Who's Who Around The Farm
Dan Kaplan, General Manager
Dan was raised in Long Island and was supposed to be a lawyer in New Yawk by now. Unfortunately for his parents, he found great joy in planting seeds in the ground. And now look at him......all grown up, and now he's "Farmer Dan!" In the early years, he and Karen used to say, they would do this until they had to get a job. Well, 30 years later and still no job!! After 7 years of training in New England, California, and Europe they moved to the Pioneer Valley in 1994 so Dan could be the assistant manager at Brookfield and Karen could become a registered nurse. And here they've been, happily ever after. .
Listen to Dan talk about the history of Brookfield, shared risk and reward, and his aspiration to time travel on the Farmer to Farmer podcast.
Karen Romanowski, General manager
Karen was born and raised in Dover, Delaware. She is the hardest worker and nicest person anyone has ever met. Really. She also can do everything. She can work in the field. She can cook lunch for the crew (every work day from 1995 - 2016!!). She can put bandages on boo-boos. She can raise two children. She can fix cow fences and lead pigs home from the neighbors yard. She also loves poetry, is very competitive at board games, and (much to her sisters' disbelief) has a lovely singing voice. She usually works part-time on the farm and part-time as a nurse, but somehow the jobs always add up to more than "full."
Ellen Drews, aSSISTANT MANAGER
Ellen “Science” Drews left her midwestern homeland (born in Chicago, heart in Minnesota) to pursue her interest in food production in Boston (Mill City Grows) and California (Slide Ranch). She came to our farm in 2017 to gain more skills in farm business management, and in January became our 7th Assistant Manager. She claims her “favorite sport” is knitting, has spoken positively about the podcast “Ear Hustle,” has seen “I Love You Man” more than four times, and can really drive a tractor straight and true. She does not hesitate to enjoy any reference to the Midwest and can be sometimes seen looking wistfully in the distance when remembering the long cold winters at Carleton College. Ellen will be managing our tillage & bed prep, marketing, irrigation, weeder crew, events, and plant care this year.
Abbe vredenburg, administrator and bookkeeper
Abbe loves counting money. She keeps herself very busy around the valley, counting and depositing money in a lot of places. She was the first person in the valley to figure out how to accept SNAP/EBT for CSA shares, and she continues to be very involved in implementing food access projects at farms and farmers markets. She has worked at Brookfield since 1995 (!!!) and she is responsible for keeping track of all our shareholders, and paying all the people and all the bills.
Abbe also loves digging in the dirt. At home, she grows all kinds of things, like garlic and horseradish. You can find Abbe and her partner, Jim, at any cool music event in the valley. Her daughter, Ona has followed in her footsteps working in Boston, and her son Nash is busily experimenting with fermentation of many kinds!
Ken Dziuba, Mechanic
What happens when you use equipment? It breaks! Ken works on all the machines on the farm.
He was born in Northampton, grew up in Northampton, and went to school in Northampton. Ken got grease on his fingers the first week out of his U.S. Army military service. Since then, it's been mechanical projects dawn til dusk.
When he's not plowing through the never ending list of farm fix-it projects, Ken is working on classic cars. His current project is a 1967 Ford Fairlane Convertible. When he's done working on a classic car, he likes to drive it or sell it.
Ken also loves spending time with his wife and his close friends. He's a cat person, through and through.
Our Apprentices in 2019 Are
bEN FISHBEIN, LIA RAZ, MARLEE GIACOMETTI, AND WILL KEBBE
Looking for a past apprentice? See what they're up to now!
Our Weeder And Harvest Crews Are ....
Just awesome. From Late May - August, our full season crew is joined by a boisterous and hard working collection of people we call the "weeder crew" and the "harvest crew." Some of them are folks with flexible schedules who like to do some outdoor work in the mornings. For others, it's their first job ever. They make this farm hum. We couldn't do it without their energy and their efforts!