My name is Eliza Greenman and I’m an heirloom and cider apple farmer in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. I believe in opening up about the following information and I wish more farmers would do the same. Let’s get rid of the smoke and mirrors, eh?
- Age: 30 (until December)
- Businesses: I own an apple tree nursery business called Legacy Fruit Trees (it’s my first year). Other than that, my future orchards are still in my nursery or have yet to be grafted.
- Do I come from a farming family? No. I come from the [now] suburbs of Southeastern Virginia. My Grandparents once lived on a farm, but they were forced to sell it to the city because of its prime location. They also didn’t farm for a living.
- Do I come from “family money?” For US standards, I would consider my upbringing to be that of middle class. No trust funds, no direct inheritance, no secret piles of money that I know of.
- Do I have a family of my own? No kids. No husband. No boyfriend right now (I’ve been too busy to date). I had a dog but that’s a story for another post.
- Do I own land? Nope, sure don’t. I’m involved in a series of creative arrangements that basically work out to being a long-term lease. I will talk about this in full later. It’s a long story.
- Do I have an off-farm job? Technically, no. I live and work on a farm that is home to a hard cider company. I manage their hard cider orchards 2 days a week, which amounts to around $850/month. Lots more to come regarding that relationship.
- Did I go to college? Yes, I went to a 4 year university and earned a BS degree in Forestry.
- Did I graduate with student loans? I graduated with $20,000 in student loans and managed to pay them off last year (2013). $10,000 of those loan repayments came from Americorp’s Educational Award.
Ok, I think that’s a start in transparency. Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I solemnly swear to be as honest as possible in this blog.