Staff Highlight: Merle Pressler, Greenhouse Manager
Merle, as any Hudson Valley resident will recognize by her accent, was born and raised in neighboring Estonia County, about 3000 miles northeast of Poughkeepsie. She learned farming the hard way; digging the always frozen ground for potatoes and rutabagas in her family’s backyard and working summers picking hops as a“Daughter of Lenin” in Soviet Hungary. As she will eagerly tell you, “it was either that or Gulag”.
Merle received a degree in Nutritional Science with a minor in Kalashnikov Assembly from Tartu University. Upon graduating she was quickly appointed Quality Kontrol Director for Kalev Kandy Koncern, the giant Estonian confectionary and maker of high quality imitation chocolates. While there she yearned to be working outdoors, to be "in nature with plants" as she puts it. She came to the realization that her love of plants stemmed from the fact that they don’t talk back. Likewise, her strong desire to feed the hungry was because “People don’t talk when they’re mouths are full”, adding “at least they shouldn’t”. In order to pursue that dream she left Estonia, eventually settling in Poughkeepsie in 2011.
As luck would have it, in 2014 the PFP hired her mid-season to replace an ailing crew member. She felt immediately at home with the PFP’s collective spirit, long hours and rock bottom wages. Farm Manager Leon quickly assessed her superpower quality- O.C.D., assigning her the position of Greenhouse and Plant Sale Manager. Soon, the coop and greenhouse were clean and orderly as never before, everything in its proper place. While it did take a while for the rest of the crew to learn those places everyone agrees there's a lot less of tripping over things. As she stares resolutely ahead to her 2nd full season, Merle looks forward to the opportunity of admonishing all members, staff and crew who may cross her garden path.