A Day in the Life
When people come up to us at the farmers market or when I tell someone I’m a “farmer,” they often ask, “What does that mean? Like, what do you do?” I understand this question. It’s the same thing I’m wondering when someone tells me they have a tech or finance job. Because my answer is usually “we do all of the farm work,” I thought I might take the time to shed some light on what we (the general farm crew) actually do here.
The thing is, it changes a lot. In the early springtime, we are doing a ton of seeding: shoving a bunch of soil mix into our seeding trays (like a sheet pan for cupcakes), poking holes in each cupcake mold, and putting a seed or two into each hole. Then we throw soil over the sheet and label it, put it in one of our greenhouses, and water deeply. This is a fast process – we’re doing hundreds of trays a day. It’s often soundtracked with 00’s hits and funny podcasts.
Mid to late spring, we’re still seeding, and we’re also doing a lot of planting. Every Thursday, three crew members get on the back of a tractor (there’s an implement on the tractor with surprisingly comfy swivel seats on it) and speed-plant into an awaiting bed. This activity is between a video game and a pop quiz in terms of fun and stress. Late spring is when harvest begins to pick up, too! Early morning finds us cutting greens, which means kneel-crawling across the dirt and slicing arugula, salad, and spinach near the plants’ base. Harvest is my personal favorite activity, since you can meditate on the repetition, play word games in the field, and/or snack on vegetables the whole time.
By summertime, picking fruits, beans, and cucurbits all but takes over our lives. Once everything is picked, it usually has to be washed. For this we have our packshed: a large barn with four converted bathtubs, two converted washing machines, and a massive wooden contraption called a “barrel washer.” These former appliances are where every veggie is rinsed of dirt, bugs, and other organic lint. They are then packed and crated and put in (your!) CSA boxes. We then take a truck named Moose out to deliver it all.
Although the frost is out, it is (shockingly) still fall. We’re still picking greens, sunchokes, leeks, and parsley, but a lot of our veggies are coming from backstock. We spend time rubbing dirt off of squash, cleaning up fennel fronds, and transforming dirty potatoes into clean potatoes. We’ve tacked down the greenhouses, filled some bags with sand for weights, picked up around the farm. It’s kind of like the farmer’s version of spring cleaning, except six months early. Now is when we can ride out the bounty of the summer and clock out as the sun is setting.
Anyways – this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the things we do (or even really a “day in the life”), but I hope you were able to get some sense of work on the farm. And, if it sounds like fun, we are hiring for next year. 🙂