Believe it or not, it takes more than a (still quite small) team of very talented potters to make East Fork happen. Our growing team of 17 is filled with honest, kind, and hardworking gems whose talents and interests far exceed their job descriptions - not that I'm biased. In a new biweekly series, I'll be introducing members of the East Fork team by asking them to photograph and talk about five significant objects in their home.
First up is Dan Segal, East Fork's facilities manager.
What do you do for East Fork?
So my title at East Fork is Facilities Manager. I've been working at East Fork since March of 2017. So I do a lot of different stuff, mainly maintain the equipment and facilities. That includes electrical, mechanical, carpentry, painting and plumbing. Today, for example, I worked on some tables I've built for the mold shop, popped over to the studio to grease up a really squeaky jigger, and worked on fixing up some used equipment that we recently bought.
Dan's Five Things
Tell me about the objects you chose.
My strawberry hat is my most prized article of clothing. I put the strawberry patch on it myself to cover up the truth that it is actually a Taco Bell hat. It's been worn-in through years of summer swimming hole adventures and many seasons of farm work.
It's held up well! Do you patch, mend, or alter other clothes often?
I used to do a lot more of patching holes in my jeans, but then I started buying more rugged work pants and when they go, they are pretty far past any hope of repair. My style has changed quite a bit since I made that hat, and it's kind of a holdover I guess.
How about the backgammon board?
The backgammon board represents, well, my love of backgammon. I've spent countless nights on the porch playing into the early hours of the morning with my closest friends. The combination of strategy and luck makes such a simple game endlessly exciting, especially when you're betting milkshakes.
Backgammon sounds fun - I've been wanting to learn myself. What's your go-to Cookout victory milkshake order?
Yeah, it's a super fun and easy game to learn. My go to shake is Oreo mint, but in the summer from July-August it's fresh watermelon all the way.
I put the baseball in there because I love baseball, but also because it symbolizes my connection to home and family. I grew up just outside Detroit and am a Tigers fan 'till the end (even if they did just finish a really rough season). I find my love of baseball - and the Tigers - to be a really good way to maintain the parts of my identity that are tied to where I grew up, even though I have grown and changed in many ways since I've left. Its also something that my family and I, especially my dad, really bond over.
I didn't know you grew up outside Detroit - when did you move to Asheville? Did you start off doing farming work when you moved here?
I moved to Asheville in 2008 to go to Warren Wilson. That got me interested in farming, but it wasn't until I graduated that I got my first farm job on an apple orchard in Santa Cruz, CA. I worked there for a year, then moved back to the Asheville area and worked on a handful of farms over the course of three years, including East Fork Farm, which is how I initially met Alex and John.
Cool. Now, I noticed a foreign mug in there...
The mug is a double whammy. I felt funny about including a non-East Fork mug for obvious reasons, but I chose this mug because it's a This American Life mug, which is supposed to represent my love of podcasts, and my love of coffee. There are few things I enjoy more than listening to one of my favorite podcasts while sipping a hot cup of black coffee.
Any podcast recommendations?
Well, This American Life is obviously a great one, a good mixture of storytelling and reporting. My heart lies with true story podcasts though, my favorite of which is Snap Judgment. I also like Reply All, 99% Invisible and Hidden Brain.
Now tell us about the gloves.
The gloves represent my most obsessive hobby of fixing up and riding old motorcycles. My safe space is in my workshop with my bikes, where I can be alone and focused on the task at hand. There is nothing more satisfying than riding a bike that I've poured hours of my time and sweat into.
How long have you been riding?
I really haven't been riding for that long. I bought my first bike from a neighbor of mine three years ago while I was working and living at East Fork Farm. So I learned how to ride on the mountain roads of Madison county, which is still my favorite place to ride.