Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh by the way...

So I just realized I never actually properly introduced myself.  Hay internets!  I'm Meg, I'm 23, and I farm in Grants Pass, Oregon.  As a former east coast cat I went to, and eventually dropped out of, a state school in western NY.  I spent a little under a year working as an au pair abroad in both New Zealand and Austria.  I was so miserable in Austria though that I returned home early and embarked on a drive cross country with a dear dear friend, a) because road trips are rad and b) because we're both food justice peeps and we wanted to go farm in the magical year-round-planting wonderland that is California.

The whole trip was ridiculously awesome.  I will now forever be in love with campfires, Texas, and doing yoga in the aisles of gulf coast Walmarts.   

After winter break was over and my friend had to go back to NY, I staid on in California and wwoofed at a small scale raw dairy for about a month.  I then worked my way up to Oregon, visited friends in Portland, and eventually found my way to ANOTHER raw milk dairy/natural meat ranch in Junction City where I wwoofed for about 2 months.
It was while I was with the Deck's that I started talking to Lori and got accepted for a full season farming internship with her at Blackberry Lane.  I started at the end of April last year and I've been here ever since.  The internship was generally about 5 days a week 7-8 hours a day with some weekends.  I was the only full season intern though we had other interns at different times all through out the summer.  We all lived in the house with Lori and her husband Michael, were fed extremely well, and were given a weekly stipend.  We were hands on with pretty much every aspect of the farm operation from seeding to harvesting to composting to canning to selling at market to making deliveries for restaurants etc.  We all got on extremely well and we just kind of fell into a really comfortable family-like rhythm.  Towards the end of the season Lori approached me, she said that she was going to be taking the '10 season off and that she needed a break from farming, and she asked if I would be interested in managing the property myself.  I could continue to live with them as I had been and wouldn't have to worry about rent or food, and we worked out a monthly lease agreement to cover the cost of utilities for running the farm, like for irrigation and the heating of the greenhouse etc.  And now here I am, still chillin with my west coast fam, managing the farm that just months ago I was an intern at.  Sometimes I literally sit here and wonder, how the fuck did this happen.  I have no idea.  All I know is that I am extremely god damn lucky.  Cause see, that's the kicker with farming.  If you want to farm, you need land and you need money.  Which are two things that most people in there 20s who are interested in farming don't have, or at least they don't have enough of them.  So this is my chance to do this without selling my soul to a mortgage or a super scary expensive lease agreement.  I don't have to have a "regular" job.  I just get to farm and try to make money with what I grow.  And who knows maybe I'll even make it work.

So.  This, is a very rough, very quick, totally-not-to-scale view of the farm:

The kitchen garden has a pretty nice herb garden and some greens and lettuces, right field is spring and early summer crop (I just planted radishes, peas, and chard), back field is where most of the overwintering stuff is (all the broccoli, leeks, and 6 inch tall brussell sprouts) as well as our asparagus crowns, and left field  is were the main summer crop will go.  We also have a wide range of berries and fruit and nut trees interspersed around the property; strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, black currants, concord grapes, satsuma plums, italian plums, red and golden delicious apples, cherry trees, walnut and hazelnut trees, and a baby peach tree that produces exactly one peach a year.  It's not a big place, I think the entire property including the house is about 2 acres, if that, and I'd like to keep at least a 1/4 acre in production at all times.  That might not seem like a lot, but for me working alone, I think it'll be plenty.  There's so much more that I want to write about this place but I'm tired and it's late and I feel like I'm rambling.  SO, I think that's it for tonight, but if you found this totally incoherent, or I didn't address something you were interested in, or you just like asking questions, feel free to ask away and I'll try and post again in a couple days!

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