We thought it might be fun to profile some of the folks who make the CSA possible, be they full time staff, dedicated volunteers, or behind the scenes folks you might not know about. Here's our first farmer profile, featuring Carrie (pictured right in the photo below), a native of Arlington, VA, who manages the vegetable operation on the farm.
I first came to the farm as a volunteer. I studied Biology in college and hoped to do agricultural research as a career. I came to Clagett thinking that a little time on a farm would help me become a better researcher. But what I really learned was that we have plenty of people talking about the “right” way to farm, and not enough people putting it into action. So I never left!
How long have you been involved with Clagett?
My first day as a volunteer was in May of 1998. I became an intern here that June 1998, and then the grower in 2001.
What do you do when you're not working with Clagett?
I have a wonderful little daughter to play with. I try to keep my house in some kind of order. I occasionally try to revive my cooking skills (sadly, I either have lots of food and no time to cook it, or vice versa). And I spend about six weekends a year leading Alternatives to Violence workshops at a women’s prison in Jessup, Maryland.
What foods are you most excited about at the farm this year?
Oh my goodness, the onions! Amazing! We’ve never been so lucky.
Any favorite recipes or preparations using Clagett produce?
Anything I can eat raw (yay peas!), anything prepared for me by someone else, and Deborah’s chocolate zucchini cake (the recipe is in One United Harvest, which we have at the washing station).
Any particular vegetables you can't stand?
Am I allowed to say that out loud? I think I’m supposed to be a cheerleader for everything. But if you want my honest opinion, its turnip greens, followed closely by the whole purple-top turnip. It’s a crime that they are so easy to grow while carrots are such a horrible nuisance. I could toss turnip seeds over my shoulder as an afterthought and end up with 1,000 pounds, whereas carrots have to be weeded and thinned and weeded again and irrigated and fussed over to no end, and they still might get bitter on me if I’m not careful. Thank goodness for hakurei turnips, which are not as delicious as carrots, but still tasty and much easier to grow.
What's the best part of working with a CSA?
Hands down, it’s the great people I get to work with and serve every week. We have volunteers who come every week and bust their rear ends to help us, and they are funny, competent, inspiring people. And our customers show up excited and grateful. Even when we screw up or we’re late or foul-tempered, everyone is so forgiving. And when we need something, be it a microwave or some baby clothes or a glass of lemonade, someone brings it. I feel so supported.
What have you learned by working with Clagett that you think others would be surprised to know?
It’s tough work, but you can do it. I’m barely 5’3”, I grew up in the suburbs and never even had a garden before coming here. I was always a terrible athlete in school, and I kill every plant I try to grow in my house. Seriously, if I can do it, you can do it.