As you know if you've spent five minutes with us, the Four Root farmers love each other as family and genuinely get real joy from working together as intimately as farming requires. As a four-person team we have a productive and healthy diversity of skills. We are farmers, architects, musicians, athletes, historians, dog people, cat people, miniature Scottish Highland people, enthusiastic cilantro eaters, and enthusiastic anti-cilantro eaters. We all love soup. One of us is a baby.
Aaron Taylor came to farming gradually, via a childhood in Burlington, Vermont, degrees in early music and political science from Wesleyan University, and a job in a prominent Manhattan immigration law firm. Aaron and Caitlin met at Wesleyan, shortly before Aaron’s graduation, and moved together to New York City, where they lived in a charming but microscopic apartment in Harlem and grew chronically malnourished tomato plants in the shade of the apartment tower next door. When they moved to New Haven for Caitlin to attend graduate school in 2010, Aaron fatefully started volunteering at Massaro Community Farm in Woodbridge, where he soon became the Assistant Farm Manager. While at Massaro, Aaron fell hard for agriculture – the messy, back-breaking, chaotic world of farming suited his inclination towards working with his hands, being outdoors, his love of food and cooking, his incredible attention to detail, and his taste for intermittent bursts of overwhelming amounts of work. As our business grows and as we make investments in permanent infrastructure on the farm, Aaron himself constitutes the entire building and infrastructure team. Yes, he goes to the hardware store three days a week, yes he designed our entire irrigation system from scratch, and yes he is a human excavator when necessary. He also manages harvest and wholesale accounts, teaches the baby how to seed and plant, is the founder, chairman, and dictator-for-life of the now-defunct Team Salad Greens, and was recently appointed the Market Manager for our Madison farmers market.
Rachel Berg is a Connecticut local, having grown up in Bethany and run competitively on the Hopkins cross country team in high school. Before studying history at the University of Chicago, she joined the Howard Dean for America campaign, where she worked in the scheduling office. After college and year of WOOFing, she found herself back in central Connecticut managing farmers' markets for CitySeed and volunteering at Boulder Knoll Community Farm in Cheshire. In 2010, she became a volunteer at Massaro, where she met Aaron and realized that farming was her career. She left Massaro after three seasons to attend the University of Vermont Farmer Training Program, but came back to join her partners and build our new farm business. Rachel bakes the best challah ever on the face of this green earth, loves presidential history almost as much as she loves farming, has an uncanny memory for dates, and can smell a ripe cantaloupe from - literally - a mile away. She is our field manager, master bed-prepper, and enthusiastic carrot-weeder. Rachel manages all our money on the farm with a precise and watchful eye, has recently been elected to the Advisory Committee for CitySeed markets, sits on the steering committee of the New CT Farmer Alliance, and is the treasurer for our Madison farmers market.
Elise Cusano is a born-and-bred Connecticutian, and is New Haven pizza royalty. After attending Skidmore College and studying English Literature, Elise moved back to Connecticut and took a job at CitySeed, where she very fatefully met Rachel. After a stint as a Market Manager, she worked at Kitchen Garden Farm in Massachusetts, and at Massaro (where she met Aaron), before taking a job as the Farm Manager at Northfordy Farm in Northford. For three seasons at Northfordy, Elise worked with animals as well as plants and managed to grow the largest rainbow chard anyone has ever seen. Above and beyond being a brilliant and dedicated farmer, Elise has a plant intuition that runs deeper than knowing when the beets need to be weeded and she is as thoughtful with plants as she is with people. Watching her read the tiniest, most imperceptible signals from a crop about what it's lacking, or why it's thriving, is pure magic. Elise manages our propagation and greenhouse, fertilization and soil amendments, and monitors our plants health through the season. She is also our chief tomato-grafter, perennial manager, is in charge of our ever-expanding flower growing operation, and dutiful leader of the canning, preserving, and pickling department.
Caitlin Taylor is a practicing architect focused on the role of architecture in network-scale infrastructural design, as well as the productive overlap between agriculture and architecture. Caitlin has a degree in Biochemistry from Wesleyan University, and a Masters of Architecture from Yale University. When not at the farmers' market, writing our blog, chasing a very cute baby, daydreaming about her imaginary book deal, or masterminding a plan to grow more and more of the weirdest and most unusual crops she can get her hands on, Caitlin might be found developing her award-winning designs as the co-founder of the Water Pore Partnership, teaching architecture at Yale and Columbia, or on the construction site for one of her ongoing projects. Along with Elise, Caitlin leads our continued efforts at breaking into the world of organic cut flower growing, and over-enthusiastically manages the hot sauce department. She spends summers crouched down in the flower beds examining imperceptible differences in color and texture while simultaneously composing bouquets for market and cheerfully obsessing about humans’, plants’, and buildings’ precise location in geologic time relative to the apocalypse.