“I was named for a comic book character, Red Sonja, in Conan the Barbarian,” Sonja laughs. “My Dad did that to me!”
Sonja is an eighth-generation Vermonter, born and raised in Burlington, which is Vermont’s largest city. “That’s not saying much,” she says. “The entire state probably has a smaller population than Seattle.” She attended the University of Vermont in 2013, but decided to travel rather than graduate. She headed west and drove across the US, ending up at a friend’s in Olympia.
She heard about Port Angeles and decided to check it out. In the process she discovered the Olympic Peninsula. In her student days in Vermont, she had volunteered on local farms, so she worked for a short time at Spring Rain Farm in Chimacum. “The so-called local movement really began in New England. I worked in a really good restaurant called the Penny Cluse Café that was totally into buying seasonally and fresh from local farms. We made everything from scratch, so working on farms here was not a big stretch for me.”
Sonja likes working outdoors, so last August she applied at Nash’s. She has proven to be an energetic and hard-working person with lots of talent and knowledge of food. Like all of the staff, her job consists of a little of everything—harvesting, packing, and weeding. She is very impressed with the longer growing season that we enjoy here in Sequim. “By now in Vermont, you would be in full harvest mode, but close to winding things down,” she remembers. “Here we are just getting into the full season and we’ll be harvesting all fall and into the winter. It’s pretty wild!”
Sonja is a professional cook and has worked in several restaurants. She enjoys all aspects of food and local food systems, and really feels that it is important to support the people who grow food locally, to get the best flavors and highest nutrition possible. “It’s getting back to basics, something our culture has almost lost. I’m glad to find it here in such abundance!”