We started Midwest Munchers over two years ago and in the past two years we have met SO MANY amazing and interesting people who live fascinating lives and have jobs that I love learning about. I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to meet badass men and women and I want to take advantage of that.
Soooooo…..We’re starting a new blog series where I spend a day shadowing another job or profession and then blog about it.
Think of it as Jordan’s version of Dirty Jobs.
Slightly different though because I will NOT be dirty and I will be hand picking the jobs and professions that I’m interested in.
HUGE SPOILER- Anything involving an office building sounds boring as hell and I’m going to give that a hard pass. Realistically, since I love eating and cooking, my guess is that most of the jobs I focus on will be food centric in nature.
Disclaimer- These blog posts are 100% for fun and just a hobby. I am in no way looking to change careers or find a new job. I stumbled upon my dream job over two years ago and I have no intention of ever leaving.
Back before I met Mike I went on A LOT of dates. One of my very favorite parts of dating was learning about other people's jobs. It honestly flabbergasted and fascinated me to hear about some of the strange, boring and weird jobs that are out there. Even the more mundane jobs were interesting to learn about.
Does that make me weird?.... YUP!
I think I’m most likely just REALLY REALLY nosey.
To kick off the blog series I started by spending the day with Lauren and Kyle of Raleigh’s Hillside Farm. Raleigh Hillside Farm is an organic farm located in Southern Wisconsin. With increasing competition in the organic farming market, Raleigh’s Hillside Farm is one of the few farms that is successfully navigating these competitive waters while simultaneously thriving. Laruen and her husband Kyle work with a small crew to grow, harvest and distribute vegetables throughout the summer to 300 families.
To read more about their journey, Lauren has an awesome food and farming blog called The Leek & The Carrot.
Back when I was a teacher I would spend every summer working different odd jobs. Over the years, I spent my summers working as a secretary, nanny and assistant at a vet clinic. But each and every single summer I contemplated working on an organic farm. Most organic farms offer you the option of working a few hours a week in exchange for your CSA share. Every single summer I debated giving it a shot, but I always talked myself out of it. Every farm I looked at had you commit to the whole entire summer and a combination of me being incredibly lazy and hating manual labor made me hesitant to commit to an entire summer of doing something I’ve never done before and could potentially hate.
I’m also notorious for signing up for things and instantly regretting it afterwards. Mike gets to hear me bitch A LOT. I’m a natural born complainer, so if I don’t like something you better bet that you’re going to hear about it.
Biking across town for dinner would be fun right?!
It’s miserable. Don’t do it.
And you just want to eat some damn food.
I can add that to my list of things that I’ve tried and disliked.
So signing up to work outside on a farm doing manual labor didn’t seem like something that I would enjoy. Plus my back is complete shit so bending over and picking cucumbers for hours at a time didn’t sound like a blast either. Can you tell that I’m a really positive and optimistic person…..
When it came time to pick a career I wanted to shadow for one single day, organic gardening seemed PERFECT. I could try something new without having to commit to anything. I reached out to Lauren and she told me to come out to the farm the following Tuesday for harvest day.
At Raleigh’s Hillside Farm CSA shares go out every Wednesday, so on Tuesday the farm is busy as everyone pitches in to harvest, wash and package the vegetables that will be going out to members the next day.
I spent the morning picking green beans and washing the vegetable storage bins. Then in the afternoon we picked, peeled and washed onions, shisito peppers and garlic.
And guess what guys?!
It was FUN. Like really flippin enjoyable to spend the day outside harvesting beautifully grown vegetables.
I think the biggest surprise of the day was how enjoyable the whole experience was. The work is self paced and you do the work alongside a group of badass women. Since you have a group of 5-6 people working together, each task goes fairly quickly, so about every hour you’re moving on to a new task. My vision of stooping over picking nothing but cucumbers for 5 hours wasn’t accurate at all. And that’s the beauty of a small farm.
As I drove home that night I couldn’t help but feel inspired.
I’m not someone who is easily inspired. I fucking hate inspirational books, self-help podcasts and anything that has to do with improving yourself. I find it all incredibly annoying.
But that’s what’s so magical about Raligh’s Hillside Farm. No one was trying to inspire me. But as the afternoon wore on and I got to listen to Lauren and Kyle casually talk about their vision for their future farm…..a future that was so darn “them”.....it crept in.
That sense of joy and optimism for a meaningful future doing something you love.
It seeps into you.
I’ve never been someone who dreams exceptionally big.
I’m generally someone who is content right where they’re at. It’s both a gift and a curse. I’m always happy because there isn’t anything in my life to be unhappy about. But as I spent the day with two people who had such a clear and beautiful vision of the future, it made me wonder what *my* future and *my* vision looks like.
And at this point, it’s still just the dogs and Mike and good food and a whole lotta love.
I’m okay with that.
I’m more than okay with that.
But that one magical day with two magical farmers reminded me that life is so damn full of potential. I don’t know what my path or future looks like. But if whatever I do going forward brings me half as much joy that farming brings to Lauren Kyle, then I’ll be all set.