Kerry Beyrer left her office job five years ago and hasn’t looked back.
She joined the Stearns Farm crew this winter as assistant farm manager after stints farming vegetables at Fishkill Farms and raising pigs at Coppersea Distilling, both in New York’s Hudson valley. Before farming, Kerry worked as an outdoor educator, then as a paralegal. “I quit one summer to go back to outdoor education, and when it got cold I went back inside. At the end of that cold season, I’d had enough of being in an office,” she says. “I like being outside, working hard, and getting dirty.”
A friend who worked on a farm suggested Kerry try it. She found that the process of growing vegetables, “from seeding to seedlings to transplanting to harvesting to making a meal out of it,” takes a lot of patience, but is also rewarding, as is hearing from sharers about how delicious the vegetables are and getting to talk about how they grew.
When her partner John was offered his “dream job” at Bose in Framingham, she found Stearns Farm. “When I was working at the distillery, I had found a local CSA. It was tight knit, a fun little family. Stearns kind of mirrors it. ”
The community connections were also a favorite part of her job at Fishkill Farms. “I was a CSA distribution person in the city, and I got to hang out with the members as opposed to when I was on the farm, where I saw them in passing. I liked developing the relationship with the community, seeing babies grow up over the two years, and sharing recipes.”
Among her favorite recipes, Kerry enjoys beet burgers. “I could eat beets every day. You grate beets, combine them with red onions, and parsley, crack an egg on it and add oats to bind it all, and bake them.” (See the full recipe below and in our recipe archive).
Fennel and tomatoes are her favorite vegetables to grow. “Fennel is beneficial for insects and it smells great, it looks beautiful. And making tomatoes neat and tidy is very fun for me,” she says.
Kerry has a degree in chemistry from the State University of New York, New Paltz. Her science training has been useful for thinking through decisions in the field, such as making soil amendments. “There are two brains you meet as farmers—artists and scientist—and they meld together in different ways,” Kerry observes.
Since moving to Marlborough last year, she has spent time hiking and walking in the area, and she recently took up rowing. A recreational swimmer as well, Kerry is looking forward to getting into the local lakes as well as the ocean.
Kerry’s Beet Burgers
Quantities are flexible. Go ahead and wing it!
Basil, parsley, or whatever herbs are ready for harvest
Salt and pepper
- Place beets, carrots, onions, and garlic in a large bowl.
- Add olive oil, eggs, and rolled oats and mix everything well.
- Add basil or parsley, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
- Set aside for about 30 minutes, so the oats can soak up the liquid and the mixture sets (this step is important for the patties to hold together).
- Try shaping a patty with your hands. If the mixture is to loose, add some more oats.
- Form additional patties with your hands.
- Fry burgers in a pan or bake in a 350° F oven until golden on both sides.