MEET THE TEAM
Terra Flora is a manifestation of what we love: farming & flavor
Maggie, along with her fiancé, Sean, is one of the co-founders and creators of Terra Flora. She gained her passion for gardening when she was a kid, when her family had a backyard garden every summer. The experience of harvesting vegetables for dinner with her parents and little sister is one that drove her towards farming as a career, and a memory she reflects on fondly while harvesting from the farm even now.
Maggie became a flight attendant two days after graduating college; it was a career started by her desire to meet new people and explore the world before "settling down." She is still employed with a US international airline, but her primary and most-loved job is farmer.
At the height of the covid pandemic, Maggie and Sean moved to Harborside, Maine to work at Four Season Farm. This was Maggie's first farming experience, and during her second season she worked as Assistant Farm Manager to Sean's role as Farm Manager.
During her time at Four Season Farm Maggie had the opportunity to experiment with edible flowers, which sparked her intrigue in flower farming for chefs and arrangements. Picking wildflowers as a kid was one of her favorite springtime activities, and to be stepping into flower farming warms the heart of her inner child.
Her interest in coffee roasting grew in tandem with Sean's as they delved into the flavor nuances of various brewing methods and the quality of small-batch roasters.
An unexpected interest also blossomed while at Four Season Farm: farm-inspired mixology. With access to unique ingredients and top-of-the-line fresh produce, Maggie began creating cocktails that highlighted seasonal ingredients and flavors. Maggie & Sean's ultimate goal is to open a coffee and cocktail bar where they can sell their coffee, as well as showcase their farm through curated cocktails.
Maggie is always seeking out opportunities for growth (pun intended) and learning, and to looks forward to expanding her knowledge of farming, flower growing & arranging, and coffee roasting.
Sean is one of Terra Flora's co-founders. Sean's career in food and farming began with his fascination for flavor. He had a deep interest in the origins of flavor in regard to plant genetics and growing practices. "Those who don't like tomatoes haven't had one fresh from the vine" is a mantra he repeats often.
Sean first spent time in the research field with NC State University studying small scale farming practices in Eastern North Carolina before accepting an apprenticeship at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York.
It was in the fields and greenhouses of Stone Barns that Sean had the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in farming today, all while growing for one of the top restaurants in the world: Blue Hill.
After his apprenticeship, Sean moved back down to North Carolina and worked outside of Asheville with Evan Chender of the Culinary Gardener, continuing to learn and grow for the top restaurants and chefs in the area.
After spending two years working in the beer canning industry, Sean moved with Maggie to Harborside, Maine where he worked at Four Season Farm as Assistant Farm Manager for one season, and Farm Manager for another. There he honed systems that he would bring to their future farm and learned the joys (and hair-greying stresses) of running a farm.
Exemplified by the farmers and chefs of Stone Barns, The Culinary Gardener, and Four Season Farm, the caliber of excellence, diligence, creativity, and precision resulted in Sean's sense of irrevocable pride for what he does. This is made evident through the flavors on a plate, the quality of product he oversees, and his dedication to his work.
Sean's drive and passion for growing has remained unchanged as he continues to learn about unique varieties and best growing practices to include on the farm.
Lawton has spent the past 6 years learning about natural farming practices in the idyllic Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon. There he focused on natural and regenerative agriculture in the context of medicinal cannabis farms, which highlights not only the highest level of plant health, but soil health as well.
Using materials already growing in an area, Lawton learned how to feed a farm's soil and plants. This practice was informed by his understanding of natural farming philosophies that indicate building up soil microbiology as the most sustainable method for growing high quality produce.
His passion for farming came along with a passion for sustainability, natural inputs, mycology, and microbiology. He also shares a deep love of foraging wild foods and medicines. All of these things feed his excitement for life-long learning.
Lawton and Sean met in their freshman dorm and became close friends over their shared values and interests: unique dining and drinking experiences, family, laughter, and joyous expressions of love. Their biggest pipedream at the time was to own a farm and grow all of their own food. When Sean and Lawton met Maggie on a trip to New Orleans, the three became fast friends.
The opportunity arose for Lawton to join Sean and Maggie in actualizing the dream from years ago, and he happily threw his lot in with theirs. He picked up his life in southern Oregon and moved across the country in late 2021 to join the team. The shared dedication to farming, enthusiasm for flavor, and zest for life has been a lasting bond that makes every day on the farm fun and productive.
One thing that is a constant in Lawton's life is gathering for meals. Coming from a large family, mealtime during holidays was usually the only time the whole clan came together in one space. The flavors, smells, sights and sounds of a family meal are memories that warm Lawton's heart.
His mother and father made dinner every night and shared a meal at a table with the family. His mother would make bread and confections and his brother made his famous chocolate chip cookies, regularly. Sneaking bites of dough was Lawton's favorite treat. Love of food (and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations) drove Lawton to begin his career in food service.
When he was 15, he began working in the local pizza parlor. After high school and through college he worked in more pizza parlors, delis, steamers, short order kitchens, fine dining restaurants, and even a produce delivery business. Working in the business exposed him to more flavors, and a short trip to Asia in college cemented his love for travel and food exploration.
All of these experiences gave Lawton a desire to grow food with the utmost flavor, in order to share with others that experience of falling in love with good food.