Farm Manager Ember Fleming discovered her fascination with plants when she took a botany course as a student at McDaniel College in Maryland. A summer spent building and maintaining trails in Massachusetts with the Student Conservation Association awakened a love for working outdoors.
“I decided to try a season of farming and was instantly hooked!” she says. Through her studies as an environmental policy and science major with a concentration in biology, she learned about the importance of diversified farms practicing organic and sustainable methods.
A Duxbury native, Ember worked one season at Dragonfly Farms in Pepperell. She moved on to Siena Farms in Sudbury, where over four years she rose from apprentice to greenhouse manager and senior assistant grower. She came to Stearns Farm as the assistant farm manager in 2017, attracted by the opportunity to get to know sharers during work hours and pickups. “Serving my community is a large reason why I farm,” Ember says. Beets, spinach, broccoli, kale, and “any and all herbs” are her favorite crops to grow.
Ember lives in Hudson with her partner Mike and two cats. When she isn’t working, Ember enjoys hiking, reading young adult fantasy novels, tending her own garden, and learning how to make things.
She joined the Stearns Farm crew two winters ago 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.
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, she has spent time hiking, walking in the area and rowing. In 2020, Kerry and her partner John welcomed Freckles into their family, adopting him from through Buddy Dog Humane Society in Sudbury. Freckles joins Kerry and Ember at the farm throughout the season and is a very good boy, digging holes, guarding against pests and catching a few Zzzs.