Jersey Farm Produce


Farmer
: Hector Perez
Location
: Milford, New Jersey
Native Country
: Mexico
Acres farmed
: 46
Years with NFDP
: 10
Products
: Vegetables, potted plants and flowers and small fruits

Where to find Jersey Farm Produce Products



"I have my own vision of agriculture.
I like to innovate and do new things
with a different approach."

 

 

 

What did you do before you became a farmer? I worked in construction. I was one of the people who carried bags of sand and concrete.

What was your motivation for becoming a farmer in the United States?
I thought about it. I hoped to work in agriculture. If I hadn't become part of the NFDP my experience would have been different.

In what way has your previous experience helped you in agriculture? When I came here, I was already an agronomist.

In the beginning as an NFDP farmer, what was the experience, tool or advice that helped you the most? Connecting with and working for another farmer to gain experience working on the farm and in markets. That was what helped me a lot.

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? Nothing, because I had the good fortune of learning a lot that year. I don't have anything I would have done more or less of; I learned a lot. But I studied agriculture, so it went faster for me.





Which benefit from being part of NFDP would you say has been the most important for you? There isn't one that hasn't been important. Everything that they do, each person needs in order to be able to start and do what they want. The microcredit fund is important, and also that they help you find markets.

Where do you sell your products? For Greenmarket, Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm in Bowling Green; Wednesdays in Tribeca; Fridays in City Hall; Saturdays in Williamsburg; Sundays in Carroll Gardens. I also sell at Community Markets' Park Slope market on Sundays.

Who helps you on the farm? Employees who help me are Jaime, my manager. He's in charge of planting, the same as I am. He prepares the soil, and transplants. Susan Rogers works in the greenhouses.

How would you describe your production practices?
I have 7 greenhouses where I plant vegetables to extend my growing season. I use drip irrigation. I never use pesticides in the greenhouse, or in any of the flowers or vegetables. In the field, I have 15 acres of produce on plastic where I don't use pesticides either.

Do you have plans to expand your business?
Just a small orchard with peaches, pears, plums, apples and cherries.

Whats the best part of being a farmer, in your experience? The satisfaction of working hard in the field and then being appreciated by the people of NYC through the Greenmarkets that they value what you do in the field.

What do you consider the greatest challenge or obstacle in agriculture?
It's really difficult for a farmer to establish a business. As a new farmer, it's hard to get credit, because they might not have enough "background," which is tough because they need machinery in order to work.

What keeps your customers coming back to your market stand?
My customers know that I avoid using pesticides. I apply my agricultural knowledge in order to not use pesticides.

What about your farm are you most proud of? I have my own vision of agriculture. I like to innovate and do new things, with a different approach.

What is the most important lesson you have learned as a farmer?
Not being afraid of changes, because agriculture is something that changes season to season.

What advice would you give to a new farmer?
Not starting a farm until they have experience doing markets, so they know what they should plant.

What will your farm be like in ten years?
With a very beautiful orchard and flowers at every turn.

What will be your next big investment in your farm? Buying it!

Check back soon for video of Hector and his farm!

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