We had a wonderful tour of Sola Gratia Farm the other day with the Farm Manager, Hunter DiFonso. We took so many pictures that we had to share them with you. This is the fifth season for Sola Gratia Farm, located off of Philo Road, only a 8 minute drive from the Co-op. With a beautiful work shed, a nice greenhouse, a large pollinator garden, and 4 acres for vegetables, they have a lot growing.
Each year, Sola Gratia promises to provide at least 10% of their harvest to Eastern Illinois Food bank. It was incredible that last year they donated almost 39% of their harvest! They help to feed our community and for that we are very grateful. Did you know that each week during this summer season, they provide Community Supported Agriculture shares to 155 households? That's a lot for a small farm! Way to go, Sola Gratia Farm. You're terrific!
We hope you enjoy the virtual tour of Sola Gratia Farm!
Here is the greenhouse you can see from Philo Road. Right now they are growing most of their cherry tomatoes indoors and they are delightfully sweet. Outside of the greenhouse are fall seedlings that will be planted very soon! The seedlings include a lot of cauliflower, broccoli, and lettuce!
Here is the work shed that is incredibly useful and inside they have a washing station and massive refrigerator to keep all of the harvest veggies fresh.
Here are some of the sweet cherry tomatoes that Hunter harvested before we came! Look at the beautiful purple ones!
Hunter DiFonso checking the moisture and condition of the seedlings. There was a serious heat wave that week that changed the percentage of seed germination.
Rows and rows of larger red tomatoes. As we walked through the rows, Hunter would prop up any fallen tomato vines with red string that ran along the rows. The better supported the tomato plants are the more they will produce and grow stronger.
Beautiful rows of red cabbage. If you look closely, you can see the green cabbage rows off to the right.
Here is the large pollinator garden they built for the farm. In the center or the garden are hive boxes that beekeeper, Maggie Wachter, cares for. You could hear the garden humming with many pollinators present!
Here was one of many bumble bees that were loving the Bergamot flower. The bumble bee will wrestle through each petal of the flower and the pollen will collect on its tiny hairs. When the bee hops over to a different flower, the pollen will be transferred and most likely will create a successful pollination!