Post by John and Dena
Forest Run Farm LLC
I want to introduce you to Forest Run Farm's employee of the month, Neal. Ok, we only have one employee right now at this point in season, but after starting as a worker share in 2010 and ending up being employed with us into the late fall, he has returned and become a very important part of our daily farming productivity. He will be sharing his farming experience at Forest Run Farm on the FRESH site and the Forest Run Farm newsletter.
Now, here is Neal's story:
“If you don’t like the weather in spring in Wisconsin, wait 10 minutes,” everyone keeps telling me. All I know is that nobody is worrying about snow in Indiana right now, the place my wife and I called home just 9 months ago.
This is my first spring on a CSA farm. I started at Forest Run with John and Dena Schlitz last June as a worker share, and by the time the season wrapped up I was up to 3 or 4 days a week. When I came out to the farm for the interview, I had been working a desk job, and my memories of bailing hay and detassling corn in Hagerstown, IN had been obscured by college and, by now, two years of the city life. I had read the relevant books, and had been buying my food locally when it was convenient, but all I brought to the table was the desire to do some honest work out in the sun, and a vague idea about wanting to know how my food gets from the ground to my plate.
“Do you REALLY want to do this??” was John’s response, after I relayed the above sentiments to him, “It gets COLD in the fall in Wisconsin.” Each time I answered in the affirmative he told me another reason why life on a vegetable farm isn’t always sunshine and bumblebees – “Its great a lot of the time, I just want to be sure and set the right expectations.” Keep in mind, I was just interviewing for a worker-share – four hours a week.
Fast forward, April 2011. I’m carrying a crate of seeds and supplies from the green house to hoop 1 – about 100 yards. Wet, icy snow is swirling in from the northeast like some vulgar surprise ending to a winter that, from my perspective, had worn out its welcome more than a month ago. As I’m being pelted in the face and blown off-course, it’s hard to imagine that one week ago we were in t-shirts, transplanting broccoli, cauliflower, and green onions to kick off the growing season out in the field.
Despite the crazy weather, Forest Run Farm is stirring to life. The green house is packed with seedlings that will soon be ready for the fields, and the new structures and improvements John and Dena have been working on have a lot of potential for the coming season. As for me, I decided to come back ☺ Here’s to growing! Neal