The SECOND NATURE CREW
Danielle's perfected many things over her tenure at Second Nature Farm: drying salad greens without bruising the leaves; using a hoe to kill weeds millimeters from a plant; thinking of vegetable puns in a moment's notice; and maintaining humor and grace through difficult circumstances. Often the first to arrive and the last to leave, Danielle loves every aspect of growing vegetables, and each day reminds us that something is only work if you don't enjoy doing it.
Danielle’s path to farming was an indirect one. After graduating from Curry College as a liberal arts major, Danielle worked for an agency that provided energy-saving improvements to low-income residents. Though the work was rewarding, she still longed for the end of the workday, when she could return home and tend her backyard garden. One fateful day, Danielle drove past a big red barn overlooking picturesque animal pasture and vegetable fields. She could feel the farm calling to her, and days later applied for an internship. The next year she applied for a full-time position at Second Nature Farm, and now 5 years later is a fantastic assistant manager.
In many ways farming is like Danielle’s liberal arts degree – it involves a little bit of everything. She loves that in order to be a great farmer, one must be proficient in many different categories: from soil science and plant biology to customer service and mechanics.
At lunch, Danielle can be found loading her sandwiches with micro greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Her favorite vegetables on the farm are our sweet salad turnips whose “sweet, juicy bite” can’t be beat.
Though one of the youngest on the farm, what Susan lacks in age she makes up for in intelligence, maturity, and instinct. She’s also as reliable as they come – give her a long to-do list and consider the work done. On Thursday’s you’ll find Susan at the root washing station flying through crate after crate, and her enthusiasm for farming is as spirited as her endless collection of tie-dye t-shirts. Susan perfectly navigates the territory between “think” and “do,” and as assistant manager inspires others to do the same.
Susan was introduced to farming as a freshman at UNH through courses in “Eco-Gastronomy” – a unique major which combines the many fields surrounding food – soil science, farming techniques, nutrition, and hospitality. After reading Michael Pollan’s ”Food Rules” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Susan knew her first job should be on a farm so that she could immediately impact the environment in a positive, tangible way.
Susan loves farming because it allows her to be outside, get her hands dirty, and work towards a common goal with like-minded people. Every year she’s captivated by the many small miracles that occur, such as the transformation of a tiny seed into a large vegetable.
Susan takes a seasonal approach to farm lunches, with huge salads of pea shoots and baby lettuce mix topped with peppers and cucumbers during the summer, and roasted potatoes and onions in the fall. Susan’s favorite farm vegetables are our long, red peppers whose sweet flavor she refers to as “nature’s candy.”
Chas is a human Swiss army knife: multi-purpose, indestructible, and there when you need it most. Need to plant a couple thousand onion plants? Give Chas an hour. Need to weedwack an entire farm? Give Chas a morning. If it needs to get done Chas will figure out a way, and more often than not, he finds a more-efficient method than you knew existed.
Chas’s interest in farming came about through a dissatisfaction with his state-of-affairs: “I was doing whatever came along,” explains Chas, “and it was time to break that cycle and figure out what I wanted to do.” Chas remembered how his grandparents and their ancestors as far back as he could trace were farmers, and he liked that farming offered a healthy lifestyle, replete with meaningful work and nutritious bonuses.
There’s no one part of farming that Chas loves the most – he’s eager to do whatever needs doing, and he revels in the seemingly disjointed tasks that are all critical to the farm’s success. After hours, you might see Chas walking around the farm with his two boys, Noah (4) and Joey (6), and he loves that by working at Second Nature Farm, he’s able to provide his boys with all the pesticide-free, delicious vegetables they can eat.
Chas’ favorite vegetable on the farm is the onion. He reflects, “It’s versatile, underrated, and every good recipe starts with an onion.” He continues, “It’s not fussy – unlike say, head lettuce - put an onion on your counter and it’ll still be in perfect condition weeks or months later, there when you need it.”
Though 2017 marks only her second year farming, Nicole already has the speed and precision of a seasoned veteran. While some may be intimidated by the prospect of bending over for several hours to pick 400 row-feet of green beans, Nicole says "bring it on" and oh, she brings it alright. Amidst thousands of vegetable plants that span 3 acres, Nicole never lets the big picture detract from the small. If you enjoy our baby lettuce mix, you have Nicole to thank for harvesting just the right mix of leaves for the perfect balance of texture and color.
Nicole’s path to farming was long and circuitous. Though she was always interested in farming, she considered it more of a dream than a realizable vocation. As she worked towards a career in nutrition, she increasingly realized that she could not care about nutrition without first caring about how her food is produced. Nicole became a Second Nature Farm CSA member in 2013, and after several years of visiting the farm every Tuesday afternoon, she knew she could no longer postpone her dreams. She applied for a full-time crew position at Second Nature Farm, and the rest is history!
Farming provides Nicole with an appreciation for the cycles of life – not just the “awesomeness that comes from watching a seed grow into a beautiful, life-sustaining plant, but also the decay that follows.”
Nicole’s go-to farm lunch is a helping of roasted root vegetables and broccoli, accompanied by some crusty bread and olive oil. Though Nicole loves eating many vegetables from the farm, she’ll always be known as the champion of African Spinach, and you can find her recipe for “African Spinach Pesto” on our website.
Megan’s always loved being outdoors, and she spent much time hiking in the mountains of Oregon where she grew up. Her introduction to farming came through a head of red-speckled romaine lettuce that Adam brought to Megan before their first date. She’s been hooked to the vegetables and the farmer ever since, and her background in managing databases has greatly increased the farm’s back-end efficiency.
Megan’s favorite farm vegetable is broccoli, and she loves how its tenderness and sweetness is far superior to that of supermarket broccoli. At lunch, Megan can be seen tantalizing her co-workers with bountiful salads of African spinach, topped with cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers when in season.
When not worrying about being swallowed by kale, Adam is thinking how lucky he is to be living his dream, and collaborating with a fantastic farm crew.
Adam’s go-to lunch is bread from the farmers’ market with hummus and sliced jalapeno peppers, though he’s continually munching on vegetables in the field (he calls it quality control). Vegetables eaten in this manner may have a little extra crunch, but the flavor’s unbeatable.
His favorite vegetable to grow and eat is the carrot, and he loves how the carrot’s short, wispy foliage belies the large, brilliant-orange treat which grows below ground - it serves as a constant reminder that appearances are deceiving, and that truth lies underneath the surface.