Chief of Staff, Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR)
Ms. Ally Scholtz is not your typical 14 year-old. She would rather spend time outdoors than watching TV and prefers reading books like the Field Guide to Edible Plants over chatting on Facebook. Ally finds inspiration from nature and is on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a farmer. Here is a sneak preview of a recent interview with Ally Scholtz (pictured on right with Karen Cook of Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury) featured in the upcoming Farm & Market Report. Ally was recently at the Marblehead farmers’ market where she was shadowing Karen Cook for the day.
- What Agricultural School will you be attending? In the fall I will be attending The White Mountain School in Bethlehem, NH to study Farming and Sustainability.
- What made you decide to become a farmer? My interest in farming came from two things, my love of the outdoors and inspiration from my grandmother. My grandmother has a large garden where I learned the ups and downs, like pests, weather patterns, and the benefits of working hard.
- Does anyone in your family have experience in farming? My great grandfather owned a nursery- it was gone before I was born, but I think farming is in my blood.
- Do you have friends who are thinking about becoming farmers? Yes and no. None of my school friends want to become farmers. They’re all happy for me, but some think I'm odd for not being into technology. I've made a lot of friends at Cider Hill, whowant to become farmers like me.
- If you could have your “dream” farm, what would it be/ where would it be/ and what would your role be? My dream farm would be somewhere warm, like the Carolinas. My farm would be community oriented and host events like Cider Hill. I would sell products to local restaurants, donate some to food pantries, and have my own store/bakery at the farm. I'd also have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I would hire "experts" for different aspects of the business, and I would work everywhere I'm needed.
- What challenges do you see in fulfilling your dream? What opportunities? I think starting out will be difficult, but sticking with it will become easier and more fun. The best opportunity I have in fulfilling my dream is the incredible amount of support I've been given by my teachers, the Cooks and my family. My mom thinks "going back to basics is the wave of the future” and I'm ahead of my time and onto something big!
- How has working with the Cook family helped you? It has helped me learn the many aspects of farming that I didn't realize.The Cook’s have taught me that farming is not only about growing crops, it's about seed-to-consumer and your relationship with customers.
- What is your favorite vegetable to eat? A very HARD question. I can’t choose between tomatoes, cucumbers and rhubarb. I will tell you which vegetables I DON’T like- asparagus and cauliflower (yuck!)