A Walk with Cole
Hello everyone, my name is Cole B. and I am a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a focus on Environmental Policy in Water Conservation. I come from a small farming community in Northwest Ohio and I am the newest addition to the Nature Fresh Farms facility in Delta, OH. As the Marketing Coordinator in Ohio, I plan to learn and grow everyday just like the Grow-to People here at Nature Fresh Farms. I want to share my past experiences: first, why I have a passion for agriculture, and second, my journey with the Greenhouse Education Center at Nature Fresh Farms.
My family farms over 500 acres with an additional 400 acres of custom work. Our crops include corn, soybeans, and wheat. My past experiences have created a love for farming and gave me a strong agricultural background growing up. A passion for agriculture grew within me from working long, hard hours from sunrise to sunset, building a solid and strong work ethic and character. Agriculture is important because we are the growers that provide people with fresh product, just like Nature Fresh Farms. I grew up in a small part of Northwest Ohio where there are probably more tractors than people. My graduating class was very small with only 35 graduates. Although my hometown is small, I kept busy with my schoolwork, playing three sports year-round, showing lambs in 4-H, holding office in FFA, and also working on the family farm. Agriculture has played a large role in my life and has certainly shaped who I am today.
Greenhouse Education Center
In the summer of 2017, I was so thankful to be a part of what I thought was the best summer anyone could experience: I was a new addition to the Greenhouse Education Center (GEC) team at Nature Fresh Farms. The GEC was a mobile greenhouse or a greenhouse on wheels and everywhere the GEC went, so did the team. The mobile greenhouse would travel to retail stores, schools, nursing homes, county and state fairs, and special events. So, believe it or not, we were at a new city or state every week. We traveled all over Ontario, Canada, and the Northeastern side of the United States. Every stop came with new memories and experiences. Looking back, I am so thankful and proud to have had this incredible opportunity to engage with the public about fresh produce that is grown by a family-owned greenhouse. As people would walk by the mobile greenhouse, they would often ask the following questions: “What are you guys selling?”, “Wow, can I take a fresh Pepper?”, “You mean the produce I buy grows in there?”.
Everyone on the team was really outgoing and eager to have a conversation about the fresh produce grown inside the greenhouse. The GEC experience would not have been the same if not for the wonderful people on the team. The team was outstanding to work with, everyone worked well together and made the job enjoyable. I truly believe we made friends for life during that summer of travel.
My favorite memory of the GEC team was the trip to The Ohio State Fair. The mobile greenhouse was placed in a perfect spot. The greenhouse was located right on the main midway next to a livestock barn. The flow and amount of foot traffic was impressive and amazing. I don’t think I have EVER talked to as many people in my life as I did in that one week at The Ohio State Fair. Each new minute I would be talking to someone new. Think about that: every minute would begin a new conversation with someone completely new about something completely different. The best part of the fair was that there were so many people with different backgrounds. The conversations were so wide and diverse. The discussions ranged from simple inquires about the inside of the greenhouse, to more complicated questions like ‘What do you mix in your water to feed the plants?’. People who have lived in the city their whole life would stop and be amazed: we would share the classic fact that Green Peppers are just an unripe Red, Orange, or Yellow Bell Pepper, or tell them our Pepper plants can grow over 15 feet tall. Next you might have a farmer asking about our growing medium. Another popular question they would ask is how long our growing season is in a greenhouse. We would explain that we grow 10 months out of the year and in Ohio we are able to grow right through the winter.
My experience working on the GEC team was an opportunity of a lifetime with many fond memories.
As you dive into future blogs from Cole’s Notes, you will see greenhouse production through my eyes. At Nature Fresh Farms, there are so many different jobs inside the greenhouse, and as the weeks continue, I will be learning and sharing my experiences with all of you, the readers. In my next blog, I will share the planting process and some of the jobs that accompany planting season. Fun fact: we have over 500,000 plants growing in just 45 acres at the Delta, OH facility! This requires a large workforce and precise planning to make everything run smoothly. I hope everyone is excited to join me on my journey at Nature Fresh Farm – until next time.
– Cole B.