A Howdy Harvest

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Horticulture has been a popular field of interest at Texas A&M University since the beginning of the university itself. The students in the department are passionate about their work, and in 2009, several took it upon themselves to establish an on-campus garden.

The horticulture students gained inspiration for the farm as a way to apply lectures while obtaining hands-on gardening experience. The project was dubbed the “Howdy Farm.”

By Macy Moore

Horticulture has been a popular field of interest at Texas A&M University since the beginning of the university itself. The students in the department are passionate about their work, and in 2009, several took it upon themselves to establish an on-campus garden.

The horticulture students gained inspiration for the farm as a way to apply lectures while obtaining hands-on gardening experience. The project was dubbed the “Howdy Farm.”

The student project flourished and the department took notice, which led to the 2012 recruitment of Corey Wahl as the manager of Howdy Farm. As it is mostly student-led, Wahl oversees the students and interns who run the farm when he isn’t tending to the plants himself.

The garden currently inhabits space in West campus previously nurtured by a Texas A&M professor. When the garden project began managing the space, it had two years of overgrowth since the professor’s retirement, but immense potential. Wahl and his volunteers worked hard to restore and clean the site to what it is today.

Mainly focusing on vegetables, the farm has just about any item grown in Texas. In the warmer seasons, the Howdy Farm grows tomatoes and cucumbers, and during the cooler weather they specialize in carrots, lettuce, broccoli, and other greens. Most recently, the garden has expanded with ornamental plants and flowers to accompany the array of delicious vegetables. Not only an attracting feature, the plants lure beneficial insects to the garden. The organization aims to expand the property to continuing growing more plants and vegetables, says Wahl.

Howdy Farm has introduced the Northgate Farmers Market, which made its debut in October. The Howdy Farm sought to find a solution to common time constraints with traditional farmers markets and scheduled the Northgate Market for Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the parking lot of A&M United Methodist Church off University Drive.

There are big plans for the Northgate Farmers Market to include vendors selling handmade, homegrown items such as soaps, jellies, salsas, and more. Musical guests are currently being sought to perform as customers shop the market.

In addition to selling the harvest bounty at Northgate Farmers Market, Howdy Farm hosts shop hours Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Though Wahl intended on directing his career toward zoo horticulture, he says growing healthy, organic food is even better.

“I love the Howdy Farm because it allows me to be independent in a slow-paced environment, but with a clear vision in mind,” says Wahl. “I feel blessed that I get to be outside in the garden every day, and I love seeing the excitement on student’s faces as they learn.”

For anyone interested in participating in the Northgate Farmers Market, whether as vendor or musician, email Corey Wahl at corey.wahl@tamu.edu.