The Farmers

It takes a great team to make NSO run smoothly. Our farm staff spends time working in the fields, in the barn cleaning and packaging produce or CSA shares, and helping out at farmers' markets. Many of our helpers are young people who want to learn, hands-on, about sustainable farming before they go off to start their own projects. Meet this year's "crop" of farmers below!

Do you want to get your hands dirty? Check here for staff openings.

This is (most of) our awesome 2018 team! 

Back, L to R: Hope, Jacqueline, Neil, Devin, Joseph, Lena

Front, L to R: Paige, Kevin, Hannah, Josh

Not pictured: Farmers Lisa and Ike, and our great (and very important!) part-time helpers: Allison, Ezra, Jason, Laura, Laurie, Kelly, Shannon, Deb, and Kate.

Info and pic coming soon!

Ike grew up gardening, and at a young age was selling his vegetables at a tailgate market near his home. As a teen, he worked for a small local orchard that grew dwarf trellised trees. That experience inspired his goal to have his own orchard someday.

Ike graduated from Penn State and has become well known in this area for his expertise in growing vinifera wine grapes on innovative trellis systems and for his knowledge and experience growing and breeding unique fruits and vegetables. He has taught classes at Longwood Gardens, and is a speaker at various seminars and conferences. He has hosted several large grower meetings at the farm.

Ike spends his "leisure" time reading, cooking, and learning more about the fruit and vegetable growing industry. His "hobby" is developing new varieties of fruits and vegetables - they are his babies!

From fellow orchardist Ed Fackler: "You're the only person I've ever met who had apples shooting out of your fingertips like fireballs."

Jacqueline is our farm store manager, although you'll also see her out and about in the field several days a week helping to grow your food! 

She has a degree in Anthropology from the University of North Texas where she focused her studies on how people utilize their environment for food systems, global commodities, and the possibilities for sustainable agriculture. 

Jacqueline came to NSO hoping to get hands-on experience in order to continue working in agriculture. She enjoys learning about all kinds of plants, especially the ones you can eat, and wants to make sure everyone gets the nutritious food they truly deserve.

I am a lawyer who is working on a Master's in Public Health at George Washington University. I hope to use that degree to help cure homelessness. I also want to learn everything I can in sustainable farming. My interest in farming began when I lived in an oceanfront community where almost everything I ate was right out of the ground or ocean.

In my spare time I love cooking, traveling, surfing, playing viola and ukulele. I am learning classical guitar and piano now, and I run a half marathon every year.

I started growing flowers with my grandma in an old bathtub we had in the back yard. We always had daffodils that would sprout every spring around there and that's where my interest in plants began. I didn't really do anything with it in college, but when I moved to Colorado in 2014 I had the opportunity to grow plants indoors for the first time with medical marijuana and also for a short time in a hydroponic tomato/lettuce grown in Pueblo.

After that I have only grown recreationally some squash, chard, an interesting western plant called a "walking onion", summer melons, peas, and some of the plants that grow naturally around here. Since my experience is limited I am hoping to learn a great deal more about plant care by working at NSO so that I can someday be a better farmer and grow more of my own food.

Laura has been helping at NSO part-time for several years, mostly helping at farmers' markets and in the farm store.

You'll find Laura usually at the West Chester Growers' Market, where she happily guides customers to the best varieties of the day and loves to talk cooking tips, tricks, and recipes.

The mother of two, Laura spends her time away from the farm knitting, cooking, gardening, and participating in the Society of Creative Anachronisms.

Laurie has been with us part-time for several years, playing the role of Washroom Manager (focusing her efforts to clean the farm's veggies so they're beautifully ready for the CSA and at farmers' markets), as well as helping with marketing and the occasional field work.

Laurie is a homeschooling mom of three avid baseball/softball players, and is also an experienced biologist and educator.

In her free time, Laurie enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and spending time up at her cabin in the mountains of central PA.

Lena is our Assistant Manager, so she is involved in all aspects of the farm from orcharding to gardening to marketing. She is a self-taught avid home gardener and seed saving enthusiast who has great interests in self-sufficiency, horticulture/agriculture/botany, sustainability, permaculture, plant propagation, breeding/genetics, and animal husbandry.

Lena plans to "learn everything I possibly can while working for NSO. I'd like have a career in agriculture. Eventually, I hope to start a farm-based business on my own homestead."

When she's not farming, Lena enjoys rockhounding/geology (collecting gemstones and minerals,) foraging, hiking, reading, cooking, raising chickens, plus making art & music.

Lisa had no farming background other than helping in her parent's garden (which she did not enjoy so much), but discovered she enjoyed working on the student farm at Penn State, after which she decided to pursue a degree in agriculture.

Lisa keeps busy marketing the farm's products, and facilitating other helpers' efforts of managing the CSA, website/email activities, and the other 'back-end' more invisible work of making a business run.

She homeschooled her son Jay from k through 12, and is now homeschooling herself in more artistic pursuits. In her time off, you'll find her up to her elbows in messy and colorful acrylics and other gooey mediums.

Info and pic coming soon!

Neil continues at NSO as an all-around great field helper and equipment operator. He also can be seen at least one day a week helping out in the farm store.

"I've been a home gardener for almost 10 years ... And I like to try cooking all different kinds of recipes from whatever type of produce I can grow or get at the farmers market or now get from work! I really like old and foreign movies(anything on the filmstruck app) and reading about history and class struggle."

 

Sarah is our Social Media Manager. She has a degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology, and has worked for various search engines fine-tuning advertisements. Sarah is instrumental to keeping NSO up to date on all of the major social networks. 

Growing food in an earth friendly manner, and sharing that experience with her children, is one of Sarah's passions. She loves starting plants from seed and watching them grow and produce food for her family. 

When Sarah isn't working, she can be found volunteering at her children's schools or transporting them to a wide variety of sports. She and her family love to travel and experience nature in as many place as possible. Sarah also enjoys cooking vegan and food-allergy friendly meals, reading, crafting,listening to music and being obsessed with her cats.

Shannon has been a helper at NSO for many years. Starting out for several years as a full-time farm helper, she is now a part-time farmers' market helper.

Shannon is seen at the  Emmaus Farmers' Market, where around Halloween she'll show up in one of any number of amazing and fun costumes!

Shannon's training as a food anthropologist has taken her on travels throughout Europe and the US on the quest for good food. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Food Culture and Communications at L'Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche in Colorno in Italy.

In her spare time, Shannon enjoys crochet, bargain-shopping at second-hand stores, and watching and listening to pretty much any and all musicals!

Info & pic coming soon!