Meet the Farmers
Bumbleroot Organic Farm is owned and operated by two families - The Whalens and The Fishers. Both families live on the farm in Windham, Maine. Ben, Melissa and Jeff work on the farm full time and manage the day-to-day field and business operations, and Jeff’s wife Abby helps when she’s not busy at her full-time job at Allagash Brewing Co. Bumbleroot is entering their 5th growing season, and the owners are thrilled to have two amazing employees returning in 2019. Dan Mickey and Madison Van Etten are hard working, fun-loving farmers who started at Bumbleroot in 2018 and have decided to come back in the spring for round two. Read on to learn more…
Hailing from Massachusetts, Ben first gained an interest in agriculture working on a cattle ranch in California. He has since worked on farms in Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, and now Maine! He prefers his guitar turned up to 11 and loves the scent of lavender. His spirit animal is a Kodiak Bear. Roar.
On the farm, Ben does everything from seeding greens to weeding and harvesting, and he handles all the fence building and accounting for Bumbleroot. On his days off you can find him building a house for his wife Melissa and his dog Bowie.
Born in neighboring New Hampshire, Melissa's love for growing food comes from eating, traveling the globe and studying herbalism. Her favorite food is ice cream and she'll take rainbow sprinkles over chocolate any day. She fancies herself ruler of the island of Catan.
You can find Melissa in the field munching on tasty snacks and trying to keep up with Jeff, Ben and the farm dogs. She runs Bumbleroot's cut flower program, takes care of the flower and herb fields, and tweaks the website when she has a free minute.
Jeff found his way to the east coast by way of Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Colorado, but was born and raised in Iowa. Jeff loves cats, the NYTimes Best Sellers list, and existing in this world as a lefty. He is a wizard in the kitchen and dominates his fantasy football league.
Jeff is our crop-planner, field-prepper, and heavy lifter. He builds things, fixes things, and makes sure everything gets done on time. Don't try to race him- you'll never win. He lives on the farm with his wife Abby, their new baby girl Josephine and their pup Sal.
Abby made her way to Maine following her passion for delicious food and beer after working in a hut in the White Mountains and on a schoolbus-turned-kitchen in Colorado. She prefers glades over groomers, and as a native Long Islander, she knows a good bagel when she eats one.
Abby works full-time at Allagash Brewing Company, but we put her to work in the field on her days off. She's our marketing and newsletter magician, recipe tester, and she keeps the farm fridge packed with tasty brews. If you spot Abby on the farm or at a farmers’ market she’ll often have her cute daughter Josie in her arms.
Bowie joined the farm back in July of 2015, and has officially filled the role of Bumbleroot safety officer. He always knows where everyone is and makes it his job to keep everyone in line (especially his pal Sal). He specializes in potato-digging, frisbee-playing, and keeping all birds out of our fields (very helpful indeed). He loves rolling around in anything brown. He's a farm dog if ever there was one- now we just need some animals for him to herd!
Sally "Mustang" Fisher is our second-youngest Bumbleroot farmer (after Jo-Bess) and Bowie's bigger half. She gives him kisses all day long and reminds him to eat his breakfast when he forgets. She loves romping around, smiling, and welcoming any newcomer to the farm. Don't know what we'd do without her happy-go-lucky attitude; she reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.