Monday, November 19, 2012

The Inside Scoop: Field & Forest Products has a Baby
Written by Laura

Who here would have ever thought that bags of mushroom spawn would someday serve as bumper pads!
These days there are not too many businesses that will let you bring a newborn baby to work, especially in the way of agriculture. I’m here to tell you that babies can grow mushrooms too.
When I started this job nearly two years ago I had only two daughters ages 8 and 6. During my interview Mary Ellen had asked me if I had any concerns. I decided it best to tell her and Joe that I was a mom, and as most parents know, sometimes children need their moms during business hours. Joe and Mary Ellen, being involved parents themselves, knew where I was coming from, and told me there was flexibility with this job. I had no idea that almost two year later, flexibility would mean sitting side by side with my third daughter (only a month old) at my desk.
Sadie's favorite seat is right next to mom.
Some of you may have had the chance to talk with me here at F&FP…I answer phones, do design work on our website, enter orders, and many other clerical activities. However, I also make the thimble spawn, pack orders, pasteurize and inoculate straw, and many other not so clerical duties. I have no official job title, but I’m ok with that because it would probably have too many words in it anyway. I simply refer to myself as a cultivator. As a cultivator/mother I have to find ways to entertain a now three month old little girl on the mushroom farm. Her extremely laid back personality makes the challenges of working with her quite easy.
Luckily she is young, and naps often. Purchasing a mini swing to leave at the farm was a wise decision on my part. She spends a good 80% of her time in it. Babies are easily amused, and because of this she is often comforted by the steady hum of air coming from the ventilation fan in our incubation room. This room is also where orders are packed, and has a comfortable padded floor. She often just lays there stretched out enjoying the good life. The background noises here have conditioned my child to sleep through anything!  As I go through my daily routines I narrate to her the many workings of the farm. She is gaining the required knowledge to one day become a successful mushroom farmer.
Fast asleep on the packing room floor.
There are a total of seven of us here including Joe and Mary Ellen, baby Sadie makes eight. I never have to worry that no one will be there for her when I am busy. She is loved and appreciated here. I am positive that her treatment directly reflects the attitudes of both Joe and Mary Ellen. The environment they have created for the employees is second to none. We are privilaged because Field & Forest Products remains a small close-knit company. Hopefully all of this produces results that our customers feel as well. Working hard and showing respect, without taking advantage of all we are offered, allows for special benefits like bringing a baby to work.