Lydia Hall—now Lydia Sylvia—had never even visited the Vineyard when she took a job growing tomatoes at Morning Glory Farm. “It was kind of the right time to do something different,” she recalls.
“I never expected I would still be here when I moved up here,” says Lydia, who studied Spanish literature and culture at Bucknell University.
“I thought it would be a nice summer gig, and then I’d go back and end up settling down in Pennsylvania.”
That was 2012, and not only is Lydia still at Morning Glory—she runs one of its most important operations, growing all our field fruits: tomatoes, peppers and melons. Until this year, she also was a regular at our farmers market stand in West Tisbury.
“I like the physical part of it—being really active, feeling strong from all the work that I do here,” Lydia says.
“I love being outside, and eating and growing really good food is such a plus … and I’m working with some really great people.”
Head farmer Simon Athearn quickly realized Lydia’s potential.
“At first I was so appreciative of her thirst for farming knowledge,” he recalls.
“But then I realized what a savvy teacher she was. The staff love her because she teaches so easily. She is a confident, calm teacher who is able to explain complicated tasks to new farmhands readily.
“The way we do our tomato systems is kind of technical, and she can simplify it without dumbing it down.”
Over the years, Simon says, Lydia has outstripped him as the farm’s tomato expert.
“She is now a savvier tomato grower than I am, hands down,” he says. “She knows everything I know and has studied more recently—she knows these varieties better than we do. We’re lucky to have her.”
But we’re also happy to do without her, under the circumstances: Lydia and her husband Leigh Sylvia recently became the parents of a baby boy they’ve named Abraham, and she’s on leave of absence from the farm.
While we miss her, everyone at Morning Glory is thrilled by this addition to our “farmily.” And Lydia worked hard right up to within days of little Abraham’s birth—the proof is at the farmstand and in the fields, where we’re harvesting one of our best fruit crops in years. The peppers are outstanding, the tomatoes are starting to roll in beautifully—Thanks, Lydia, for all you do, and congratulations on motherhood! We know you’ll ace it.