Well, folks. This is it! I knew the time would come one day but still feel a bit surprised that it's finally arrived. My time here at Eatwell has been full of challenges and changes, and it's truly been one of the most valuable work experiences I've had. For years now (eight? nine?), it's been my goal to start my own CSA farm one day. Before coming to Eatwell, my farming experience had always been in the fields -- seeding, transplanting, harvesting, washing, driving tractors, hoeing, weeding, tending to irrigation, managing the greenhouse, packing boxes, delivering shares, and generally getting my hands dirty. The last farm I worked on before coming to Eatwell, Sauvie Island Organics, gave me a 19-month intensive apprenticeship that included off-season classes on planning a farm and more theoretical understandings of the work we had been applying during the peak season. I was fascinated and thrilled by what I learned but realized that I needed more "office-y" experience before I'd be ready to start that dream farm. As I was nearing the end of my time at Sauvie Island Organics, I decided to keep an eye out for management positions on farms that would allow me access to the office side of it all. At precisely the right time, my dear friend Colleen, who has been a dedicated Eatwell CSA member for over four years now, told me that her CSA was looking for a new manager. I talked with Nigel, flew down to check out the farm, finished my apprenticeship and all my other plans, and drove down to Eatwell.
What I found here has been unlike anything I'd ever imagined. I quickly learned that my writing and communication skills were going to be helpful and that my attention to detail would need to be kicked into high gear. Nigel is extremely open about how the farm is run and even let me be the bookkeeper for my first year! I made many mistakes, but he was patient and allowed me to learn my way through it. Of course, I was still relieved when we hired a part-time bookkeeper (Eleanora). . . I also learned the streets of San Francisco and many parts of this area on the route I used for deliveries my first year. Now that I think of it, that first year was really busy!
I'd planned to stay at Eatwell for a year, and that was almost four years ago. When I got here, the CSA was sending out roughly 550 boxes a week. Over the past few years, that number increased to 900 (and has since dropped, due to the financial downturn). The increased efficiencies in the office have allowed us to take care of more members without sacrificing service to each one. While some of you may curse my name each time you do not receive a printed newsletter, many others have enjoyed our updated online presence. I hope that it will continue to improve and further tighten our community!
Many of you have asked what my future holds, so I'll tell you what I know so far: my partner and I are moving to Petaluma. He'll be teaching math at the local community college, and I'll take some business classes to deepen my understanding of what I've already learned. I will also be volunteering on a local farm that I'm already connected to . . . and hopefully I'll be able to find a part-time job as well (ahem: if anyone knows of part-time jobs in Sonoma, please don't be shy about letting me know!). I will also take advantage of a little bit more free time to visit some friends and family. I'll even get to spend the holidays with my new nephew (due at the end of November)!
I'm truly going to miss my time here at Eatwell and all of our dear members. At the same time, I look forward to seeing how the farm continues to grow and change after my time here is finished. I am also really excited to introduce to you our new CSA Manager, Liz! She's begun her training with me already and will take the helm beginning next week. I'll still be here for support until August 6th, and then I'll say my last goodbye to the CSA!
I wish you all a lifetime of good, local, seasonal eating! Enjoy this wonderful world of fresh, local foods and a friendly farm community. Take care, all.