Lettuce Harvest at the O-Farm
STRIPS, or Sophomore Trips, is a way of reliving First Year Trips (FYT)—Dartmouth's 5 day orientation program in the woods. Due to the D-plan and the pandemic, it's been over a year and a half since most of the sophomore class (23's) have been on campus. STRIPS are shorter than FYT, anywhere from 1-3 days, but I was still excited to meet new people, explore the outdoors, and feast on Cabot cheese.
At 8 am on a Sunday morning, I rolled out of bed to the Dartmouth Outing Club building, Robo, where I was greeted by students in "flair," which is assorted clothing such as cowboy boots, penguin onesies, and knee-high zebra socks. I met my trip leaders, one of whom is my fellow blogger Brandon Zhou, and stripees. After answering an intriguing introduction question ("What is your favorite bathroom on campus?), we conquered the three mile walk to the organic farm.
We were greeted by assistant Molly McBride, a Dartmouth '14, who gave us a tour of the organic farm. She explained that the farm was an idea proposed by Dartmouth students, who hoped to produce enough food for the dining halls. However, New Hampshire's long winters posed a challenge, and the farm evolved into a cultivated half acre of land for educational and research purposes. Molly gave us free range in the greenhouse (which was actually constructed by Dartmouth students), and we helped ourselves to carrots and basil.
We spent the remainder of the day in the field harvesting lettuce heads. We chopped the lettuce by the stem, washed them in the sink, removed damaged leaves, and drained excess water in a salad spinner-like contraption. I loved working with my hands and bonding with my stripees as we blasted Taylor Swift and perfected our bird calls. Molly even let us harvest scallions, lettuce, and kale to enjoy during lunch and bring back to campus. At the end of the day, Molly messaged us: "We harvested 120 pounds of lettuce!"
My STRIPS experience has reminded me of Dartmouth's unique sense of place. How many colleges have their own organic farm? From work days at the farm to Vermont farmers markets, there's so much to appreciate at the College on the Hill.