Hello, everyone! Ari here. I know it’s not really accurate to write a “Summer” post that’s pushing the eve of the Autumn Solstice, but such is farming life.
As our fall crop of spaghetti and delicata squash come in and our poor curcurbits begin to crisp up at night, I’ve been harshly reminded that the season is coming to a close. I’ve found myself reflecting back on the summer in complete awe of everything that we’ve accomplished and learned this year. From a brand new watering system that’s undergone several iterations, to meeting and sharing space, time, and food with new mini farmers and u-pickers – we’ve had quite the season! And there’s no way we could have gotten everything done without the help of our amazing crew.
When I say “crew,” I refer to our two interns, Hayley and Liz, our workshare (s)hero, Reisha, and our ragtag group of teenage helpers, Anika, Julian, and Zoe (featured below).
As you can tell, they have made summer on the farm infinitely more fun. Liz has spent countless hours out in the fields weeding, rototilling, harvesting, and eating any vegetable that crossed her path. She is a powerhouse and often goes home after a full day of work and goes for a “light” 6-9 mile run. Needless to say, she has brought so much energy and enthusiasm to the farm and we would have been lost and buried in weeds without her goofy, upbeat, committed presence this year.
Hayley has taken over the farm stand this year as a returning intern and has been working on her tan while touring countless visitors around the farm. Hayley’s tours are special; she carefully gives visitors the story behind each vegetable and shares her enthusiasm for food by teaching folks how to harvest and cook their veggies or singing the virtues of all of our raw honey. Hayley was also the guardian of the farm this summer as the sole member who lived on the land and sacrificed many a shower for the experience of living full-time on the farm.
Reisha came to us via her thriving polyculture mini farm and thankfully volunteered to help us every week as a work share member. Her knowledge about plants and natural remedies is a gift to the farm and she can hoe like none other! With years of experience on farms, Reisha has become another person that we entrust the care and energy of the farm to. She’s a fierce keeper of the space and amazing model for the young-but-precocious workers on our farm. Along with her, Reisha brought the toddling Rowan, who graced us with his sweet smile all summer, and Bryan who helped us troubleshoot Little Joan (our riding mower) and other tinkersome projects.
Julian and Zoe have also returned from last year with a vengeance. The sisters brought their hilarious humor and utter sweetness to the farm and never failed to astound (or sometimes shock) us with their creativity. Every Sunday they would regale us with their sisterly back-and-forth and scheme up ways to make the farm healthier and weirder – a praying mantis bred to human size to help us with our pests and/or pesky customers? Sure!
Anika was a happy surprise for us this summer. In June, when Anika and her mom, Dori, discovered the farm, Anika immediately decided she wanted her own mini farm and got to work planting kale, radishes, mustard and more. Anika knows more than most adults about politics, alternative healthcare, and can survive a handstand longer than any of us. We’ve deeply loved her thoughtful presence on the farm and are so glad she joined us!
Of course, we’ve also had a supreme support system making sure that everything was well oiled and running smoothly. Gary and Van, the local tractor heroes, have helped us with countless repairs and have been a wealth of knowledge and support, not only with tractor fixes but also cunning creations like docks for our canoes and a sprinkler system. We’ve also deeply appreciated their yearly saurkraut making tradition, from which we have eaten very, very well.
Don has been busy all summer keeping the farm beautiful and organized while building fun experiences for the kids and families that farm here. He’s the chief s’mores officer on the farm and always has something fun and creative for kids to do. He’s also spent countless hours doing the real dirty work on the farm: taxes. Jane, too, has been endlessly busy creating a joyful environment for all the farm’s visitors and dreaming up ways to make the farm more inviting and connected. She’s also a fierce weeder and generally outworks all of us. It’s not uncommon for kids to leave the farm saying, “I love you, Jane!” and anyone who’s spent just a short time at the farm surely understands why.
This year, we have often marveled at the sweet, smart people have joined us in our work. We feel incredibly grateful and awestruck by the people that have shown up to work here. There’s no doubt that First Light Farm has become a space for free-spirited, hard-working people and we feel all the better for it!