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Better Know a Farm Manager: Peter Beck MC ’12

March 2, 2010

When Peter Beck wanted to learn about organic farming, he went to the source: Eliot Coleman’s Four Seasons Farm in Maine. Coleman is the author of New Organic Grower, the text by which countless sustainable farms (including our own Yale Farm) are run. Now Peter works at the Farm, where all this winter he’s been heading up our crop planning in preparation for the spring and summer. Peter also loves the local cheese store/restaurant Caseus so much that he eats there at least once every couple of weeks! Here’s an interview with a guy who really loves food and farming:

Peter Beck/Morse/2012/Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

What made you want to be a farm manager?
I wanted to be a Farm Manager to learn more about running, teaching at, and working on a small-scale organic farm.

What’s your favorite vegetable?
Brussels Sprouts.

What’s your favorite dish to cook?
Pasta alla carbonara or pollo al mattone.

What fruit or veggie best typifies you?
Kale (hmm, I’m not sure if kale actually typifies me [or what that means], but I do love to eat it).

Describe a fun/hard/exceptional story from working at the Farm.
After the Young Farmer’s Conference in New York, Jacki and I brought back seeds from a heritage wheat plant that has been out of fashion for a half a century (at least). We planted a few of them way too late in the season in a back corner of our North hoophouse, not thinking anything would come up. After getting back from winter break, we saw every one of the seeds had sprouted, and we’ll have our first very very small crop of experimental wheat plants this spring to make a pound of flour for a truly Yale Farm pizza.

What’s your favorite food cause? Why?
My favorite food cause may be that of the incredibly hardworking English (and Naked) chef Jamie Oliver. His goal is so simple and so achievable: teach more people about food and cooking. That’s it — no patronizing moral or cheffy pretension. There are a lot of interesting and important causes out there related to food and sustainability, but I really think that Jamie is on to something important. If more people cook, enjoy, and appreciate food, then those family cooks and amateur food-lovers will fix many of the problems with our food system themselves.

Tell us about other work you’ve done in the world of food and farming.
I spent a year cooking in restaurants in Tuscany and Rome, and spent the summer farming for Eliot Coleman at his Four Season Farm in Maine, before starting work at the Yale Farm this fall. Most importantly though, I cook as often as I can, for friends and family, at school and at home.

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