Sarah Perreault | Senior Editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I live in New England, I love trivia and interesting pieces of information, and I enjoy working in my garden, kayaking and skiing with my husband and kids. I’m also a big fan of baseball! My favorite team is the Boston Red Sox.
What is The Old Farmer’s Almanac and what do you do there?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is a reference book that comes out every fall. It’s full of lots of interesting information, but it is best known for its weather predictions. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America, founded way back in 1792. That means the Almanac was around when George Washington was president! We are celebrating its 225th year.
I am the Almanac’s senior editor. My job includes writing, proofing and fact-checking all the things the Almanac releases every year — things like calendars, cookbooks, gardening magazines and both the Almanac for Kids and e Old Farmer’s Almanac. I am also very involved in the food section of our website, Almanac.com. I answer readers’ questions, test recipes and take photos for recipes on Almanac.com.
Where do you find information to put in The Old Farmer’s Almanac?
The editorial staff (there are six of us) sit down and brainstorm ideas that will give helpful information about gardening, food, history, nature and anything else we can think of. When fact checking the information in the articles, we do research to make sure our information is correct.
What kind of training does it take to do you job?
Editing involves a whole lot of reading, writing and research, so it’s important to have a college degree that involves those three things. For my job with the Almanac, my love for trivia and small, interesting bits of information has also come in handy. Editing is also a team effort, so people who want to be editors need to be able to work with many different kinds of people to create something like the Almanac.
Why is this work important/how does it apply to everyday life for most people?
Our goal is to make e Old Farmer’s Almanac useful every day of the year. You can look through the pages to find the weather where you live, and at the same time, a delicious pie recipe. If you are looking for some information on when to plant vegetables, you can also find the date of the full Moon and at what time the Sun sets. It’s also very rewarding to work at a publication that is as old as the Almanac. It’s like being connected to a piece of American history!
What is a typical day like for you?
I drive to work an hour each way, so I like to keep a consistent schedule, arriving at the once around the same time daily (8:30 a.m.). With editing, my daily tasks shift depending on the time of the year. I will either be working on The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Garden Guide, or any of the calendars we create. Every other year, we work on e Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids and usually a cookbook. A typical day for me is filled with research and fact checking. at means I spend most of my time reading, writing and hunting for information.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
I especially like writing our calendars, so when the opportunity arises, I plug in my iPod and start searching for fun and quirky facts and tips to ll up the grids. We create special calendars every year — some full of astronomy facts, some with recipes and food facts, and some for gardeners. But what I enjoy most about my work is interacting with my colleagues. I am constantly learning from them and they help me be better at my job.
Tell our readers something really cool about your work that most people don’t know.
We don’t just read, write and research — we also get to test recipes every year for our two annual recipe contests! I love to cook and bake, so testing the recipes is something I look forward to. We make and taste the recipes that are entered and then vote on the winners. That’s not typical of a job in publishing!
Where can people find out more about the Old Farmer’s Almanac?
To learn about e Old Farmer’s Almanac, you can visit Almanac.com, and of course pick up a copy! They are found everywhere books and magazines are sold. There are many almanacs out there, but only one Old Farmer’s Almanac — look for the yellow cover with Benjamin Franklin’s face on it.