Suzy Strom was born and raised in Alaska. She got into farming when she was living in New Hampshire for a few years and worked on a farm there. “It was a joy to learn how to bring food out of the ground—a foreign concept in Alaska!”
Suzy started on the packing crew in November 2013. She was very quickly singled out as an innovative thinker. For years, Nash had wanted to grow greenhouse tomatoes, but did not have an employee with the expertise to take charge of such a project. Suzy had learned the skill in New Hampshire and Nash asked her to do some research and find out what it would take to make it happen here.
She jumped in with diligence and enthusiasm. She researched the best and most cost-effective greenhouse structures and appropriate tomato varieties. Once the greenhouse components were delivered, she directed its construction. She acquired the tomato seeds and starts and the tomato greenhouse has been growing ever since!
The farm in New Hampshire was a conventional commercial enterprise, so changing to organic greenhouse growing has given Suzy some challenges. She has found variety selection to be a little problematic. “Nash’s farm is so close to the Strait, and is a little cooler than other places on the Peninsula,” she says. “People recommend varieties that sometimes don’t meet expectations.” She also is continuously educating herself about tomato diseases, since she does not apply any pesticides or fungicides to her plants. “I am so grateful to my colleagues Waylon Barrett and Chris Tipton, because they turn me on to resources where I can find answers, and they inspire me with their love of organic farming.”
Despite the challenges, Suzy also finds rewards being a greenhouse manager. “I love finding new varieties and having unexpected successes,” she laughs. “The Gold Nugget cherry tomato was one of those, and the Indigo Cherry Drops. They are a deep purple color until they get ripe, then they turn to a deep black-red. They taste great!” She says her best moment of the year is when she finds the first ripe tomato of the season.