Working with Rittman Orchards has afforded me more opportunities and revealed to me more knowledge about both the practice of farming an America’s ever-growing foodie movement. Since starting to help Matt and the rest of the Vodraska family in 2009, I’ve learned more about farming practices, farm bureaucracy, market policy, fruit seasons, and apple varieties than I ever could simply by participating in the urban-agricultural world as a customer. Information aside, I’ve enjoyed some exposure to worlds otherwise fairly untouchable: I’ve spent time working down at the farm, gotten to see the kitchens of several high-volume, fine dining restaurants while making deliveries of fresh produce, and had the opportunity to meet other market vendors in a more personal way than I would had I not taken a position helping Matt with his market sales three summers ago.
As of a month ago, I can also thank Matt, indirectly, for the opportunity I now have to work as an intern with a company called Real Time Farms. During one of our Saturday morning markets, just after the rush of mid-morning market-goers, Matt and I met a pair of traveling musicians, on a 100-market tour of the United States. Lafe Dutton approached us at our stand, explained his goal (to play with Coco Kallis at 100 farmer’s markets across America over the year) and interviewed Matt about his family farm. Before leaving, Lafe snapped a few pictures and told us about Real Time Farms, and when I went home, I did some research, finding the RTF blog and a post calling for fall interns.
So I applied for the position, sending along my resume and a letter about why I value food transparency. A few weeks later, I got a happy reply from Lindsay Partridge, director of the internship program, and after a phone interview and a brief wait, I was part of the Real Time Farms autumn internship team!
The coming months promise to be busy- in addition to balancing part-time work and part-time school, I’ll be exploring the Cleveland foodie scene and Northeast Ohio farm culture, taking time to tap out my experiences for share on the RTF weblog.
I’m excited to meet people- albeit electronically- from all over the country, not to mention to meet (or meet more completely) folks from my hometown, as I wander my markets with greater mindfulness.