Edible will be sharing Lindsay Morris’s Farmer Portraits throughout this summer. She first introduced her beautiful and important series with a portrait of Quail Hill Farm’s Scott Chaskey back in June. In July, she unveiled her portrait of farm manager Layton Guenther. Here, she continues the series with farmhand Katie Doe Putkowski of Campo Rosso Farm.
Originally from central Georgia, Katie Doe Putkowski got her start in South Fork farming as an Advanced Apprentice at Quail Hill Farm in 2017. She is now a farmhand at Campo Rosso Farm in Pennsylvania.
“My interest in farming stems from childhood experiences as an equestrian and an ever-present admiration for Mother Nature,” she writes. “I have worked in organic vegetable growing, sheep and chicken husbandry, fruit production, and some forestry.”
We are so proud to introduce Putkowski’s portrait by Lindsay Morris above—and so honored to share our interview with her below.
Edible East End: What do you think people can learn from a farmer’s face?
Katie Doe Putkowski: One could learn the importance of a good night’s rest and SPF from a farmer’s face, I reckon. As with any tradesperson, each individual has their own process to identify and solve problems. Some commonalities in farmers’ demeanors are steadfastness, focus and general optimism. Can those attributes be recognized at face value?
EEE: What is the latest lesson that farming taught you?
KDP: Understanding that living things cannot be controlled completely.
EEE: What has been your biggest success as a farmer? Your biggest failure?
KDP: My biggest success as a farmer is analyzing the inevitable failures that arise and growing from them. My biggest failure is forgetting to realize that success comes slowly and steadily, and in many different forms.
EEE: Can you describe the satisfaction that growing things gives you?
KDP: If I were to describe the sense of pride that growing food gives me personally, only one word comes to mind: Humility.
EEE: If you weren’t a farmer, what would you like to do?
KDP: I would like to garden or help run a nursery. My plant obsession runs deep (very deep), but some type of entomology or food focused journalism would be fun. [Editor’s Note: Katie, we’re always looking for new writers…]
EEE: What is your favorite thing to grow? Why?
KDP: Watermelons. They are grown to be shared and savored.
EEE: What is the funniest thing that’s happened to you at work?
KDP: The chickens are, without any doubt, the funniest thing that have happened to me at work. Pretty much everything about them is silly, a little confusing and beyond entertaining.
EEE: What’s your favorite part of each work day?
KDP: First thing in the morning is pretty stellar. It’s a time to prepare and plan for the day ahead and listen to bird songs, but who doesn’t love bedtime?
EEE: If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you want to be?
KDP: On a farm in a river bottom valley in Southern Appalachia. I have pretty simple and obtainable wants.
EEE: Who inspires you? Why?
KDP: The folks that purchase the produce that I have a hand in growing are pretty damn inspiring. Their gratitude and appreciation is incredibly contagious . . . Makes the long days completely worth it.