In the winter of 2006 after deciding that farming was what I wanted to do, I applied for a farm job here at Stearns with then farm manager Kathy Huckins. I interviewed in her greenhouse and she brought me here to Stearns to look at the snow covered fields to see if it seemed like a place I would want to work. I did.
In my previous life I had interned on a farm in Wisconsin which was really unorganized and unmanageable. We had no greenhouse, row covers, root cellar, or barn. We started work at 9am and planted waaaay too many acres for us to manage. Everything was seeded with tractors and we rarely got it together to thin things out enough to grow to size. I had decided that while I would love to grow my own food, farming was just too crazy to do for work or a business. After a couple years working in grey cubicles I succeeded in my dream of becoming a park ranger only to realize after season one that that was not the job for me.
In 2007 and 2008 I worked here at Stearns with Kathy, Brian, and Chris and what I saw was a very organized farm with great systems. It was manageable! And so I began my journey as a farmer with clipboards, planting dates, and permanent beds. I learned so much those first two years, then spent two years at two farms in California, then it was time to come home again. I came back to start my own farm and came to visit my good friend Kathy here at Stearns. I met Trish that morning (well I had met her years before one day and thought her name was Tammy because of the tammy tart cookie recipe she gave me) and was conversing with her about getting to know land before jumping into a business. The idea came up to work somewhere another year and get to know this land I was hoping to farm so I asked, are you girls hiring? And thus goes my next two year here at Stearns Farm. I now have five more good friends to add to my farming list, Trish, Mya, Rachael, David, and Winston. This place will always feel like home to me, and was the birth of myself as a farmer. And now I say farewell Stearns Farm as I start my farm in Brookfield Mass.
P.S. My hubby Luke will be back sometime in June or July with Maple Syrup from our farm, Harms Family Farm.
It has been a pleasure to learn and grow with and for you all. Happy Harvests!
Today is one of those warm sunny October days here at the farm, and the place could not look or feel more beautiful. This is a very hard place to leave, but I do it a larger person than I was when I arrived here several years ago. I’ve been one of those lucky people who have been influenced by persons yet larger than myself. Mya, Rachael, Sonya, and Kathy Huckins are among the many people on this list.
I head North and further along the evolution of my life with a lighter heart because of so many of you. I’ll take what I’ve learned here and carry it forward into my next adventure. I wish health, happiness and peace for all of you!!
Stearns Sharers and Friends: Over the last two seasons, I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you from weekly pickup days. I’ve spent hours upon hours with some of you working in the fields. Sometimes we chatted about how the crops were doing or shared recipes. Other times we had very candid conversations about life, careers, politics, and the complexities of developing a local, sustainable food system. I have enjoyed sharing these moments with you, whether we were laboring in silence or had our mouths working as much as our hands. I also appreciate your words of thanks to the staff and your many helpful gestures.
Developing community around farming and food is an extremely worth-while endeavor, and I know that this will continue at Stearns. Although I am searching for more permanent employment, I do plan on staying in the area and look forward to remaining a friend of the farm. Thank you for supporting local, organic farming.
It has been a dream of mine to someday work at THE Stearns Farm. In the organic farming community this farm has always been an example of sustainable agriculture, perfected systems, wonderfully nutritious food, and a beautiful space. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to experience this all!
I have learned so much from this land, community, and most of all, fellow female farmers. I have found such strength in Trish, Sonya and Mya. I feel lucky to have had this time to share ideas, skills, and lives with these amazing women!
I look forward to seeing those of you that will be enjoying the winter share, as I will be continuing at Stearns until the first of the year.
Thanks for welcoming me and Ginger into this wonderful community!
Rachael and Ginger