In an attempt to reach out to our community, and get help for the farm, I called the local high school and talked to the student-advisor of the “Future Farmers of America" club. I explained that we were a local organic farm and wanted to know if any of the students would want to work on the farm. We would pay for their labor and they would be able to satisfy school requirements. At the end of the conversation, the instructor said she would announce the opportunity. "But", she said, "you know how kids are today,” Yes, I knew what she meant; the majority of our youth spend too much time with electronics and social networking and little time experiencing their environment. I also knew that most of the kids that want to be farmers today see themselves in air-conditioned cabs on large tractors and combines. I do not have a problem with that, as long as they still want to farm. We of course do not work in air-conditioned anything. So, as it turned out, no one from the high school called. That year we hired people from off the street.
Not to be deterred, during the winter, I researched the offerings of our local community college. They did not have agronomy or animal husbandry but they did have a culinary arts program. One of my thoughts was, "wouldn't it look good on a new chefs' resume that they worked on an organic farm". So I called the community college, spoke to the head of the program, and sold my idea of an intership. She then passed me to the head Chef.
I talked to the head Chef and set up a time to come in and address his class. He agreed to setup an internship and I agreed to make sure they (the perspective students) met the requirements. I had a twenty-minute presentation that ended with a technical look at eggs. Specifically, the difference between store bought and free-range, organic eggs. I made arraignments with Chef to have eggs available. The last part of the presentation was going to be "show and tell". I had brought a dozen eggs and had planned to open their egg and my egg and let them see the difference. Then they could take the rest of the eggs and compare the tastes of both. I talked about the difference of both on a fat, vitamin, cholesterol, omega three's and mineral level. Then I opened an egg from the school onto a plate. I then took my egg, opened it up and poured it out of the shell onto the other plate.
There was an audible gasp from the students when they saw the color of the two yolks. Then I started getting questions about if there was a difference when cooking with the egg. I thought, "I got them" and I explained how the free range organic egg would give more lift because of the protein and how they would need to adjust bread recipes because of the fat or lack there of. I also explained how hard fresh eggs are to peel once they are hard-boiled. I taught them about the bloom and why an egg can stay fresh for three months without refrigeration. Then I hit them with this line, "As a new Chef, whose resume would look better, one that has an internship on an organic farm or one without?”
I thanked them for their time and left. I felt good; my expectation was that I was going to get help for the coming growing season. I had left our email address and phone number. It was just a matter of time before I had help. They earn college credits, money and experience with growing organic food in a sustainable environment. The requirements were two days a week for three months. Therefore, I felt good that night and waited for the calls to come. Oh hell, you know where this is going so I will beat to the chase. Let us just say I had inordinate expectations.
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