Volunteer of the Month: Flora Gee

February 27, 2013

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.

If you enjoy getting your weekly CUESA e-letter, Flora Gee might have played some part in getting it to you. Since 2009, Flora has come to the CUESA office every Tuesday to help with much-needed office work. Whether she’s deciphering hand-written e-letter forms or helping stuff envelopes, Flora is always willing to lend a helping hand.

“Flora leaves little sweet treats on the staff members’ desks every holiday,” says Christine Farren, CUESA’s Director of Development. “There will be an orange for Lunar New Year or a pink-foil-covered chocolate heart for Valentine’s Day. It’s the kindest gesture from the kindest person. Besides being so agreeable and easy to work with, Flora is an inspiration to anyone looking at how to live a rich life post-retirement. She’s active, offers great feedback on how to improve our data-entry systems, and continually adapts to our needs. She owns up to being three-quarters of a century plus; I can only hope I do this much and look this good when I am her age!” We are thrilled to recognize Flora as Volunteer of the Month.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?

Flora: In addition to volunteering with CUESA, I also volunteer at the USO down at the San Francisco Airport every Friday afternoon. Saturday mornings I help at the food pantry run by my church. When I’m not volunteering, I enjoy time with family and friends, go on day trips with the YMCA or the Jewish Community Center, or just do “me activities.” I’ve taken up loom knitting, create my own patterns for hats, scarfs, and neck warmers, and often get ideas from my niece while collaborating with her on knitting projects. I attend exercise activities twice a week at the Stonestown YMCA’s Senior Center, doing Qiqong and an adaptive yoga class for seniors. These help me become flexible and maintain balance and good health. Each year I look forward to the start of football season; attending games in person or watching TV, and rooting for local professional and college teams.

CUESA: What made you want to volunteer for CUESA?

Flora: Before I retired, I worked as an executive assistant for a private equity company across the street from the Ferry Building. I’d come to the market every Tuesday just to stroll along the Embarcadero and pick up vegetables and fruits that were in season. Before retiring in June 2009, I decided that I wanted to stay involved in the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market scene. Through talking to Christine, a CUESA staff member, I realized that I’d like to volunteer during my retirement. Volunteering with CUESA is a great way to stay connected to the market community.

CUESA: What do you enjoy most about the market?

Flora: I enjoy the friendliness of the farmers and the camaraderie that one experiences interacting with the growers. It’s all very interesting and fun to be at the market.

CUESA: What’s your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?

Flora: My favorite thing to make in the kitchen is soup. I like to use the crockpot, with no specific recipe, just adding whatever vegetables and herbs I may have picked up at the market. I usually come up with a minestrone-type soup served with Acme Bread, and sometimes add oxtail for a delicious wintry-day stew. For Thanksgiving, I make winter melon soup, which I’ve been doing for the last few years. I prepare a big pot of my own combination of ingredients to take to my nephew’s house for the annual feast.

CUESA: Do you have any seasonal market tips for our shoppers?

Flora: I think the best way to experience the market is to just walk through the stands and see what catches my eye. Season-wise, I look forward to the stone fruits: white peaches and nectarines, apricots, and pluots. The farm stand I visit the most is probably McGinnis Ranch because of the beautiful flowers available every week. Right now the tulips are fabulous! Sometimes there are irises that have double blooms. Their baby carrots make good munchies to snack on.

CUESA: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Flora: There are so many interesting things around the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It has given me the opportunity to try many new foods that I may never have discovered otherwise. There’s a good feeling about coming down to the market and seeing the many shoppers and the diverse selection of fruits and vegetables. The vendors are friendly, and the CUESA staff is great to be with every Tuesday. The experience of being part of CUESA is in itself rewarding.

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