Farmer Ken Takes a Job

My friend Ken emailed this morning to announce he’s taking a job as the Experimental Farm Manager for The Chef’s Garden, a family vegetable farm in Huron, Ohio that sells high end produce to chefs all around the country. His job will be to test “heirloom” vegetable seeds to determine which ones might be worth developing into new products for restaurants.

Ever since we lived together in Chicago (and for a while in Boston), our conversations have regularly grappled with the topics of place and work. During the last few years, this conversation has traveled as he and Irene moved from Chicago to Uganda, to an organic farm in Wisconsin, to a small town in rural Wyoming, to the farm they bought earlier this year in north central Indiana. Most of the time we’ve sustained the conversation by phone, though we’ve also found ways to chat in person while hiking in the mountains of Utah and while dining at an Italian restaurant in Boston’s North End.

This move to Ohio is an exciting development for Ken, and I look forward to the new places our conversation will travel in the coming months. He and Irene will have to sell the farm and uproot again, which probably doesn’t feel ideal since their hope was to settle down a bit and be intentional about living in a rural area closer to family. But in many ways this new move continues to honor their ideals, so it seems like a great opportunity. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to visit them while they lived in Indiana, but I can’t wait to visit their new place in Ohio in the near future.