Kate & Chaim on the farm
This summer Cedar Circle was lucky to have two month-long volunteers from Brooklyn, Chaim & his mom Kate. They were all over the farm- from the garden to the kitchen. Here is a synopsis of the experiences in their own words.
I am an eighth grader in NYC’s public high school system. My school requires me to do 75 hours of Community Service. I decided that I would work at Cedar Circle because I thought it would be an interesting experience and because I was going to be in Vermont over the summer.
When we arrived at Cedar Circle I didn’t know what to anticipate. I was immediately accepted into the community. Everyone was so friendly and I knew that I would have a great time. My work included weeding in the gardens, cooking in the kitchen, organizing for the farm festivals, assisting in the gardens at Thetford elementary school, and working at the Willing Hands Farm. Like everyone else my life is hectic and busy, and this experience provided a way for me to get away from life as it usually is and do something that brought me back to nature and into a very different world. I learned how complicated growing tomatoes is, I learned about the many ways to cut flowers, I learned the intricacies of commercial cooking and above all I learned about everyone on the farm and how they came to be at Cedar Circle.
This was an amazing experience for me and I am so glad that I was able to complete my community service at Cedar Circle.
I am a professional chef on hiatus and I came to Cedar Circle Farm with my son Chaim to volunteer for four weeks.
I have spent the last 15 years of my professional life in the pastry kitchen, bright and early in the morning, signing in cases of produce from all over the world. After so many years in the kitchen, I really wanted to experience food production at a different platform in the food chain.
At Cedar Circle Farm, under Cat’s supervision, I tended and weeded the teaching garden, the sensory savory and medicinal herb gardens, and some perennial flower gardens. I helped Willing Hands volunteers weed, harvest, and prune in their vegetable patch. I also assisted Cat in her visits to Thetford Elementary School where she supervises and supports the volunteers at the classroom gardens. And I even did some cooking in the farms’ production kitchen. Coming from the food industry, I thought it was pretty wonderful to see a commercial kitchen on a farm, making it possible to take imperfect produce or a surplus of produce and transform it into prepared salads that are highly saleable. This kitchen also, under Alison the chef’s direction, preserves produce and fruits into wonderful pickles, jams and relishes with a shelf life, preserving not only the beautiful flavor of the farm’s produce but the economic value as well.
My time at Cedar Circle allowed me to peek into the world of farming and food production on a large scale. I got a real sense of the amount of energy (human and machine), thought, strategizing, planning and hard work that it takes to grow food for a community sustainably.