Hello, my name is Sarah Myers. I am a rising senior studying Psychology with a concentration in Environmental Studies. This summer, I am lucky enough to be interning at Welcome Table Farm. Welcome Table Farm is a 25 acre organic farm, right here in Walla Walla! It produces high-quality vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Let me tell you, farm work is exhausting. I will walk you through a typical day on the farm. To start, I drag myself out of bed at 6 am, shove food into my mouth, grab my bike, and ride out to the countryside of Walla Walla.
Upon taking in the beautiful scene of the sun rising over the wheat fields, I arrive at the farm a little before 7 am. I am happily greeted by the farm crew. Shortly after, work begins. We start by walking the 25 acres and assessing what needs to be completed for the day. Typically, following the walk, we start by harvesting various vegetables. Recently we have been harvesting a lot of fava beans, snap peas, beets, potatoes, kale, lettuce, turnips, cucumbers, and strawberries. You may be wondering what we are harvesting for. Well, Welcome Table Farm harvests for local restaurants, the farmers market, CSA shares, and their farmstand. CSA, stands for community supported agriculture share. It is a weekly box of farm fresh vegetables, including salad greens, roots, alliums, fruit, and other seasonal vegetables. The farmstand is a stand located on the farm, that offers fresh produce and flowers Wednesday through Friday, to anyone who wants to stop by. Both of these options are examples of how community-oriented Welcome Table Farms is. One day, as Emily, the owner of the farm, and I were harvesting, I asked how she selects her various crops. She responded by saying: we listen to what the community wants. I love the community-driven nature of Welcome Table Farm!
Upon finishing harvesting, we start washing all of the vegetables and fruits. Interestingly, each vegetable has its own washing procedure. For instance, lettuce requires a three-step washing process while root vegetables are a two-step process. After washing the produce, it is taken down to the root cellar to be stored.
By the time washing is done, it is mid-morning and the intense heat from the sun rolls in. Layers are peeled off, water bottles are refilled, and weeding begins. We weed by hand, hoes, and tractors–for hours until 1 o’clock rolls around. When the clock approaches 1, all of the farm workers, including myself, have a giant smile on their faces. A day of hard work is complete and farm lunch is awaiting. Farm lunch is the best. Local people, who love the farm, show up with a home-cooked meal for us workers! We all sit around a picnic table, enjoying each other’s company, and looking forward to 7 am to rolling around tomorrow.
I have just finished my third week interning at Welcome Table Farm. I have loved every moment of it. In the coming weeks, I look forward to doing a little less manual labor and researching the farm’s property water rights. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the internship will bring me!
Experiences like Sarah’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff