Farmer Dave was raised on Marsh Hill in Dracut, Massachusetts. At an early age he began working on the Brox Farm in Dracut, learning the intricacies of New England farming from John Brox who had been tilling that land since the 1920s.
After graduating from college Farmer Dave served in the Peace Corps as a crop extensionist. In the Andes of Ecuador he taught organic agriculture and worked with farmers to improve their soil health, crop yields, irrigation systems, crop storage, animal health, and marketing methods. All these efforts bettered their families’ nutrition and livelihood. Upon returning from Ecuador in 1997 he began leasing the Brox Farm, growing vegetables and flowers.
In 2003 he was asked to offer his fresh products to a neighboring community and began also leasing the East Street Farm in Tewksbury. He also began farming two other small local farms and turned the rundown pastures into verdant fields. Working closely with those trying to preserve farmland for future agriculture, in 2006 he finally purchased his own farm in Dracut from the Leczynski family. This became known as Farmer Dave’s Dumaresq Farm, or simply “Farmer Dave’s.” With this new and largest farm, Farmer Dave is growing for the future by planting a wide variety of long term crops including apples, blueberries, raspberries and herbs. More recently Farmer Dave also began growing fruit at the Hill Orchard in Westford. There he not only harvests tons of sweet peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots, but also offers ten acres of pick your own apples.
From 2011-2014 Farmer Dave continued his passion of helping those less fortunate by spending several winters in the Republic of Georgia. In this most southern of the former soviet republics, Farmer Dave taught farmers young and old the modern methods of growing crops in both heated and unheated greenhouses, with the goal of improving the economy of the country by increasing food production and reducing the imports of food. He designed training programs to teach small farmers the finer details of growing better and healthier crops. More recently in February 2015 he taught at an agricultural college in Ethiopia. Though he is sent teach, Farmer Dave learns a lot from those older farmers on the other side of the world. This knowledge he brings home to grow better food right here in Massachusetts.
Jane comes to Farmer Dave’s with a wealth of food service management experience. She worked for Yard House for 9 years and was part of the opening teams for Yard House locations in Hawaii, Miami location, Fenway, and Dedham. At each location, she was responsible for the operations of a staff of up to 200 people.
Jane joined the crew in 2015. She is excited to be working at Farmer Dave’s because “life is about learning new things. There is something very rewarding about working with people that are producing something that positively effects so many people. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my old job, but by the end it was about the people. I have found that Farmer Daves is the same thing. This is a great team of amazing people and I hope that I am able to positively impact the growth of the individuals so that they can continue to do their jobs and effect so many people in the community.”
Jane is excited to bring her previous experience to the farm in order to help with staff and customer satisfaction. Her favorite vegetable is asparagus, which Farmer Dave has planted, but it takes three years for it to produce a productive crop. In the meantime, she’ll choose corn. She refuses to eat any other corn after trying Farmer Dave’s.
The Farm Crew
Have you ever wondered who actually cares for the crops in the fields? Who helps Dave and Clem with the transplanting, weeding, irrigation, harvesting, and all the other field work?
The farm crew consists of around 30 people who live year-round in the Merrimack Valley area, and we’re happy to say that the majority have worked at Farmer Dave’s for multiple seasons. Many are from families that have farmed for generations. They bring knowledge of different farming methods from their home countries, adding to the wealth of growing knowledge at Farmer Dave’s.
During the hottest part of the harvest season, they are the ones who arrive at 5 a.m. to pick lettuce before the heat of the day sets in. They are the ones who harvest in the pouring rain when necessary in order to have enough produce for the shares each day. Without their help, there is no way Farmer Dave’s could feed so many families each week.
The Farm Stand Crew
If you have ever been to either of our two farm stands, the Brox Farm Stand in Dracut and the East Street Farm Stand in Tewksbury, then you have probably met some of our hard working farm stand crew. At the peak of the season, we have around 10 people helping throughout the week. Some of these folks have been working for Farmer Dave’s every summer for years and others are with us for just here for their school break.
Diane, Susan, and Jenn are the old standbys who help keep operations running throughout the season each year. Each day (we’re open seven days a week during the peak harvest season!) the crew is here early to open the stand and late to close it down. They run the cash registers, stock the shelves, and husk the corn. And, of course, like most people on the farm, they aren’t always stuck in the stand. They work at the farmers markets, help out with the CSA, work in the greenhouses, and help out wherever else they’re needed.
Check back soon for more farmer biographies!