Day 9: Chrząstowo Experiment Station

The table of treats the station staff provided for us when we arrived.

Aside from a morning in the classroom today was a fairly uneventful day. We drove from our dorm to pick up Dr. McGahan and Anna before driving about 40 km to the village of Chrząstowo where the Polish government has established an agricultural experiment station. Each of the 16 Polish voivodeships (or provinces) has one main agricultural station as well as several other substations. The mission of these stations is similar to a land grant university in the U.S. in that they are purposed to serve the nation’s farmers by doing research and extension work. When we arrived, two of the station workers greeted us and led us to a conference room where they had provided coffee and tea, juice, and snacks (left). They explained the purpose of the station and gave us each a book detailing the experimental trials completed for several different crops and varieties over the last few years which I found particularly interesting but was really unable to reference since the measurements were in metric units.

 

Taking a closer look at some of the experimental varieties at the station.

After a briefly discussing the research book and its tables, we journeyed into some of the experimental plots to look at a few crop varieties and talk about their differences. We discussed the benefits of including a legume in a crop rotation with other crops in order to lessen the need for nitrogen application and replace soil nitrogen naturally through rhizobial activity. Two of the main crops we viewed were peas and wheat (right).

 

Young chrysanthemum plants in the greenhouse.

Next we ventured into one of the greenhouses where chrysanthemums were being raised. Anna explained that chrysanthemums are popular for decorating graves in Poland and talked briefly about their photoperiods and why they need to be shaded for longer amounts of time than some other flowering plants.

Anna needed to return to Bydgoszcz to teach a lecture so found an Italian restaurant (yes, sorry Poland) to eat at. I ordered an interesting take on spaghetti which had a list of ingredients including grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and curry in a white sauce (right).

My curry spaghetti

The curry added a nice, spicy tang to the flavor and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. We have learned that in Polish culture it is actually considered better service for the waiter to leave you alone for extended periods of time and to not bring the check until prompted. This is definitely a new concept for Americans since we are so used to fast service for everything. We stayed at the restaurant for the better part of three hours just enjoying the sunshine and the breeze while listening to a street performer play the saxophone nearby.

We spent the next hour or so on a quest for a toy store in order to buy Leszek (our driver whom we have been calling Frederick all week) a present to thank him for driving us. He has two bobble-head dogs which sit on the dashboard of the two vans he drives so we are on a mission to find a third to gift to him. We are confident that we have found the right store to buy it in and plan to return to it tomorrow.

 

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