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Rise Up Farms wraps up its season with Harvest Fest

Rise Up Farms is celebrating another successful growing season with a Harvest Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 5 to 10 p.m. 

Rise Up Farms is a cooperative farm located just east of Elkhart. Alex Smith, the farmer and coordinator there, said he expects anywhere from 100 and 250 people to come out for live music, kids’ activities and, of course, a tasty meal made with ingredients straight from the farm. 

“We want it to be a fun, family-friendly thing that can bring people of different ages together,” Smith said. “Everybody who interacts with the farm or is interested in the farm or just wants to hang out with people can have a good time.”

Rise Up will be serving chili and cornbread for dinner along with fresh salad, desserts and mulled cider. Elkhart’s New Paradigm Brewing Company will provide something a little stronger for the adults. 

“Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) season is actually done now, but we’ve been setting aside tomatoes and peppers and things like that that are going into the chili,” Smith said. “Throughout the course of the year we’ve been making frozen foods, prepared stuff people could buy – stuff like pesto, squash pies and eggplant parmesan.”

Smith said there will be an entire area dedicated to kids’ activities, including crafts, face-painting and yoga. For the adults, there will be live acts from a number of local folk and rock acts, including Lookout Mountain, Theory Expats, Re/Issued and the Marty Miles Band

Rise Up Harvest Fest
Sat., Nov. 8, 2014, 5-10 p.m.
Where: Rise Up Farms, 22600 State Road 120, Elkhart
Cost: Admission is free for children and $3 for adults. Dinner is $3 for kids and $5 for adults.

Smith, who just completed his first summer as farmer at Rise Up, said he thought the growing season went well despite weather that was colder and wetter than usual.

“The season was better for some things than others, certainly,” Smith said. “It was a little on the chilly side, a little on the wet side, but the advantage of being a very diversified farm like we are – where we’re planting 100 different varieties – is that some will work out and others might not work out, under just about any condition. So, we’re always going to have some stuff that works.”

Smith noted that leafy greens and some other vegetables seemed to flourish in the damp weather.

“Our root crop, our potatoes, seemed to like the weather quite a bit. Onions seemed to really like it. Really, all the greens and lettuces did well,” Smith said. “Tomatoes and peppers maybe didn’t do quite as well as they could have. Eggplant seemed to love it, though.”

Smith said Rise Up’s CSA program, which allows members of the community to purchase a share of the harvest and receive a box of fresh produce each week during the growing season, gained 10 new subscribers this past year, and he hopes to see more in the future. In the meantime, however, he and the rest of the farm staff are beginning winter jobs (Smith, for example, will be teaching biology at Ivy Tech) and laying plans for next spring. 

“There’s always a lot of planning that goes on over the winter, like ordering seeds, looking over what happened this year and planning what directions we want to go in,” Smith explained. “It’s moving on to other jobs in the winter, and we’re looking forward to getting back to the farm in the summer.”

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