For most college students, summer is a great time to go back home, see friends, and earn some money with a job or internship. When faced with this last task, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had worked at a HomeGoods in high school, so I could definitely get my old job back there. But I had grown tired of working at there. I wanted something different. I first got the idea of working on a farm from my friend with whom I attend the University of Vermont. He had spent the past couple summers working on a farm, and spoke fondly of the work, despite its physical challenges. I decided that I would branch out a little and pursue this new line of work. I emailed a few farms in the area, and Catherine Nourse, from Nourse Farm, was the first to get back to me about an internship with their Community Supported Agriculture program, which I eagerly accepted.
My first day of work I went on a farm tour with Catherine. I quickly fell in love with the vast, rolling hills and scenic views. When I first hired, I was working as a CSA intern, meaning I would be helping run the weekly farm share pick-up. For those who don’t know, a CSA is a subscription in which an individual pays the farm a certain amount of money during the off season. Then, when the weather warms and crops are harvested, they receive a portion of the harvest as part of their upfront investment in the farm.
With all investments there is an inherent risk, and a CSA is no different. However, this year has brought an outstanding berry crop, giving our members a great return on their investment (vegetables and fruits). Our CSA works in a unique way, in which each member shops each week based off of a set number of points that they purchased in the fall or winter. This gives them more options than a traditional CSA, where a week’s harvest is pre-assembled. I especially enjoyed this aspect of it, as I would love to talk to our members about how to strategically squeeze every point they had into their bag, and what they could make with a cousa squash or Swiss chard. Talking with people about vegetables isn’t something I would be found doing before I started working at Nourse Farm, and yet I came to enjoy it very much. Along with the CSA, I also work the ice cream window and occasionally in the fields, picking the crops. It’s nice to be able to tell people that I picked this vegetable or berry this morning. You can see how surprised and excited they are about the freshness of it. There’s a great feeling of pride in seeing the produce that you helped pick now on the table for sell. Working in the field certainly isn’t easy, but it is very rewarding.
The last bit of work I do here is work the ice cream window. It’s always nice to work the window, because people are so happy to get their ice cream. It spreads around a good mood. When I’m not serving people ice cream, I’m helping our kitchen manager, Emily O’Neil, with anything she needs done. Whether that’s cleaning dishes, making pickles, slicing up some fruit, there’s always something new and interesting to do here at the farm.
What I’m going to take away the most from my time spent here this summer is a greater appreciation for our food and where it comes from. I remember early in the summer I weeded all the broccoli plants with Mike Barnes, the Foreman. Then last week I was out harvesting all the broccoli that I had weeded over a month ago. Seeing it come full circle and the work that he and I did paying off was something that you don’t get to see every day. It was the fruits of our labor, almost literally. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my summer here at Nourse Farm. Whether talking with our CSA members about our products, scooping ice cream, or picking blueberries in the field, each day is something new and exciting. I would highly encourage anyone who’s never been to the farm to check out the farm store, or just take a walk around. I think some of the magic that rubbed off on me will rub off on you as well.