Farmer In Residence
The Inn at Little Washington is pleased to introduce our Farmer in Residence, Molly Carey. With a passion for Earth science and healthy food that sprouted in her childhood in Rockville, Maryland, Molly oversees all farming operations at the Inn, including multiple vegetable gardens, a dwarf cherry tree orchard, and a 672-square-foot greenhouse, all of which yield 8,000 pounds of the highest-quality produce annually for the menu of Chef/Proprietor Patrick O’Connell. She also tends to the chicken coop, sheep, llamas and goats on the property’s “Field of Dreams.”
On one side of her family, Molly was the granddaughter of a dairy farmer/experimental gardener. On the other side, she was the granddaughter of a larger-scale vegetable farmer on her home state’s Eastern Shore. Though she was too young to remember, her parents still have pictures of her riding on the tractor through the sandy fields in Salisbury, Maryland. Molly attributes her passion for farming to the laborious work of both her grandfathers. Both sides of her family joke about how the “farming gene” skipped an entire generation, plus a multitude of capable siblings and cousins, to land specifically—and solely—with her.
Growing her own vegetables and herbs had always been a hobby for Molly. She became fascinated with food, health and nutrition at a young age, and loved experimenting with new ingredients in the kitchen. In her free time, she enjoyed maintaining her container garden on her parents’ porch and volunteering in community gardens and organic vegetable farms in the D.C. Metro Area. She earned a degree in Strategic Communications from Elon University, and after graduating in 2013, worked at various science education nonprofits in Washington, D.C.
It was not until she was working in the development department at the U.S. National Arboretum that she had her career epiphany. She had originally thought that simply applying her professional background to her passion for the environment would be sufficient, but after a year of strolling through the beautiful, 500-acre property and volunteering in the Arboretum’s Washington Youth Garden, Molly realized that she wanted to be the one getting her hands dirty—full-time.
In 2014, she ventured to the rainforest of Costa Rica to work at Rancho Margot, a self-sufficient eco-lodge in the Arenal region. Amidst the howler monkeys, ranch animals and lush landscapes, Molly grew and cultivated organic produce for the hotel’s restaurant. She loved all aspects of her job at the Ranch, including planting, harvesting, garden design, animal husbandry, greenhouse work and speaking to tour groups.
Upon returning to the states, and with locally-grown food at the foreground of her mind, Molly immediately began working for Farmstead Ferments, a Virginia-based fermentation group, which utilizes local sourcing and grows a good portion of its own product ingredients. Simultaneously, Molly pursued a farm apprenticeship at The Inn at Little Washington, and instantly fell in love with the establishment and its Farm-to-Table program. Her love of food, hospitality and farming finally meshed.
After “overwintering” in the floral department and on the grounds crew at the Inn, Molly returned to the Farm for a second season as Farm Assistant, and could not have imagined a better place to begin to lay down her roots. Now, as Farmer in Residence, she looks forward to another fruitful season at the Inn, and hopes to continue to make her grandfathers proud.
When she’s not on the farm or working in the greenhouse, Molly loves making her own ferments, perfecting her breakfast recipes, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, reading, and playing outdoors with friends and with the greenhouse cat, Beaker.