20 Questions with Farmer Tom

20 Questions with Farmer Tom

20 Questions with Farmer Tom

It’s a new year! While other people are meditatively reflecting about where the time has gone, we’re wonderstruck by the numerical symmetry of “2020”. To honor this marvel, we’ve asked 20 questions to one of our farmers. Meet Tom, our Fruit & Vegetable Production Manager and Educator. 

1. How long have you been at Wolfe’s Neck Center?

5 years

2. Where are you from?

New London, NH

3. What brought you to Wolfe’s Neck Center?

I was in search of meaningful, mission aligned farm work where I could also act as an educator.

4. What is your favorite part of working here?

Getting to interact and converse with visitors from around the world, and teach them something about farming in Maine. 

5. Where is your happy place on the farm?

In the greenhouses in September when I am surrounded by beautiful tomato plants.

6. What does a typical morning look like for you?

Rising around 5, gathering my thoughts for the day, walking the fields and making a plan. Then I’m greeting the interns and getting them excited about each and every day. 

7. What is your favorite produce to grow?

Greenhouse cherry tomatoes, they just never quit and everyone loves them!

8. What is your favorite vegetable to eat?

Gotta love some fresh carrots!

9. What’s something that people may not realize about our fruit and vegetable production?

In addition to being MOFGA-certified organic, we choose to be 100% chemical-free. This is a commitment to the environment and a great way to train our apprentices important agricultural problem solving skills.

10. How has our production changed since you started working here?

Our gardens have evolved into a small scale production farming system, up from 1 acre to 5.5. We have also constructed high tunnels and planted 400+ fruit trees and shrubs.

11. What is the hardest part about farming?

The hardest part of farming is that nature and the climate are in charge, we are just playing along and doing our best. 

12. What do you outside of work?

Paddling, hiking, backcountry skiing, windsurfing, camping and relaxing with my rabbits.

13. Was farming a part of your life growing up?

No

14. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A long haul trucker, not sure why.

15. What’s the biggest takeaway you hear from fruit & veggie interns who have completed a season?

They have a better understanding of the food system, and an understanding of why our food system is mechanized, large scale and chemical dependent. It’s less efficient and tough work doing it the old fashioned way!

16. What’s your most common order at the Farm Café?

Coffee

17. How do you envision our fruit & vegetable production at Wolfe’s Neck Center five years from now?

More apprentices, more produce donated to our pantries, and a larger focus on agricultural research.

18. What do you most enjoy sharing with visitors on group tours of our production plots?

I love explaining the winter growing in our tunnels to our visitors from the south.

19. What is your favorite of our value-added products?

The raspberry jam!

20. What tip would you give to someone who has never farmed or gardened before but wants to get started?

Do your homework! Agriculture is a public science, all the answers to your problems await online!

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