Behind The Scenes At Cherry Crest
Behind the Scenes at Cherry Crest Farm
It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to prepare Cherry Crest Adventure Farm for guests! Lots of little details need attention every single day, some multiple times each day. Ever wonder what all goes on before (and after) we are open for the day? Read on for a sneak peek behind-the-scenes at the farm!
Early Morning Office Work
There’s usually someone in the Cherry Crest office by at least 8am, and sometimes even earlier (especially on special event days). For most of the supervisors, the bulk of the day is spent down on the farm, so the early morning is the best time to catch up on emails or voicemails that may have accumulated. The daily schedule is printed out, one for each supervisor, as well as a fairly comprehensive “day-at-a-glance.” This sheet is the primary communication between the Office Supervisor (who handles reservations, Gathering Barn and Camp Fire rentals, large group outings, etc) and the supervisory team.
Other early morning tasks might include printing and laminating new signs, answering the phone, making scheduling decisions based on the forecast, calling around to replace a sick employee, and more!
Our food prep room is bustling with activity as early as 7:30 or 8am! While we cook the hot food throughout the day, there is a lot of prep work done ahead of time to keep the food lines running quickly and smoothly. Fruit and vegetables are chopped, wraps and salads are made, sweetcorn ears are covered in foil, cookies and other baked goods are made and packaged, and more! The prep room is the hub of activity for all the food stations across the property, so bins are prepared each morning for the supplies that each station will need for the day, based on an inventory taken the night before. These bins must be ready to go out to their respective stations as soon as the morning meeting is finished!
And the prep work doesn’t stop after we’ve opened for the day… at least one person is solely responsible for keeping up with the prep needs throughout the day! This entails everything from making more soft pretzels and baking more cookies, to rolling more wraps and cutting more fruit. The job requires constant trips to the walk-in refrigerator and freezer, as well as trips to dry storage up at the house. There’s never a dull moment in the prep room!
Opening Up Attractions
Though the amount varies, most of our attractions require some set-up and tear down each day. The Barnyard, Courtyard and Maze Supervisors are responsible for getting that process started by unlocking buildings and storage closets, and turning on equipment. When the scheduled employee comes in to work, they have an opening checklist to follow to make sure the station is ready to go. Some stations involve a safety checklist and sign-off as well, such as the Jump Pillow, the Hay Chute Slide, and the Straw Bale Racer. Did you ever notice that the giant slides are directly beneath a berry tree? It must be swept off every day so that guests don’t get squished berry juice on their clothes. And the Jump Pillow slides must be squee-geed off every morning if it’s rained the night before. The pedal carts get put away every night, as do the tractors, so they all must be brought back out before the day begins. In the maze, the guides fill water barrels with fresh water and restock mailboxes.
At 9:45am (9:30am on busy days), all of our staff members meet in the Courtyard food tent for a brief devotional and informational meeting. We share a short devotional with them that usually ties into an overall theme. In the past, we’ve worked through books like The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn, 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player by John Maxwell, Eat More Chikin, Inspire More People by S. Truett Cathy, and more. These devotionals are intended to inspire our employees, both in their work at Cherry Crest and in their personal lives if they so choose. We like to say that we’re also in the business of “growing” people, especially the teens and young people we have working for us!
The other half of this morning meeting is usually informational. We want our employees to be aware of what’s happening on the farm, so we give information about special groups coming in, how many summer camps will be attending, any attractions that may be down for maintenance or have a delayed opening, and more.
After a prayer for the day, our employees split off into smaller groups to meet with their respective supervisors for any details that pertain specifically to their areas. With that, our day is off and running!
Ongoing Office Work
Our Office Supervisor is kept busy throughout the whole day, answering the phone quite a bit and taking reservations for rentals and groups in the future. She handles our payroll, makes time clock corrections, does much of the supply ordering for the farm, and maintains the office supplies. She handles many of our files and records, and is extremely organized when it comes to knowing exactly where something is located. She also oversees all employee paperwork, which is quite the task considering Cherry Crest has almost 200 employees!
Shop Work and Property Maintenance
As you can imagine, it takes a lot to maintain a real working farm! We have several farm hands who work year round to fix equipment, plow and maintain the fields, and do “handyman” type jobs around the farm. Our tractors and mechanized equipment are checked every morning to make sure they’re running properly, as well as filled with gas so nobody gets stranded on their ride. You can count on them to show up with a tape measure, cordless drill, hammer and nails, or duct tape whenever you need them!
Our custodians check the restrooms and trash cans every morning, as well as wipe off tables, restock paper towels, and pick up any trash that might have blown in overnight. They are constantly cleaning throughout the day (our restrooms are cleaned hourly), and are always on the look-out for trash. When things get a bit slow in the summertime, you might find them weeding or watering the flowers.
Not only is there behind-the-scenes work happening physically here on the farm, but we’re keeping up socially too! Our Entertainment & Creativity Supervisor maintains our social media pages by checking in to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter many times throughout the day. She answers questions, posts photos, and live updates our special events. Creating unique, shareable content is not as easy as you might think, so often her down time is spent planning contests and generating content!
When the Day is Done
The work certainly doesn’t end at exactly 5pm when we close our gates! All of our stations and attractions have a closing checklist that must be completed before the scheduled employee goes home for the night. Since we are an outside business, many of our supplies and activities must be cleaned up and put away overnight. Many stations will prepare for the next day before they leave for the evening, if they have tasks that can be done that far in advance, such as stocking. Electronics get powered down, the restrooms and food areas will get a final cleaning, and floors of all the stations get swept and mopped.
Through It All, We Like to Have FUN!
While there is a lot of work that goes on behind-the-scenes at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, we also like to have a lot of fun! Life is too short to be miserable at work, so we do our best to promote a happy atmosphere!