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People Behind The Plants: Emily Ames, Crop Care Specialist

People Behind The Plants is back and our newest employee to share her role is Emily Ames, Crop Care Specialist. Emily currently attends Kennebec Valley Community College where she is studying Early Childhood Education. Learning about child growth and development while taking care of ten rows of tomato plants has given Emily a unique perspective during her three and a half years at Backyard Farms. “Working with people AND plants I’ve learned a lot about that growth and development requires a lot of nurturing and attention to detail,” she says. “It’s been a great experience all around!

What a typical day looks like for Emily

Emily usually starts her day at 6am and spends her days performing a number of different tasks. The plants in our greenhouse typically grow a foot per week which requires Emily to do a lot of clipping and pruning.“All of our plants are on strings,” she explains, “Each week, I have to release more string from the coil and slide the plant along the wire that the string hangs from so the plants can continue growing.” Some of her other tasks are deleafing the plants and picking up “floor fruit” – tomatoes that fall off the vine and have to be sent away for composting. She chuckles, “that is my least favorite job, by far.” Emily’s workday typically ends at 2:30pm and her schedule is Monday through Friday.  

What does she do outside of the greenhouse

When Emily isn’t at work or school, you’ll most likely find her outdoors. Some of her favorite activities are 4 wheeling, hiking Tumbledown Mountain in nearby West Central Franklin and skiing at the local spot, Baker Mountain or Sugarloaf. She also loves spending time with her “Goldendore,” her adorable dog that’s half Golden Retriever and half Black Labrador!

Emily’s favorite part about Backyard Farms

One of her favorite parts about Backyard Farms is her work environment. When she’s on the floor, there are times she's with her coworkers and other times that she's secluded deep in the row with her plants and her music. “It keeps the work environment fresh and allows me to stay focused,” she says. Emily also claims that some of her best friends are the people she’s met working at Backyard Farms. Her words, not ours!

Best tip for backyard tomato gardeners

Emily says that removing the shoots and pruning the plants is the most important task for any backyard gardener. “If you don’t prune the plants the tomatoes won’t taste as delicious!” she says.

One thing Emily is most proud of

She loves that she has the ability to pass on her knowledge to new people. “This position can be intimidating so I want to be the type of person I needed when I first started,” she says.

The one thing Emily wants people to know about Backyard Farms

She wants customers to know how flexible Backyard Farms is with her demanding school schedule, “they’ve been both accommodating and supportive,” Emily says.

Advice for anyone who wants to become a Crop Care Specialist

“It’s a great idea but the first thing you need to know is it’s not a desk job!” Emily says:  Being a Crop Care Specialists involves a lot of good, physical labor. Emily is on her feet throughout the day working in her rows but when it’s time to leave, she always feels proud of her work at the end of the day.

With the help of our tuition reimbursement program, Emily is set to graduate in 2018 which is a bittersweet situation for us. We know she’ll be an exceptional teacher and we’re excited to see her pursue her dreams but it’s always sad to lose a great employee. If you’d like the chance to learn from Emily before she graduates and join our team of Crop Care Specialists, CLICK HERE to visit our career page and learn how to apply!