Hi, I'm Jojo!

Hi! My name is Jojo, short for Joanne, and I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I recently graduated in April of 2019 from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado with a degree in environmental studies and started working at Apple Acres two weeks later. My original plan for the summer after graduation was to go on a trip to Italy and France with my mom and my older sister, and then figure out the job situation later. Unfortunately I got booted off the trip and told it would be a better idea if i got a job, and I couldn’t be more happy I did.

In all reality I didn’t have a plan for after college. Thinking about my future gave me so much anxiety I just decided to not think about it. I would rather do anything than search the internet for jobs I was under qualified for or didn’t find interesting. My dad told me graduate schools were the way to go and I should continue my education to get a PhD, but I wasn’t sold on that idea either. I had just spent the past four years of my life locked in study rooms staring at computer screens, reading research paper after research paper. I needed a break. Then I heard about agricultural apprenticeships from one of my professors and my attitude toward my future made a complete turn around.

I grew up outside. Not literally, but so much of my life has revolved around being outdoors that nature and wilderness will always hold a special meaning to me. When my mom was a child my grandfather bought land in Northern Ontario in the Lake of the Woods region in an extremely rural town called Sioux Narrows. Everyone in my family is a teacher besides my dad, so that means every summer the whole family migrates from Texas to Canada to spend lazy summer days on the dock swimming and relaxing. Growing up my parents would take me and my three siblings camping any chance we got, and in recent years my dad and I have made it an annual tradition to go hiking in at least one national or state park. Learning of a job that would allow me to work outdoors and with the land was exactly what I was looking for.

I chose the apprenticeship at Apple Acres because of three things: first is that I have never been to the east coast before so I jumped at the opportunity to experience it; the second is that it is an organic orchard and I want to expand my knowledge on organic farming methods; and the third reason is that my bosses are the organizers of the Ossipee Valley Music Festival and String Camp and we help with setting up and running the event which I am so excited about!

The farm is gorgeous. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived but it was not this. The farm sits on top of a hill over looking the Saco River Valley. Rolling hills of lush green paint the landscape surrounding us and rivers weave their way throughout the area. I’ve lived in rural areas but none as rural as this. We are totally engulfed in nature it’s magnificent.

Me and Caitlin, my roomie/coworker, live in a small studio apartment above my bosses parents garage (who are by the way some of the sweetest people ever) that is located on the farm and has an amazing view of the orchard and the valley. It’s a small space and there isn’t much privacy, but I grew up sharing a room with my sister so I’m no stranger to sharing a living space. I’m just grateful we have a kitchen and a bathroom. My bosses, Bill and Molly, who live right down the road are extremely welcoming and are very passionate about the environment and doing what’s right. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead on my journey!

– Jojo