Today (Wednesday, September 25) was our first field trip…our journey to Dunbar Farms as part of the Rogue Valley Farm to School program. It was the second time I’ve taken my class to participate in a farm program (the first was last spring when we visited Eagle Mill Farm in Ashland) and it was just as remarkable the second time around.

We live in a verdant valley with a tremendous amount of agriculture. Pear orchards helped found Medford, and the tradition continues in the form of vineyards, orchards, large and small farms, and backyard gardens. Harvest time in this area is marked by a beautiful bounty of fruit and vegetables. Many of my students, however, have little or no direct contact with where our food comes from.

That is why I love taking them to the farm.


The Carpenter family has been farming along Hillcrest Road in Medford for more than a hundred years. Emily carries on the family tradition of providing delicious produce to the Rogue Valley and beyond. As a side note, that washing machine she is standing next to is used to wash the lettuce and leafy greens Dunbar sells to area restaurants and families. No detergent is used, of course!

IMG_7429Today, we divided the class into four groups – each overseen by a helpful parent chaperone – and rotated through stations which focused on seed saving, nutrition, food harvesting, and food preparation. The students actually picked and prepared our lunch today and it was delicious. They got to see, first hand, the steps that go into growing, harvesting, and cooking a farm-based meal.

The weather was typical of Southern Oregon in the autumn…a rotation of rain, sunshine, clouds, cold, warm, and blue skies. Through it all, the students and our adult helpers did a wonderful job of staying positive and connected. It was a wonderful chance to be outside, enjoy nature, and learn at the same time. Our visit to Dunbar Farms makes me even more excited about our upcoming field trip to Crater Lake National Park.


Thank you to Sarah, our coordinator, who was amazing in the way she guided us through the day with enthusiasm and big smiles.