Staff Highlight: Lauren Kaplan!


Lauren “LK” Kaplan is our Wholesale Coordinator for the farm. Here's her interview with Lee Anne!

LAA: Where are you from?
LK: North Fork of Long Island, Southold.

LAA: Did you have any connection to food and farming in your youth?
LK: My Babci (maternal grandmother) was a polish immigrant, and was really into “homesteading” and always had her own garden, cooked a lot and preserved a lot (strawberry jam, pickles, etc.) and never wasted food. She was one of the main adults in mine and my brother’s lives who kept us focused on cooking, gardening, preserving and the feeling that we should never be wasting food.

LAA: What do you like about the position of Wholesale Coordinator in particular?
LK: I like that we’re able to supply food to Poughkeepsie City School District (PCSD), that’s grown within a few miles of where they live, and I love working with Chef Dave at PCSD. He’s also brought students to the farm. And he’s doing great stuff w/ the summer meals program providing fresh local produce. It’s great to have someone like that in the public school system!

LAA: How did you get into farming?
LK: I was working in book publishing in NYC, when I read Omnivore’s Dilemma, which really opened my eyes to a lot of aspects of the food system that I had been complicit in over the years without knowing and got really fired up, always felt really strongly that I want to achieve and do better.

Somewhere in that journey I came across the concept of sustainable agriculture, which seemed like a way to make amends, how we treat our animals, the soil, the earth, and to do it in a way that is valuable to more people. Eating is relevant to everyone’s lives.

LAA:Where have you farmed?
LK: I started off actually as program coordinator – Battery Urban farm in NYC - and from there wanted to get more hands on. I went to UC Santa Cruz, did a six month apprenticeship in ecological horticulture at the center for agro-ecology and sustainable food systems. Then I was an intern at Mountain Bounty Farms, a 700 member CSA in Nevada City, CA. Then, I missed the rain and the east coast seasons, and came back to the Hudson Valley and worked at Fishkill Farms last year.


LAA: What’s your favorite part of working at PFP?
LK: Definitely the people. PFP really has a supportive team of people who trust each other, believe the best of each other, care for each other, and really communicate well. That has made some of the most challenging aspect much more manageable because you know you have such support and communication.

LAA: What’s a “not so favorite” part of working at PFP?
LK: I don’t like harvesting leeks or Bok Choi. Bok Choi, always looks so nice and perfect in the ground, then the stems and the ribs break, the leaves get creased and it gets even more damaged, and it’s so sad. Leeks fling dirt in your face, smell funny and are hard on your back. (Editor's note: I agree, harvesting bok choi and leeks is the pits! -JC)

LAA: What’s something most of us wouldn’t know about you?
LK: I used to be a competitive ballroom dancer.  And I was actually training in the city to be a ballroom and salsa teacher, and then decided to just to do it for fun. Next year we should have a Salsa y Salsa event with a Salsa dance lesson and a Salsa tasting potluck.

LAA: Anything else you think we should know?
LK: Broccoli leaves are the next big thing, tell all your friends, they are amazing! They are more tender than kale and collards so they just look wilty on the shelf. You don’t have to cook them as long etc. But seriously, there are all these parts of plants that we don’t eat, and I feel like our CSA members don’t know enough.