Kelsey Herrington, 28
Two Farmers Farm, certified organic vegetables
Kelsey Herrington can be seen, rain or shine, just about every Saturday morning from May through November at her farm’s stall at the Kennebunk Farmers’ Market. Her tables are piled high with an amazing variety of fresh vegetables and herbs, from crisp heads of lettuce, radishes and heirloom tomatoes to multiple kinds of kale and squash.
Herrington, who came to Maine about four years ago, grew up on Vashon Island in Washington State in what she identified as a “farming community.” While at Clark University, in Worcester, Mass., for a master’s degree in environmental science and policy, Herrington realized that farming was what she was meant to do.
In 2011, along with her partner, Maine native Dominic Pascarelli, who also attended Clark University, Herrington opened Two Farmers Farm, a certified organic, four-season vegetable farm located on a historic farmstead in Scarborough.
Herrington and Pascarelli have been together for seven years. After graduating from Clark they apprenticed on a farm in Vermont that raises grass-fed beef and lamb and pasture-raised pork and poultry, learning soil-building techniques and more about day-to-day operations of a farm. Herrington said moving on to work at a year-round vegetable farm in New York cemented the idea of establishing a farm of her own.
“In 2010 we moved to upstate New York to learn how to farm four-season veggies, and then started Two Farmers Farm in Maine a year later,” she said.
Two Farmers Farm grows more than 50 types of certified organic vegetables, as well as strawberries and fresh herbs. Year-round organic CSA (community supported agriculture) shares, through which shareholders receive a weekly portion of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, can be purchased at Two Farmers Farm and redeemed at the multiple farmers markets Herrington and her partner attend throughout the year, including the Kennebunk and Portland markets during the summer season and the Seacoast Eat Local winter markets in Rollinsford and Exeter, N.H.
Maine Women had a chance to ask Herrington what inspired her to become a farmer, what she most enjoys about it and what has helped make Two Farmers Farm successful.
Q: What inspired you to get into farming?
A: I’ve always been passionate about food and how food affects people – our environment, our health, our politics and social justice. I wrote my master’s thesis on sustainable meat production, and I did a livestock-based farm apprenticeship in Vermont shortly after graduating. I originally thought that an apprenticeship would be a great resume builder for a future food-centric career in the public or nonprofit sector, but I quickly fell in love with farming as a livelihood and a lifestyle.
Q: Is there a mentor or individual who was helpful to you?
A: I have been helped by so many people, it’s hard to know where to begin. Farming and starting a business are both challenging ventures, and I feel fortunate that Dominic and I have been in this together from the beginning.
Q: What does it take to be successful?
A: Clarity – knowing what you want and what you are and are not willing to sacrifice to get there. It’s also important to be able to ask for help.
Q: What is your favorite recipe, or have you developed your own recipe? What makes it unique?
A: This time of year, we stock our pantry with homemade lacto-fermented kraut. The recipe is simple: shred cabbage or root veggies (radish, carrot, turnip), add salt, pound to release juices, pack into jars, and wait. We try to make enough to get us through the summer, when we’re too busy to spend much time in the kitchen.
Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do? What would you be doing if you weren’t a farmer?
A: I love working for myself and doing something meaningful for my community. I love being outside, getting exercise and of course, the food. The possibilities beyond farming are endless, but this is what I really love doing.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Ten years feels like a long time. Ten years from now, I hope that, through Two Farmers Farm, I will have made a significant positive impact on the local community.
Kelsey Herrington of Two Farmers Farm offers her farm’s organic vegetables at several farmers markets in Maine, including one in Kennebunk. Photo courtesy of Kennebunk Farmers’ MarketKelsey Herrington, 28, and partner Dominic Pascarelli established Two Farmers Farm in Scarborough in 2011. The farm is certified organic and offers more than 50 varieties of vegetables to its customers. Photo by Suzi Piker