Archive for the ‘Work Share Spotlight’ Category

Fun fact about yourself:


Will work for vegetables! Even though I’ve only been at it for a little while, I much prefer telling people I’m a farmer than saying I’m a retired programmer. Everybody eats, but few are interested in discussing the merits of programming.

How many years have you been a member of Wayward’s CSA program?

My wife and I purchased community shares from Sandy Sterrett who ended deliveries in Columbus. We started with Wayward Seed a couple of years ago. I used to be bewildered and confused by all the strange vegetables. Now most of them are cut up and roasted on Friday night. The greens go into the blender to make a green soup, which usually doesn’t last the weekend. Green smoothies are under study at our house.

How did you first hear about Wayward’s work share program?

My wife told me about the work share opportunity. I have been a physical fitness nut for decades, but I have come to think of physical labor as a practical alternative to pumping iron. Recent exploits include assisting my dad to stay out of a nursing home and helping my brother with his tree cutting business. I read Adam Utley’s description of the Wayward Seed work share program and thought I’d give it a try. I am curious about whether organic farming can be expanded to provide jobs and sustainable agriculture. It is a lot more labor intensive than agribiz, but it is safer for the farmer and the planet because no pesticides are used.


What is it like to work on the farm?

Working on the farm involves a lot of teamwork. It is amazing to observe the three full time farmers go through the routines of planting, weeding, harvesting, and cleaning. Adam Utley and Kristy are great instructors. They take the time to explain how to do things and offer tactful suggestions about how to improve. Adam Welly will talk your ear off about soil integrity and crop rotation. It sometimes seems like a college classroom. While carrying out repetitive tasks in the greenhouse or weeding, the conversation runs from the serious to the absurd. You learn a little about the folks you are working with while making yourself useful. Nobody complains that I weed half as many beets or harvest about 2/3’s as much kale as the full timers. When you do things for the first time, it’s expected that you will be a little slower.


What has been your favorite vegetable? Why?

My all-time favorite vegetable is eggplant. I couldn’t stand it when I was little. Once I discovered eggplant parmesan I was hooked. Kohlrabi is my discovery vegetable for the year. It’s great on salads, raw, peeled and thinly sliced. I also like sliced Kohlrabi slightly warmed with a dollop of hummus.

What has been your least favorite vegetable? Why?

My biggest disappointment this year has been with lettuce. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a salad-a-day kind of guy, but I got greedy when I liberated some extra plants for my home garden. My first crop has bolted and gone bitter, so much of it has ended up on the compost pile. Successive plantings spaced by two weeks is the only way to go.

What has been the most interesting experience you’ve had on the farm?

The first day I came for my work share I forgot to check the calendar and was a week early. I took pictures of the equipment and empty fields on a wet April day. I got a second chance to wander around the fields when I arrived at sunrise on the summer solstice. Seeing the small changes, day by day, is what I like the most.

Anything else you wish to share?

Working on the farm has taught me a lot about what it takes to grow vegetables:

Composting: The repository for the farmer’s unrealized aspirations and the source of next year’s organic content.

Greenhouse: Time consuming and tedious but it gives the plants an advantage over weeds, which can be knocked down a day or two before transplanting.

Transplanting: The mechanical transplanter is pulled by the tractor and operates in an awesome display of synchrony as it inserts thousands of plants per hour.

Harvest: Clippers for Kohlrabi, sharp knives for parsley and kale. I lose  count as I place bunches in a crate all higgly-piggly. Then I count just once as I transfer them into a second crate.


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