Eli W.

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Eli W.

Seed Production Manager

More About Eli

In early spring I am known as The Germinator, and can usually be found back in Seedville, which consists of the germination chamber and the seed room- -home to the seeding machine and a fridge full of tote boxes of neatly organized seed packets.  It’s often freezing in the seed room, so I always have a cozy stocking cap on under my sound protector muffs and over my earbuds.  Come shipping time, find me in and around the veggie houses, wearing my wide brimmed straw Amish hat and sun sleeves balancing three flats of kale and squinting at the tiny print on the tomato tags.  High summer finds me sweating in the same sun protection gear, and taking breaks from outdoor work to swear at the production software program and the USDA website. More earbuds here because it’s easier for me to crunch numbers and fine tune formulas to the sound of loud music than the sound of three simultaneous co-worker conversations.  Blessed autumn and it’s time to pull out the safety orange stocking cap for my breaktime walk down the road or around the back field.  Winter brings snowshoeing season and I don a lightweight buff to tramp down the trail around the back field and do a lap every day at lunchtime, checking out all the animal tracks and getting in some big sky time.

Germinator- I start all the baby plants

Seed Queen - orderer and organizer of all things seed

Keeper of the most cluttered desk --animal bones, sparkly quartz crystals found in the driveway, lichen covered tree knots, wasp nest fragments, butterfly exoskeletons, napping cats… who needs room to work?

Creator of the most over the top spreadsheets - every color indicates something important.  Really. Yes the headers DO need to be in bold and the column titles need to be centered. 

Weather Girl- ask me what time the wind will shift to the west and how high the dew point will be this afternoon.

Ladder Lover - it’s roofing season.  I’ll climb the tall one. Just let me find some wood scraps around here to level it first.

Eli's Rush Creek Growers story:

While I love the rush and intensity of pulling orders to ship during April and May, there’s something extra sweet about the coming of autumn around here.  Shipping out the last few mums, cleaning out the greenhouses, writing the catalog, receiving truckloads of soil and supplies for next season and squeezing it all somewhere, ordering plants and seeds for next spring… there is plenty to do. We also start checking the weather every week seeking windless days to re-roof greenhouses.  There’s nothing else like perching at the top of Big Yellow, our 12 ft trestle ladder, punching my arms in the air over and over and over to “fluff” the 100+ ft sheet of plastic up and over the edge of a greenhouse as six or eight people pull it along the sides of the house from the ground.  The crew is a well oiled machine; everyone knows whether they are pulling out plastic, keeping it from snagging on protruding bits of hardware, snugging it tight and locking it down at the far end, spreading out along each side to tug it into hanging evenly, or finally pulling it taut ( “On three, everybody PULLL!” and “Don’t knock me off the ladder, you guys!”) so I can start locking down the plastic at the peak.  Once the peaks are locked in, everybody fans out along the sides to fasten it in.

 Under ideal conditions, we can get one locked down in less than an hour, and I breathe a sigh of relief every single time, thankful to check one more house off the list. Because there have been times over the years when roofing did not go smoothly, when a sudden gust caught sheets of plastic like sails on a schooner rounding The Horn. When we had to let go and start over another day.  When plastic ripped and ladders toppled and people yelled.  When the season got so late that all the metal gutters were coated in slippery frost each morning.  

Those memories make those perfect autumnal roofing days all the more precious. From the top of my ladder I can watch migrating geese calling overhead as they head toward the Mississippi, maybe even catch some Tundra Swans whistling from so high you can barely make them out, see the neighbor harvesting their soybeans, check out sugar maples back along the tree line flaring into color… all great stuff.  Still relieved when it’s all tucked in for the year!