Local managerial office staff from AAA Insurance Company asked us to put together a farm experience that would help their staff do some team building. And, put together - we did - so much so - that the corporate off site (New Jersey, California) managers flew in just for the experience because our agenda would take them all back to some basics.
Laurie, our farm experience planner decided to take this team . . . back to some basic which we call: Udder to Table.
On a crisp Friday morning, the team from AAA arrived at our farm just before 7am. Hot coffee and warm cinnamon rolls from Pistol Whipped Pastries were ready. Just before heading to the milk room, Michael cracked open a few dozen eggs and whipped up his farm special scramble.
After the egg scramble we led this team to our milk room. They gathered close to learn everything we know about the importance of proper handling from the goat to the udder to the teat to the pail to the processing room and then to cheese. Gretchen and I shared that as is the health of the animal, the pre-milking cleanliness procedures along with the equipment used to milk being sterile and then the procedure to process the milk ALL will effect the outcome of your cheese.
Laughs shared as several were chosen to learn how to hand milk a goat. Our girls are so patient with newbies. After refilling coffee cups - the team was led to our farm table where Gretchen took the fresh milk at just the perfect temperature to demonstrate how to make chevre.
Gretchen has this wonderful way to engage her cheese making class students - especially when she brings out a beautiful platter of cheese - for sampling.
After the team created their own rolls of chevre to take home it was time to experience the gardens of our farm with a talking/walking tour. We explained a bit of how we started and all that has unfolded to the present. We talked trees, herbs, chickens, goats, seasonal vegetables, CSA, caramels and answered all the questions they had.
After the tour - I handed big silver bowls and scissors to three people - then delegated them as Team Captain. They were instructed to choose 2 or 3 other people to be on their team and the mission was to "forage" for lunch. We provided the base of greens for their salad - but their task was to forage through our farm cutting, snipping, pulling whatever they wanted to add as "condiments" to the salad. They had 3 minutes to forage as a team.
Prior to being released to forage, we talked about the importance of foraging mindfully - to consider the seed, the soil, the growth and time it took for what they were harvesting to become food - additions to their salad. We let them know that whatever they foraged, harvested, picked and gathered would be for the salad for their team that they would clean, prepare and intentionally set their plate with.
As their farm style salads and our farm made pumpkin soup and baguettes were being enjoyed - conversation turned to answers to this question: What is your take away from today - from your team building experience at our farm.
Let's just say - Michael, Gretchen, Laurie and I were delightfully pleased and can't wait for another corporate organization to see the need to do some team building at our farm.
If that's you - your office - we'd love to serve you too. Contact us here.