Kasey P. 2011 Farm Apprentice/Real Farmer
"I began my farming career with an apprenticeship at Robinette, and I got a foundation of CSA management skills and land stewardship practices that has served me well. I have since managed a CSA in Baltimore and now manage a small restaurant and CSA farm outside St. Louis. My apprenticeship with Chloe and Alex was a great start to my farming career—the lessons and experiences from that year remain vivid, and they still provide valuable context for everything I do and learn.
I also got something from working with Alex and Chloe that you don’t get everywhere else—and after working on four other small-scale vegetable and livestock farms and seeing small operations all over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, I still think this to be true—I learned that this kind of farming demands a certain kind of perseverance. There is no better place, and there are no better role models from whom to learn the most important, empowering lesson of becoming a farmer: farming is hard work, every year, and you may be tired and maybe overwhelmed, and the season may seem impossibly long, but you will keep going, and it will be incredibly rewarding. Alex and Chloe are determined like nobody else I know, and, at the risk of sounding too dramatic, they are inspiring.
Also, they are pretty cool to hang out with, and their kids are great, and their jokes are funny. These guys are doing it right."
Chris R., 2014 Farm Apprentice/Righteous Dude
"The true value of any apprenticeship is what you learn. Alex, Chloe, and Farm Boss Nina have a wealth of diverse experiences and they are very good at dispersing that information through a variety of venues for different types of learners.
We took classes in the traditional sense; sitting in a classroom, taking notes. Those weren't just improvised "sit-downs" -- Alex and Chloe prepared lesson plans and activities to ensure and enhance our understanding. We also took hands on classes in things like diesel engine troubleshooting, greenhouse building, crop planning, pest management, and pasture management.
The skills required to run a diversified farm operation are many; often those skills are not accompanied by the patience and care of a teacher. Alex and Chloe are certainly that. You will learn so much on this apprenticeship, and you will have a whole lot of fun, cause they're rad folks."
Katie L., 2015 Farm Apprentice/Task Master
"After graduating with degrees in Horticulture and Agronomy, a friend asked if I was now ready to go out and start my own farm. "Not even close," was my reply. As I thought about it more I realized that I actually knew very little about "farming". Sure, I could explain the photosynthetic process in detail, knew all of the steps of the cell cycle, and could even place vegetables into their families.
But I couldn't tell you the first thing about setting up a crop plan of 30+ crops to provide a wide variety of vegetables weekly to keep CSA members satisfied. I knew nothing about building fence to hold animals that can provide a much needed boost to income on small farms. I couldn't even start to describe an irrigation system that would suit the farm and budget.