Throughout Women’s History Month, we’re featuring some of the women who make the Greene Grape the amazing place it is. The Greene Grape family of businesses is woman-powered, both historically and currently, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t shine a well-deserved spotlight on at least a few of these grape women.
This week, we’re chatting with our Produce Buyer, Laura Rose Dailey. Laura Rose and her department make sure anyone’s first impression of Provisions is a beautiful one as they step through our front door! With her agricultural background and passion for growing green things, she’s a perfect fit for the job, and we couldn’t do it without her.
What got you into the world of agriculture and produce?
I took a course on coffee ecologies and livelihoods in college and had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador to spend some time with the coffee farmers there. That experience rocked my world, and truly opened my eyes to the injustices of our food system. A few years later I decided I wanted to learn how to grow food, and took a farming apprenticeship at Amber Waves, a mixed vegetable production farm on the East End of Long Island. It was on that land where I fell in love with farming and spent the next four years (plus two winters on the other side of the equator!) growing vegetables.
What’s been part of your experience as a woman working in agriculture?
At Amber Waves, it often felt like we were in a bubble all our own, being owned and staffed by women. On the other hand, the people delivering our farm equipment, seeds, and other necessary items were usually men, and some of them broke that bubble with their questions. “Who’s really in charge here? Are you really farmers?” It was a reminder that a farm run by women is considered an anomaly, but we were never discouraged. Owners Amanda Merrow and Katie Baldwin showed me how far women could go in agriculture—I really look up to them.
What’s your favorite produce?
I can’t pick just one! I have three. Radishes: The feeling and sight of pulling a bright red, snackable root out of the ground is so satisfying and beautiful. Also, they’re a fast growing crop (~40 days seed to harvest) AKA almost instant gratification. Baby greens: Another fast growing crop, and there’s nothing like a salad made with crispy flavorful right outta the ground greens! And finally, eggplant: As a farmer on Long Island, growing eggplant is a lot of work because of the Colorado Potato Beetle. This pest feeds on the young tender leaves, and if left alone will completely destroy the plant and therefore the crop. For farmers, this meant that every other day, we’d have to check each plant on every leaf for signs of infestation. If we managed to beat the bugs and have a successful eggplant crop, we were eating eggplant parm for weeks. 🙂