Meet your Farmers, Part 1

As you know, we can't grow 5 acres of MOFGA Certified Organic veggies, herbs and flowers without the help of awesome people!  And we are in luck to have four awesome people working for us both full and part time to help get it all done!  I want to share with you my recent mini-interviews with each of them.  Read on and get to know who grows your food at Ripley Farm!

 

 

Interview with Sara

MM:  Sara worked full time in 2016 and is officially a farm-worker-veteran and the resident Lettuce Queen at Ripley Farm.  We are so happy to have her back part-time for another year as her harvest and washing skills are invaluable.  Welcome back to the farm!  How does it feel to be back?
Sara:  It feels good to be back working outside.  I also enjoy seeing everyone after the long winter.
MM: Yes, you’ve now had some distance from last season.  How has your view of farming and gardening changed since last year at this time?
Sara:  Haha!  I appreciate it a lot more.  I now realize how much more hard work goes into it on a large scale.
MM:  Yes, you were an important part of that hard work last season at Ripley Farm.  Speaking of hard work.  At your welcome interview last year, you said that weeding was your favorite thing to do in the garden.  Is this still true or what is your favorite thing to do in the garden now?
Sara:  No, not weeding.  Weeding is no longer enjoyable.  I would say that as far as strictly garden tasks go I like transplanting the best.  And then definitely harvesting.  It is so rewarding to see all of our hard work being paid off when we begin to bring in the harvests.
MM:  Good news!  Harvest starts the beginning of July!  What are you most looking forward to doing the second time around working at Ripley Farm?
Sara:  The fall harvest.  The fall is a really good time of the season on a vegetable farm.  Everyone is in high spirits, and it is fun.
MM:  One year later, have you changed your mind about a vegetable for the better since working here?
Sara:  I now see peppers as more fun than I used to.  For me they have not grown well.  But last year on the farm I enjoyed seeing them grow well and fruit well.  Plus I learned you could freeze them.  So, I was happy to have frozen peppers all winter.
MM:  Yay, working here can be fun AND educational! :)  Welcome back Sara.

 

Interview with Sam

MM:  Sam worked part-time last fall helping us bring in our carrot harvest.  He took to running the barrel root washer like a champ the first day.  We are thrilled to have him here again working part-time on the farm this year.  Welcome back, Sam!  Can you tell us about your interest in and connection to farming?
Sam:  Well, I just love being outside and doing new things.  That’s why taking a part-time job on a farm is great for me.  Since starting in May, I’ve already done many new things like running a chipper and transplanting seedlings.  I like that.
MM:  What is your favorite thing to do in the garden?
Sam:  Harvesting!  This time of year, the springtime, is so different from the fall.  I really like eating carrots while harvesting them and enjoying the payoff of hard work seeing the harvests come in.
MM:  We’ll be doing a lot of harvest here at Ripley Farm over the course of the season starting in July for the Summer CSA.  What are you most looking forward to doing while working at Ripley Farm?
Sam:  I’m looking forward to hanging out with my co-workers.  I have another full time job, and I like having a second job.  Plus I’m excited that my grandparents live just down the road.  Working here, I get to see them during lunch break, which is really nice.
MM:  I ask everyone this: What is your favorite vegetable?
Sam:  Carrots!  I haven’t always loved carrots, but after working here last fall I am a huge fan of Ripley carrots.  They are great raw as snacks and for the baby.  It is nice to have something for the baby that is all good for her.
MM:  That is the way that we hope everyone feels when they try our carrots. :)  First carrots will be here in July!  Welcome back, Sam.

 

Inteview with Sarah

MM:  Sarah is new this year and will be working full time at least through the end of the season in mid-November.  We're super excited to have her here and she's settling into driving the tractor, transplanting, doing seedlings and everything else that goes on day-to-day on our small farm.  Sarah, tell us about where you are from and your background in farming and gardening.
Sarah:  I live in Monson where I help out on my family’s land.  We’ve planted food plots for the deer, built raised beds, started seedlings and transplanted them out into my family’s big garden.  My mom and I like to can some of the food that we grow.  I also have helped a local farmer bring in his hay for the past four years.
MM:  We are excited that you have a background in farm work.  What is your favorite thing to do in the garden?
Sarah:  I personally like to harvest!  I especially like to harvest crops like potatoes and onions.  They start so small, but when you harvest them you can see how much growth they have put on.  I really like to see that!
MM:  We’ll be doing a lot of harvest here at Ripley Farm over the course of the season.  What are you most looking forward to doing while working at Ripley Farm?
Sarah:  Just the experience of working full-time on a farm.  I also am excited to form good relationships with the other farmers here.  It already feels like a family!
MM:  What is your favorite vegetable?
Sarah:  Sweet potatoes!  I could eat them every day.  Plus they are a healthy sweet starch.
MM:  I do love sweet potatoes, myself, too.  So, maybe we’ll have to try growing them here on our farm next season!  Last question: What are some of your hobbies or favorite things to do when you are not farming?
Sarah:  I have a lot of hobbies!  I like to go hunting and fishing.  I love hiking especially with my dogs.  My favorite place to hike is Borestone Mountain because of the 360 view that you get from the top.  I also like downhill snowboarding at Sugarloaf Mountain in the wintertime.
MM:  Working on a farm is just about as outdoorsy as you can get and you already seem right at home here!  Welcome Sarah.

 

Interview with Rachel

MM:  Rachel is new this year and is working part-time on the farm, mainly with harvest as well as other things like weeding and transplanting.  She comes to us with an interest in photography and hopes to one day start her own business doing it.  We are excited about this!  Tell us how you got into photography and what your experience and interest is in featuring nature.
R:  First, my grandmother took a lot of pictures everywhere we went.  That is where I first had exposure to photography.  Then I discovered Pinterest when I was twelve and got obsessed and wanted to do it.  Then I took classes in art, business, and photography to learn more.  I hope to start college classes in the fall.  As far as nature photography, I just love being outside so it is natural that I take photos of nature.
MM:  Tell me about where you are from and your background in farming and gardening?
R:  I grew up in Brownville, across the river from Brownville Junction.  We lived in what you might call the “suburbs” of Brownville, not in the woods, but still outside of town.  My mom has always gardened and I just grew up helping her with it.  Over the years we’ve had chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, and always a big garden.
MM:  What is your favorite thing to do in the garden?
R:  I like flower gardens the most!  I love to visit my mom’s nook garden that she has between two barns at home.  It is just beautiful!
MM:  You have experience with working in a restaurant.  Do you like to cook and what is your favorite vegetable?
R:  I am a huge salad person.  Anything that goes in a salad I love.  In fact I like almost all vegetables, with the only things that I don’t like being eggplant and mushrooms.
MM:  Ah, well don’t worry we probably won’t have an over abundance of eggplant this season, though I am excited that we will be trailing growing it in the PYO gardens for the CSA to taste.  Thank you for the interview, and welcome Rachel!

 

Well, there you have it!  Part one is all about the employees who make it all happen for our 135 member Summer CSA and 40+ member Winter CSA as well as tens of thousands of pounds of wholesaled fall/winter veggies.  Thank you to all four of them for the hard work they've already put in and for sticking with us throughout the long growing season!  We appreciate all that you do! 

Part two will be interviews with each of us farm owners (aka Gene and Mary Margaret).  Never been done before, so stay tuned! 

(And no, I won't make up my own interview questions.  Gene will interview me.  And I will interview him.  :)

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