until the sun goes down.