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Welcome to our blog! Learn about our farm operation, public programs, and the people behind our work through the Notes from the Field and Education sections. Peruse the Recipes section for some staff favorites.

Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Notes from the Field: Introducing the Farm Crew

Farmers are never satisfied with the weather. This gets boring, actually, and so even though I could tell you this week about how schizophrenic it feels to be partly hoping that it DOES rain for the thirsty greens at our Lyman Estate field and partly hoping that it DOESN'T rain while the strawberries are still ripening - I won't. Instead, I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of the folks who grow the food here at Waltham Fields Community Farm. Some of us have been at WFCF for years, while others are new to the farm this month. Some of us are likely in farming for the long haul, while others may leave it for more predictable, lucrative, or climate-controlled employment. But all of us share a commitment to this little farm for this growing season.

Many of you know some of our farmers. Andy Scherer, who managed the farm expertly last season, is perhaps the most Yankee of all of us, despite his roots in Pennsylvania. Andy is responsible for coordinating our produce donation - a $50,000 goal this year, including the 900 pounds of lettuce that we sent to the Greater Boston Food Bank earlier this month. In his five seasons with WFCF, he's helped the farm become more efficient and more sustainable through the addition of the weed and field crews, the purchase of (often extremely cheap) appropriate equipment, and a continual commitment to controlling costs. He is also a stickler for organization and neatness on the farm, and even though it's taken five years, his efforts are finally starting to pay off.

Erinn Roberts, now in her fourth season with WFCF, is originally from New Jersey but finally has a working knowledge of ice hockey. She is both one of the funniest people you will ever meet and one of the most diligent and hardworking. She manages our greenhouses and seedling sales, and selects all the delicious products from other farms that we offer to our shareholders each week. Erinn is also one of the most thoughtful and observant farmers I know. The farm benefits from her wisdom, her intelligence, her constant self-education, her intense attention to detail, and her unerring sense of style.

Dan Roberts, who came along with Erinn when she arrived at WFCF and has made himself indispensable to the farm, is often on a cultivating tractor these days. You can sometimes hear him singing over the sound of the engine. He has taught himself a great deal about the equipment on the farm, often with the help of YouTube videos, and has helped us make wise equipment purchases in the past couple of years - including the brand new walk-in cooler that will hopefully make an appearance on the farm this week. He is the fearless leader of the weed crew, an exceptional pizza maker, and a learned musician whose beautiful songs you can find on our farm CD. He also continually amazes me with his ability to be reasonably conversant about just about any topic.

Another set of critical people on the farm is our weed crew, without whom there would be no carrots, lettuce, fresh herbs, fall root crops - or just about anything on the farm. These three (soon to be four) hard-working women are in the fields five mornings a week to do gentle battle with our galinsoga, amaranth, lamb's quarter and all the other weeds that enjoy the rich soil of our fields. Their cheerful faces lift my spirits every time I see them in the lettuce with hoes in their hands or crawling the carrots on a rainy morning. Laura, Shira, and Rachel are also highly educated and well-traveled, and are a joy to weed with if you have an hour to spare. If you happen to be on the farm in the morning, greet them warmly with a wave or a blueberry muffin. They like brownies, too.

Next week: less weather. More Lauren, Larisa, and the farm work shares. Until then, enjoy the harvest season.

Amanda, for Andy, Erinn, Dan, Larisa, and Lauren

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