Elise came to JSF with a lot of experience on organic vegetable farms, as well as other agricultural fields. She is one of the fastest members of our team, and is often seen running from hoophouse to hoophouse. Elise splits her time between wash-pack and home farm harvest, which includes hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs, and specialty crops. She also takes on side projects, and builds vegetable gardens with her partner, based in the Stowe area.
Most interesting job experience(s) before JSF : Last fall/ early winter I worked for about 5 weeks with a crew at Trapp Family lodge setting up a sugar woods. We started right at the beginning clearing out brush and trees from around the maples. Running the chainsaw was fun, I found it's a very methodical task that requires a great amount of concentration and intuitive feel, and as with any other skill its very enjoyable and satisfying to see improvement in my practice over time. That's also probably why I like farming/ growing things so much. After that we ran tubes and wires throughout the woods. There were angles, maximum numbers of taps on a line and it was somewhat scientific. All in all I think I got to learn the process very thoroughly in a very short amount of time. Oh, I also used to deliver the newspaper in Jericho, when I was 17 in my little Hyundai accent during a real snowy winter. I got really good at winter driving and I apologize for all those missed boxes.
Interesting hobby or skill : I enjoy painting, acrylics and watercolor mostly. I'm an herbalist, and one of my favorite things to do (especially now in the spring) is go out and identify/ hang out with the plants I've read about in study.
What's up with your family? : I grew up in Essex, VT. My father has always been a handyman/ work for himself kind of guy. Growing up he'd often want me to join him in whatever roofing/ apple tree pruning/ wiring job he was doing at the time and i would throw a huge fit because ugh, work. Obviously something came out of it though as i find myself drawn to outdoor work today. My mom has done lots of neat things in her life, she was an artist, a dairy herdswoman, and now works at Fletcher Allen in the ophthalmology department. Great parents.
What's your favorite job on the farm? : Tomato trellising, its a methodical task requiring concentration, see above. I enjoy feeding the pigs as well, because they are adorable.
What's your favorite place to work on the farm? I like to work in the greenhouses, its such a contained world in there, and its amazing to see how fast the plants grow. Louise (one of our Harnois hoophouses) is a good example, I was in there picking cucumbers in May, the plants are around 12' tall now, and the summer squashes are just cranking. you can really convince yourself you've just somehow time traveled into late June.
What do you do with your weekends? : I usually come home on Thursday (my Friday) and pass right out until Friday morning. Then I'm ready for a weekend of hiking, swimming and leisure activities around the house. My partner and I are also in the process of incubating a small annuals landscaping project.
What's your favorite vegetable? : The braising greens are definitely one of my favorites this year. They are so sharp and refreshing when eaten fresh. I love sugarsnap peas, obviously, and the pear shaped cherry tomatoes.