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Farmers: Ana and Fily Angel
Location: Goshen, New York
Native Country: Mexico
Acres farmed: 14
Years with NFDP: 7
Products: Vegetables, Mexican specialties, herbs and flowers
"Every person comes with a mission, that no matter how difficult it is, youre going to end up doing it. And mine is definitely to be a farmer."
What did you do before you became a farmer? I did everything. If I had to sell tacos, tamales, I sold them. If I had to work, I worked.
What was your motivation for becoming a farmer in the United States? My motivation to eat healthy, fresh vegetables, like in your own country, free of pesticides.
In what way has your previous experience helped you in agriculture? It's helped me to be a successful farmer. Because Im still doing it I've survived five years. Also, with knowing how to plant; how to rotate the crops; when its time to put them in; when theyre ready.
In the beginning as an NFDP farmer, what was the experience, tool or advice that helped you the most? I didnt have anything I just had myself and my work.
If you could go back and do over that first year of being an NFDP farmer, what would you change, or what do you do differently?
I would change everything. First, I would think twice about becoming a farmer. Then, I would be a volunteer, do more research into the problems of farming, and yes, then I would end up being a farmer, because every person comes with a mission, that no matter how difficult it is, youre going to end up doing. And mine is definitely to be a farmer.
Which benefit from being part of NFDP would you say has been the most important for you? The technical and economic support.
Where do you sell your products? For Greenmarket, Wednesdays we're in Astoria, Thursdays in Williamsburg, Fridays in Corona, Saturdays in Sunset Park and Sundays in Tompkins. We also have three CSAs -- Brooklyn Beet, Neighborhood School and Community Access. Who helps you on the farm? My husband and I, and some employees we have. Fily is the tractor driver, the sower, the plantar Im nothing more than the ideas and the one who gets rid of the weeds.
How would you describe your production practices? I try to be as organic as possible. I'm not certified, but everything is organic. When I have a beetle problem, I ask Michelle to sell me something organic to control them. I buy organic seeds. The only thing missing is the certification.
Do you have plans to expand your business? Yes, of course. Planting greater quantities, giving work to more people.
Whats the best part of being a farmer, in your experience? The satisfaction of taking vegetables to market, to the pregnant women, to the children; to see a customer time and again, and hear the thanks, and that the vegetables are so delicious. That the children who are allergic to vegetables from the supermarket can eat my tomatoes without any reaction.
What do you consider the greatest challenge or obstacle in agriculture? Not having the right equipment.
What keeps your customers coming back to your market stand? They come back for the freshness of the vegetables, for the taste and because they know theyre the freshest in the market.
What about your farm are you most proud of? Im proud of myself, that even being a woman, I continue farming after four years. That even through dealing with negative people, I persevere and get ahead.
What is the most important lesson you have learned as a farmer? The biggest lesson that has impacted me the most is that I never thought it would be so hard to survive as a farmer.
What advice would you give to a new farmer? If its a small farmer, that first they go volunteer in many farms, that they research all the challenges and obstacles. If its a large farmer, theyll have their wallet and wont have any problems, because the biggest challenge for a farmer are not having the necessary equipment.
What will your farm be like in ten years? In 10 years, it will have a building, a cooler, and a greater variety of vegetables.
What will be your next big investment in your farm? To create a certified kitchen to make value-added, processed products.