Welcome Sara Moody!
Super-farmer-mama? It may appear from a couple of photos I posted to Facebook recently that I’m getting out in the fields and working all the time with a tiny baby strapped to my chest.
Ha-ha! Those pictures (above) were just about the only times that I have been out there helping out. The reality is that I’m spending the season this year not farming. Instead, I’m taking care of our two-month-old little one. It is a huge change for me in my life to not be farming after ten straight years out in the fields from dawn ‘til dusk May through November. And I’m looking forward to the different challenges and joys that motherhood will bring!
This year we have made changes to the farm to make farming still work for our new family. After seven years as a vendor, Gene is not taking our organic veggies to the Orono Farmers’ Market on Saturdays in 2016. Instead, he’ll now be home on the weekends to spend time with our daughter (and me).
And with me not working out in the fields, we’ve hired extra hands to help get all of the planting, weeding, and harvesting done for our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members and our wholesale accounts on our five-acre organic vegetable farm.
We are excited to welcome Sara Moody to the farm crew in 2016. Last week was her first week working here, and we’re already impressed with her great attitude, fun and friendly personality, and hardworking, steady, work ethic. Sara joins Carmen Allen in helping us make Ripley Farm run smoothly with our brand new family. Thank you, Carmen and Sara!
I got a chance to sit down with Sara last week for an interview. Read our conversation below to get to know the newest member of our farm team! Without our awesome employees we would not be able to do all that we do here at Ripley Farm!
MM: Tell me about where you’re from and about your background in farming.
Sara: I grew up in a small town on a dead end road surrounded by my family. On both sides we have a history of farming and gardening. I grew up with a garden, and we raised horses for most of my childhood. We mostly had rescue horses, and I remember my first horse was a dirty pony rescue named Coco. When I was young we did show riding. In fact, that is what we did with most of our free time.
MM: How does it feel to be back in the area after living a little ways away for a number of years?
Sara: It feels really good. I love the familiarity of being back home and seeing familiar faces. When I go somewhere and see someone I know I really feel a sense of community. I like that.
MM: You’ve had a garden since you were young and are continuing the family tradition with your family. What is your favorite thing to do in the garden?
Sara: I actually enjoy weeding the most. I love to see the garden clean and neat. I love when the plants are happy and not crowded. After I weed the garden, I look to see where there is extra space and fill it in with herbs and other little things that sometimes get overlooked. A lot of the time I just walk through the garden to see the progression of the growth of the plants. I take my kids out into the garden and they learn what’s where. My daughter is excited for the time when our blueberries will be in her cereal!
MM: What are you looking forward to the most about working at Ripley Farm?
Sara: I am looking forward to making a new connection and learning more about how to deal with issues that I have in my own garden.
MM: That segues into the next question: What are you hoping to learn this season on the farm?
Sara: I struggle with my garden layout. For example, I want to learn better where to plant things, how close they should be, what order to plant them in, and timing of planting.
MM: What is your favorite vegetable and why?
Sara: Tomatoes! I love tomatoes because they are so versatile. There are so many things that you can do with them whether fresh or canned. And, the plants produce a lot of fruits!
MM: Share with us a favorite veggie recipe that you make in your home.
1/2 cup couscous
4 large tomatoes (roasted and peeled)
1 onion, minced
3 fresh garlic cloves (chopped)
4-5 fresh basil leaves (or more of you prefer)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
heavy cream (or whole milk)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
While tomatoes are roasting saute onion and garlic in butter and olive oil. After your tomatoes are roasted and peeled roughly chop or pulse in blender a few times. Add tomatoes and stock to cooked garlic and onions. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring. Add couscous and simmer until cooked. Add chopped fresh basil, heavy cream, salt and pepper all to taste. Check seasonings and serve warm.
MM: Mmmmm! Thank you, Sara! We are looking forward to when tomatoes and basil are in fresh from the gardens. This recipe will be perfect for August! I will put this on our Vegetable Gallery Tomato Recipe page for others to find then.