Highland Center Welcomes New Employee

There’s a new face at The Highland Center in Monterey.

“My name is Ian Grinere. I am from Long Island, New York., and I just moved down here with my family about two months ago.”

I asked Ian what brought him and his family to Highland County.

“I have been traveling around the country for about four or five years, which has been phenomenal –  living in different cities, meeting different people having different experiences. And through all of that, I think I had seen them only two weeks in the past two years – and it just wasn’t enough. That, and I was really tired – (you) kind of get strung out doing a lot of that. So, I wanted to make a concerted effort to live close to them again. So when I moved back to New York, they actually informed me that they were moving down to Virginia. So, I thought I had one more in me. So we came down and checked the spot out. And then when we made our way out here to Highland County, it was serene, it was beautiful – the air quality, it was fantastic – a slower pace, a kind group of people that you’re able to talk to and converse with – and we kind of fell in love with it.”

He continued, “Not only that, but having the… luxury of having some of my experiences that I’ve gained in that time rub off on my family, so much so that they wanted to come down to a farm, because I had been doing a lot of organic farming around the country. So it’s kind of synching up perfectly for us to start an organic market garden. And it was when I got here and started selling some of my micro greens, or wares, at the Highland Farmers’ Market, that I got in contact with a few local people that offered me a position at The Highland Center. I am organizing and coordinating events, as well as handling some of the marketing that’s going on there. I am doing intermittent managing of the farmers market, which will hopefully eventually lead to me just managing it myself, as well as undertaking the design and, kind of, construction and/or building of the school garden and/or community park that will be happening.”

He spoke more about the future of his organic farm.

“It is in Headwaters, Virginia. Right now we’re in year zero, which is a lot of infrastructure building, and just getting all of our systems in place, as well as understanding the lay of the land for the first year – where the wind blows at certain times during the day, and soil quality here, doing some testing there, as well as networking. I found that, through travels and living in other small communities across the country, the more people you know, the more outlets you have to, not of course just make money, but to supply a community with quality, nutritious food, as well as supplying yourself with that need for camaraderie and community, and that is what we’re really trying to foster with that.”

“Right now, we are only producing micro greens, which I am selling at the Highland Farmers Market every Friday, which is something that I had learned along the way, and then had been selling to restaurants previously, and thought it would be a nice, easy way to transition into a small market where, again, I could network and meet people, not so much to make money, but to become ingrained in the community, if you will. But long term, we’d like to supply the area, the community, local restaurants, markets with quality, organic nutritious produce, ranging anywhere from, you know, your typical seasonal vegetables to more specific tailor made crops for one account or another. “

He concluded, “I would like to say thank you already to everyone that I’ve met that has been kind to me and my family that I have befriended already. And I greatly look forward to meeting a bunch of new people in the community that are willing just to be friends. And that’s really all we’re asking for.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

Current Weather