The roar of cicadas in the woods surrounding Daniel Greenfield’s farm is nearly deafening as he hobbles alongside his blueberry field. With thousands of blueberry bushes and strawberry plants on 20 acres of farmland, he’s seen a lot of activity from the insect infestation.
“I’m experiencing a great deal of damage,” he says, stopping to examine a few branches wilted and cracked from female cicadas inserting their eggs into their stems.
It’s still too soon to tell the impact on next year’s crops, but many of the leaves of the surrounding trees have begun turning brown from their arrival. “I get up and see what fire I have to put out first,” he says. “A farmer’s torment is never over.”
The chaos is just part of the job. As a former adjunct faculty member at Kent State University and fourth-grade teacher, Daniel has always been fascinated by nature. Inspired by transcendentalists and naturalists such as Henry David Thoreau, Daniel and his wife, Michele, signed a 60-year lease for the farm in 2006 as part of an experiment and educational opportunity.
“I knew this would be a forum for a farm-based environmental education,” he says. “A lot of city kids who can make it here get the exposure they need.”
That educational approach has bled into his CSA program in which recipes are supplied each week so members can learn how to utilize garlic scapes and other vegetables grown on the farm. The blueberry fields have turned into a pick-your-own adventure for visitors.
“Curiosity has led me to education and a love of nature,” Daniel says. “I’m just trying to instill that in others.” 2485 Major Road, Boston Township, 330-657-2924, greenfieldberryfarm.com