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Jersey Farm Produce
Full SeasonPark Slope Winter 01/08 – 04/30
Fresh NowFruits + Vegetables: garlic, onions, scallions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, purple top turnip, yams, yukon gold potatoes, potatoes, carrots, red beets, buttercup squash, acorn squash, spinach, escarole, chard, kale, collards, kale, mustard greens, arugula
Hector Perez grew up on a farm in Veracruz, Mexico, and spent many childhood days with his grandfather as they walked the fields together. "We grew tomatoes, peppers, black beans, and sweet corn -- but mostly mangoes," Hector says.
He decided to study agricultural engineering in college, where he had his first experience growing in a greenhouse. He focused his studies on poinsettias, and by working with the flowering plant, he came to love the greenhouse environment. "When you grow in a greenhouse, you plant the seed and then you watch the plant everyday. Outside there can be too much rain or too much sun, and the plant may not survive. Inside the greenhouse, it's all on you. The care you give reflects the plant you get," he explains.
After college, Hector got a job working for Masaca, a flour and corn processing company in Mexico. At Masaca, he was a supervisor who focused on quality control. "But when I learned about farmers markets in the United States, I decided to move here to work on my English," he shares (in perfect English).
Once in the U.S., he began selling produce from Philips Farm in Milford, New Jersey at New York City farmers markets. Before too long, Phillips offered him a job on the farm, and eventually, Hector was able to begin farming his own land. Today he grows a wide range of produce on 97 acres, as well as in his farm's 13 greenhouses. His expertise in season extension allows him to offer a delicious variety of produce throughout the winter.
"I like the way we live," says Perez, who has a wife and a son. "It's also nice for me to see how much people enjoy the food we grow, and that makes me like to grow everything," he says.
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