For those of you who’ve worked with our previous Farm Manager, Bill Harris, you may have noticed that he wasn’t around the farm as much this summer. This year, Bill has slowly ended his time at CHP so he can pursue a lifelong dream of opening a woodshop. While we’re going to miss Bill’s expertise and stories, we are thrilled to introduce our new Farm Manager, Jen Friedlander!
As a student at Middlebury College, Jen found herself falling in love with farming. Over the past several years she has worked on research and community farms, and most recently at Hidden Villa, a nonprofit that works with volunteers just like Community Harvest Project. To get to know Jen better, see what she had to say when we interviewed her after her first few days here in North Grafton.
Why did you choose to come to CHP?
The farm manager position at CHP was a right place at the right time fit for me–I just moved to Boston from San Francisco and knew I wanted to continue farming and growing my skill set as an organic vegetable farmer. CHP will allow me to farm in a new climate, on new land, with new people. Furthermore, some of the most rewarding work for me has been giving food to those in need, so the mission of CHP is a great fit.
What are you tackling in your first weeks here?
In my first weeks I’ve been getting a better understanding of the growing practices and volunteer programs currently in place, and have already started formulating a work plan for the 2018 season. Also, I’m getting to know all of my new co-workers to build a foundation for my time at CHP.
What skills and experiences are you bringing to CHP that will help in your position?
I have worked on various non-profit farms prior to CHP. In Louisville, Kentucky I worked with a youth apprentice group in the fields as well as conducted various farm to table cooking and nutrition programs for school groups. I then went on to build a research farm for the University of Nevada, Reno where we grew experimental vegetables for the freshman dining hall. For the past two years I worked at a small scale organic vegetable farm in the South Bay of San Francisco, where I learned everything from seed to harvest, to market, about growing vegetables in a “beyond organic” way. I am passionate about being an environmentally conscious steward of the land and hope to bring some of those ideas and experiences to CHP.
When you’re not at the barn, what activities do you enjoy?
I love running, biking, hiking, swimming, being outside…and eating!
What’s your favorite vegetable? How do you like to cook it?
My favorite vegetable changes all of the time, but I think an underappreciated staple in my life is lettuce. It is the vehicle for SO many great dishes and when eaten fresh, is incredibly flavorful and almost buttery. My favorite way to use lettuce is in the spring, when its really tender, mix it with a strawberry balsamic dressing and some fennel.
Read the rest of the September Sprout!