ALLEGANY — Canticle Farm staff will soon be able to clean vegetables grown on the South Nine Mile farm year-round thanks to the installation of a new water line and the relocation of the well’s pressure tank to the inside of the barn.
Earlier this week, Mark Printz, farm manager for Canticle, watched as a deep trench was dug below the frost line for the laying of a new line from the enclosed, 19-year-old water well on the property. The new line can now run water to the large barn year round where vegetables are washed before they are sold.
Printz said the pressure tank for the well will also be moved inside the barn, which will be insulated in the upcoming months. In the past, the pressure tank and water line had to be shut off during the winter months to keep them from freezing. Consequently, vegetables grown in the high tunnels on the property had to be taken to Canticle Farm’s market building on Old State Road, also referred to as the North Farm, for cleaning, as it has an indoor water system.
“This is one of the stages of our wash station improvement (project), what we’re doing is we’re moving the water inside so that we’re able to run water year-round,” Printz explained. “Now that we have a permanent building (with a year-round water source) we’ll have winter access to it.”
He said this is a proactive project for Canticle to stay ahead of expected upgrades in federal standards.
“The main reason we’re doing this is for food safety,” Printz continued. “We’re trying to get ahead of the game on food safety issues. We’re just making upgrades, we’re not behind on it now, or breaking any rules.
“We are upgrading for anticipated federal regulations that are going to come down the line” because of the emphasis on food safety, he added.
Printz said funding for the project was obtained from grants and private donations obtained through Canticle’s annual appeal, or capital expenditures campaign.
“We’ve been raising money through the capital expenditures campaign where we’ve asked for donations,” he continued. “This is where (the money) is going — it’s going to wash station upgrades.”
Sister Melissa Scholl, president of Canticle, noted the project was also funded through a $2,500 grant from the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
“We have it pretty much paid for,” Scholl said of the upgraded water system and wash station that will include heated water. “It is a needed upgrade and we’re doing well.”
The organization will also renovate an older greenhouse this fall or winter at the Old State Road property, previously owned by the Bockmier family. The restored greenhouse will provide more space for growing. Funds for the renovation and redevelopment of the greenhouse wil be provided through a F.T. and Anna C. Manley Memorial Trust grant for $10,000.
In addition to the renovated greenhouse, Canticle has one other greenhouse on the South Nine Mile property and four high tunnels. Canticle expects to build another high tunnel in the spring or summer using money from a community donation provided for the project.
“Season extension has become a big part of our mix and it’s getting more and more popular,” Printz said of the reason for adding another greenhouse and high tunnel. “Demand is high and supply is low for the winter. This also allows us to stay in touch with the customer … they’re buying from us year-round.”
Printz said the farm currently has between eight and 10 part-time and seasonal employees, in addition to himself and Scholl, who are full-time.
The all-natural farm, owned by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, has community shareholders, provides shares to several area charities and has educational programs for all ages.