Lots and lots of people do.  I’ll introduce the Perkins Family first.  Barb and David started Vermont Valley Community Farm in 1994.  We and our three children moved from the Isthmus, where we had been living for nine years, to the Town of Vermont to start our CSA farm.  We just knew that our back yard in Madison was way too small to farm.  Our children, Jesse, Eric and Becky always helped out when they were younger.  Now Jesse and Eric are full time in the business with us.  Jesse’s wife Jonnah Mellenthin Perkins has been working as the Office Manager for 5 years.  Their 5 month old son, Paavo, will be driving tractor in no time!  Becky is living out of state, and belongs to a CSA in Bend, Oregon.  She was the farm cook for two years before she moved.

Barb and David standing in front of the barn. (note: Eric painted the sign)

Jonnah and Paavo standing in front of the farm office (which used the be the milk house of the barn; enter through packing shed)

Jesse and Paavo getting ready to till. Paavo rides along in the tractor!

Full time (non family member) employees include Chris, Chad, Emily and Elizabeth.  They manage many tasks and many people.

Back: Elizabeth and Eric Perkins (a family member)
Front: Chad and Emily

Chris building a new walk in cooler. After he finished building the farm kitchen he started building our new cooler.

Worker Shares: there are 40 people who come out to the farm each week for four hours and work for their Standard Share.   They don’t come all at once but are spread out Monday through Friday, morning and afternoon.  Many are returning from previous seasons, some of them working many, many years as worker shares, with the winner being Jon who started as a worker share in 1996!   They harvest, bag, band, wash, sort, and help out with just about everything.

Worker Shares, together with the Cambodians, harvesting radishes

The Cambodians:  For nine years we have had a crew of Cambodian Americans working for us seasonally full time.  This group of people came to the United States as refugees after the Vietnam War.  They settled in Madison in the 1980’s.  As an agrarian group of people, working with the land and with vegetables is a perfect fit.  Many are family and all of them are a tight knit community.   Some speak English, some don’t.   They work hard, laugh a lot and get a lot of big jobs done fast.  There are usually about 10 Cambodians here each day.  They are a lot of fun to work with.

The Cambodian crew banding scallions in the packing shed

Our cook Cari, feeds the farm crew Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  We hired a cook about seven years ago when we realized we were so busy growing food we did not take the time to cook with it, sometimes frozen pizza was all we could manage at the end of a long day.  Now our cook makes enough for the crew each day and David and I enjoy the left-overs at night.  And this year we built a Farm Kitchen.  Up until now the cook was preparing lunches in our house.  Our employee Chris built the kitchen this spring (pretty talented guy, he is).  It’s located upstairs in the barn.  We are all loving it!

Cari, the farm cook, in our new farm kitchen, located in the upper barn.