Food Journal: How a 31-year-old organic farmer in Newport, Maine eats from $30,000

Food Journal: How a 31-year-old organic farmer in Newport, Maine eats from $30,000

  • Foods
  • January 13, 2023
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Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend on it. Each food diary follows an anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to food, restaurant meals, coffee breaks, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food prices, The Receipt shows how people – from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules – calculate their grocery budgets.

In today’s receipt, a 31-year-old organic farmer in rural Maine who makes $30,000 a year (her pay includes free produce, milk and half a pig) cooks all her meals with farm-sourced ingredients. Read on for their receipts.

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Finances

what are your pronouns you/they

What is your profession? I am an organic farmer. The farm grows approximately 2.4 acres of vegetables during the summer season, which feeds over 180 families in our Community Supported Farming Program (CSA). We also sell vegetables a la carte via online orders every weekend. The farm also has cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks for the benefit of the family who owns the farm and four (including me) full-time employees. Finally, we grow and sell native perennials, both direct to consumers and wholesale to seed companies.

In the summer I spend my days harvesting and washing vegetables before picking them up on Wednesday, planting seedlings and pulling weeds. However, at this time of year we are working on larger projects such as building a new animal barn, arranging storage space and the annual seed order.

How old are they? 31

What city and state do you live in? Newport, Maine

What is your annual salary if you have one? I get paid $16.50 an hour before taxes and I end up making about $30,000 a year doing overtime in the summer. My compensation also includes free produce, milk and half a pig a year.

How much is an after-tax salary? Usually around $1,200. More in the summer with overtime.

How often do you get paid? (e.g. weekly) The 1st and 16th of each month.

How much money do you have in savings? Almost nothing at the moment. We take a two week unpaid break around Christmas and New Years and my small stash is always exhausted at this time of year.

What are your approximate monthly fixed expenses other than food? (i.e. rent, subscriptions, bills)

Total: $1,089.24 Rent (including utilities): $850 Chewy Autoship (cat food): $124.78 YouTube TV: $54.99 Hulu/Disney+: $17.95 Amazon Prime: $14.99 Audible: 15 $.99 Spotify: $10.54

The diet

Do you follow a specific diet or have any dietary restrictions? I try to eat mostly wholesome and organic food. I like to support local farms in the area as best I can. I also eat seasonally because I get produce for free from the farm I work on and each of my meals contains ingredients from the farm. I love cooking veg-filled recipes and I make almost everything from scratch. My dream is to make my own dairy products like cheese and sour cream, but I’m not there yet.

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