Eight years ago Jess and I began gardening on our property in the city of Allentown. We owned a twin home down the street from Raab Middle School and decided to start a garden. Being a teacher, I had the summers off and was renovating our house. A garden seemed like an interesting project so we began by jackhammering out the concrete in our backyard and proceeded to plant every available square inch of space with vegetables. We began canning and storing all of our food and this gave us a taste for self-reliance. The following year, we found small plots of land that we rented and expanded our garden greatly. I still remember bringing home bushels of beets from one of our plots and washing them out in the sidewalk while we had tomato sauce boiling on a large burner on our front porch. This was quite a site for our city neighbors.
We left Allentown and bought a farm, however, we still viewed it as more of a homestead and summer employment for myself. With my father’s help it quickly grew larger and before we knew it, we were selling vegetables everywhere we could. Jess soon left her job to work on the farm, but the farm continued to grow and was quickly too large for my dad, Jess and myself to maintain. We began to look for employees to help us and at the time we would take on anybody who was crazy enough to work for us.
The farm has grown and Jess and I can now make a living by only farming and no longer have to work jobs outside of the farm. Our employees have been instrumental in making this possible. They have worked long hours in often difficult weather and devoted themselves to helping us grow vegetables. However, one of our employees has been with us since the beginning and has really become part of our family. This is Hunter Kessler who has after many years moved on from our farm to further pursue his goal of someday owning his own farm. He was our right hand man for many years and was trusted with running many of the day to day operations on the farm while I was working as a teacher.
Hunter showed up on a 100 degree day in August four years ago when we really needed some extra help. I remember being very stressed out with the amount of work that was needed to be done and was desperately hoping Hunter could help. That day we were moving compost onto beds and the tractor broke down. I told Hunter that I needed to finish planting so his job was to take the shovel and fill the truck with compost (I had no time to fix the tractor). After some time I was wondering where he was and eventually he came sauntering up to me with his head down. His face looked flushed and he looked like he was on the verge of passing out. He told me he couldn’t continue because he didn’t feel well and I told him he was free to go home. I definitely did not expect him to come back after that day. To my surprise Hunter called me the following day and asked if I had more work for him. Eventually he was working full time and running the day to day operations while I was working. We came to trust him with everything on the farm. He was there on 10 degree days shoveling compost on the field or knocking snow off of high tunnels. He was there at 9 o’clock at night when we needed to quickly protect the plants from impending frosts. He was there for 12 hours in 95 degree heat.
We wish Hunter the best with his future endeavors and hope that he can someday reach his goals and own his own farm. Words can’t express how thankful we are for his dedication to our farm and we can only say that we wouldn’t have been as successful without him. Thank you Hunter Kessler for everything and good luck! We’ll miss you!
This week's share consists of:
Full Share- tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce mix, delicata, eggplant, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, red kale, sweet peppers
Half Share- tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce mix, delicata, eggplant
What can I make with my share this week?? Here are a couple of ideas!
Maple Glazed Delicata Squash- http://thecreeksidecook.com/maple-glazed-delicata-squash/#axzz39G5pi8ls
Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Delicata Squash- http://greenhealthycooking.com/kale-quinoa-stuffed-delicata-squash/
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers- http://minimalistbaker.com/spanish-quinoa-stuffed-peppers/