I have an intern. A Whitman College intern. I have tried for several years to get this program to work for me without success, but this year, we finally managed to get all of the right pieces in place, and I HAVE AN INTERN. Squeeeee.

IMG_20190515_095007063_HDR

Nick is very fond of Charlie. Charlie is very fond of Nick. Charlie may just decide to go home with Nick in September. Here we’re planting onions, one of Nick’s first on-farm tasks in mid May.

Nick is an English major here on academic scholarship. Which means he’s smart and he knows very little about farming. Grin. But since he started in mid May, he’s been a quick study and a huge help, changing gears with me about 5 times a day, and generally rolling with anything I’ve asked him to do.

The program actually works on a stipend. Whitman pays its interns a grant of $3,000 for the summer. Students can work for up to 40 hours a week, but as I don’t need someone 40 hours a week and I remember how awful it was for internships to under pay for my time, we arrived at 20 hours a week ($3,000 divided by $12/hour equals 250 hours, or 20 hours a week for about 12 1/2 weeks).

IMG_20190624_120723680

U-Pick Blueberries at Applegate in Burbank.

Students must be working on projects that will help move your organization forward. In other words, they can’t just be free labor. Nick is working on two projects this summer (in addition to getting all around small business entrepreneur work experience). He is helping me design a wildlife/pollinator hedgerow on the back of our property and helping me really nail down my labor costs on jam production, from picking through processing (I’ve been very lax on figuring out my time when I’m not paying for fruit but growing it myself). So far we’ve come to realize that my once a year batch of gooseberry jam is definitely a loss leader (ie the labor is ridiculous) but that the results are DELICIOUS. I’ve also helped him realize he doesn’t want to pit cherries for a living. He is SO sick of cherries!

IMG_20190621_122610765_HDR

The sour cherry tree had a banner year. We managed to net it in time to keep the birds out of them until we got what we needed. I had enough for my regular sweet and sour cherry jam, and a limited edition batch of straight sour cherry jam as well.

But its been kind of life changing to have help this summer. The garden is better weeded than its been in a very long time, the potatoes have been mulched, the peppers and tomatoes fertilized in a timely fashion. And so far, we’ve picked and processed rhubarb, strawberries, cherries, gooseberries, white currents, blueberries and are deep into raspberry season. Today we harvested all of the garlic. I can’t WAIT to have someone helping me pick cherry tomatoes!

IMG_20190626_100404346

These white currents became part of a Strawberry/Current jam. A first for me this year that I never would have had time to execute without the extra help.

Meanwhile we swap music and book recommendations, and I regale him with stories from when I was 21, which alternately seems either like a very long time ago, or just yesterday. And because I talk and think about food all the time, he’s learning more than he needs to about growing things, and what weeds need to be picked, but sometimes can also be eaten. And he’s wrapped a lot of soap and labeled a lot of jam. And carried Charlie around like a football.

If you see Nick at farmers market (he helps me out at market some Saturdays) come by and say hi.

IMG_20190623_141434128_HDR

The potatoes are very happy this year.

Note: We will NOT be at farmers market this Saturday. It’s one of my two scheduled Saturdays off during the season. See you on the 13th!

© 2019 Miles Away Farm. Where we’re miles away from being ready to hire a full time year round employee, but we what that might look like from here.