Goat Update & Our Intern Chris Peterson

Chris mulching tomatoes

You will be happy to hear that the goats are doing great.  Moms and babies have settled down from the trauma of weaning.  It will be another three weeks at least before we put them back together.  The weather has dried out finally and the soil is  perfect for tractor work.  Unsurprisingly, the tractor is out of commission.  Rosie’s clutch is out of whack and Randy’s mechanical know-how combined with my excellent ability to follow directions is not enough to get her fixed.  Let’s hope this weather holds while we figure out a solution.
Meet Chris Peterson, Tubby Creek Farm Intern

Chris mulching tomatoes“Aren’t you a little old to be an intern?” Alright, so nobody has actually asked me that question since starting as an intern at Tubby Creek at the beginning of April. However, variations of this sentiment along with a confused glance is the general response when I tell people what I’m up to these days. I understand it. The stereotypical farm intern today is in his or her early twenties and is trying to “find him/herself.”…a little hard work, some simple living, and the realization that law school is probably less work and more financially rewarding in the long run than farming. That is not why I’m interning at Tubby Creek farm this year. I want nothing more than to make a career out of farming. By swallowing my pride and admitting to myself that I still had a ton to learn about farming, I think I have fallen into the perfect opportunity to help me become the farmer I want to be.
            I quit my paying job at GrowMemphis about a year ago with the ambition of starting a farm. My wife, Claire, and I, were lucky enough to be offered the chance to take over my grandparents 167 acres in Saulsbury, TN and take a shot at our farm dream. While lot of folks weren’t surprised when we threw caution to the wind for this, many were taken aback by my decision to take it slowly and intern part time. Interning is great. As an intern that also lives and works on my own farm, I have the opportunity to apply the lessons I learn at Tubby Creek—from annual budgeting and pasture and crop plans to how and when to move pigs and goats-- in real time on my own farm. Splitting my time also forces me to slow down, start off small, and not get in too far over my head in my first year. My stipend and CSA workshare also takes the pressure off me to have to produce at any particular scale on my own farm, which in turn allows me to concentrate on getting systems and routines in place for future success.
            Tubby Creek Farm was an obvious choice for my farm internship: 20 minutes away, Certified Naturally Grown, a good mix of vegetable and meat production, and a schedule that allows me the flexibility to spend time on my own farm. More important than the practical reasons though, Claire and I have been CSA members since Josephine and Randy got started four years ago. We have always really believed in and tried to support this farm, and I hope that this personal commitment will help me to work harder and offer more than the average intern would. After all, farming is ludicrously hard work and not always fun. Whether you are planting tomatoes in the rain, chasing chickens and/or goats out of Mrs. Wilson’s yard, or getting banged up and greasy changing an axle, who you are working with can be as important as what you are actually doing.
             I hope I will get the opportunity to meet those CSA members that I don’t already know. I’m at the farm Mondays through Fridays and will be at the market from time to time as well. Please say hello if you get the chance. If you want to know more about my farm, Loch Holland Farm, please check out my personal blog farmlosophy.com. I would love to talk to you about our plans to build a goat cheese dairy, our Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs, or how frustrating raising farm fresh eggs can be