The beginning of July marks the time of the year when farming feels like a real scramble. Harvests are bigger, along with the volume of weeds. And there are still plants to plant, tractor work to do, and volunteers and sharers to welcome, instruct, and work with. We wash the veggies, monitor CSA distributions, make sure our food donations are delivered, tend to the greenhouse seedlings, and on and on.
My little staff and I are able to focus on all of this farm work and still work reasonable hours only because we have a HUGE crew of folks who volunteer their time and/or work in exchange for veggies. Read on to find out who they are and what they do:
- Sal, a long time volunteer, mows our field edges and helps us harvest at least once a week. He does an impeccable job of mowing (he is the real reason the farm looks so beautiful), works as hard as my paid crew does when he is weeding or harvesting, and is one of the kindest and gentlest souls I’ve ever met.
- Frann, a long-time work-for-sharer, corresponds with all of you constantly (when I’m not), makes sure the bills are getting paid, and does our bookkeeping and admin work. Beyond this, she often spends time weeding and cleaning up our perennial gardens.
- Sara, another long-time Stearns Farm work-for-sharer, is our volunteer coordinator and herb garden manager, and she brings us Gatorade and treats for morale. Sara is also paid to manage our Children’s Garden programming in the spring and fall!
- Frann and Sara are also essentially our onsite farm-historians. They have so much institutional knowledge and wisdom and are always willing to share it.
- Chris is a volunteer extraordinaire. He has given our office shed a huge makeover, put up our blueberry netting, and patched up our truck so far this season. He also makes amazing pie that he very generously shares with the farm crew
- Mark is our kind and patient resident tractor repair guy, always a phone call or a text away. I can’t imagine managing our finicky little fleet of tractors without him.
- Christine is our greenhouse watering angel–she waters so that Ember and I can take Sundays off and also comes in once harvests start in June to water the greenhouse at midday so that we don’t have to spend one or two hours doing it ourselves!
- Rick, another volunteer, does repairs and builds amazing things like sandwich boards, money collection boxes, heat mats, tables, greenhouse doors (and on and on.)
- Elana, another work-for-sharer, does a fantastic job of putting our newsletter together and edits my writing to make me sound smart!
- Paulette, my former flower farm biz partner, manages our flower garden in exchange for a share!
- Sam, Pam, Isabelle, Sara, Elena, and Rachel make up our crew of harvest helpers. They come in on Tuesday or Thursday mornings and help get the harvest in, and they also assist with weeding and planting. We wouldn’t be able to get harvest in without them.
- Heather, yet another work-for-sharer, manages our website and emails!
- Carrie is the friendliest CSA tent monitor you’ll ever meet! She is there on Fridays from 10-4 during the summer months to greet you and help you figure out what to take (as well as what to do with it). She helps set up the tent and does some harvesting, too.
- The hardworking board (Nomi, Jess, Jen, Jill, and Bela) spent *a lot* of time marketing this winter and spring. We couldn’t have sold our shares without them!
In addition to these super helper-outers who have been with the farm for multiple years, there are some new folks who have started to show up regularly. And there are all of you who have come in to complete your work hours and to rescue us from weeds.
So this is how we get it all done—not by ourselves. Our community keeps the farm going and gets delicious crops to your table.