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 joined the Farmer Dave’s family in 2015. No, really, she actually married the farmer! Beware however, it’s not wise to call her the farmer’s wife as she is so much more than that. Dave and Jane are raising three amazing little future farmers and one crazy 80 pound Labrador on top of running their family Farm, we have no idea when they sleep. When Dave and Jane shared the news they were pregnant with twins, everyone that knew Jane commented “you always have been very efficient Jane” or “always the overachiever.” Jane’s previous life consisted of opening and running multimillion dollar restaurants, which more than prepared her for the crazy times ahead. For almost 10 years Jane worked for Yard House Restaurants, opening locations which included Hawaii, Miami and Boston. Managing staffs of up to 200 people were the perfect training wheels Jane needed for her future farm life.
Most of the time you will find Jane at our farmers markets engaging with our customers, training the staff, and sampling her own from scratch baked goods. You may not see her in the kitchen, because you were still sleeping, but know she was hard at work really early when you grab that yummy bag of scones or are enjoying a mouthwatering apple crisp. Jane created everything from the Farmer Dave’s Kitchen including the Bakery Share and has been actively and lovingly growing these sweet and savory selections. In all of her spare time, yes that is a joke, she oversees much of the accounting, financial, and human resource side of the business.
With three toddlers at home (five if you count the dog and Dave), a bakery line and a business to run Jane is nothing short of a superhero. No matter how busy she is, she always has a smile on her face, often times a flour covered sweatshirt, and her infectious laugh is often heard way before you see her!
Debbie joined the Farmer Dave’s Team in April 2018 as the farms much needed office administrator. She made a conscious career change to leave the corporate world behind so she could be part of contributing to people’s well-being vs. a company’s bottom line. Debbie’s years of customer support as an administrative assistant have more than prepared her for anything the farm could possibly throw at her. Debbie’s strong organizational skills in the office have earned her the nickname “Office Fairy God Mother’. No task is too big or small, if it needs to get done, Debbie happily pitches in. She brings a sense of calm and humor to work every day, which in any office, even on the farm, is invaluable and always welcome. I guess maybe because it doesn’t seem like work when you enjoy what you do.
If she’s not in the office creating magical excel spreadsheets, you may find Debbie preparing for a CSA pickup, mingling with members or guests in the farm stand, or in the barn setting up for an apple picking birthday party.
Debbie was born and raised in Massachusetts, at a time when children were carefree and allowed to go out to play all day, without their parents knowing where they were, as long as they were home by the time the dinner bell was rung. She grew up playing in the woods, hiking, fishing, riding her bike, and climbing trees. This childhood paved the way for a love of the outdoors, simple living, and sourcing fresh food, which led her to join Farmer Dave’s CSA well before she joined the team. Debbie is an avid crafter, and enjoys cooking for friends and families, and is always trying out new recipes. In fact our home made pumpkin pie, limited fall availability, is Debbie’s grandmother’s recipe!
Denise says she has “found her people” at Farmer Dave’s. The farm allows us to do good for our members, guests and community every day. Working this hard, with other like minded, dedicated and passionate people is worth its weight in gold. Ensuring families have healthy food to eat every day and have the opportunity to experience a real working farm, is more than a job, it is a way of life. For the first time in her life she looks forward to going to work, and is incredibly proud to just be part of the team.
Denise was born and raised in Southern Maine, a country girl at heart. Her dad loves to joke how he couldn’t get her to weed as a kid, she went to college for business and fashion merchandising and now she is a farmer. Of course she leaves the farming to Dave, Sarah and an incredibly talented and hardworking field crew and seasonal interns.
Although Farmer Dave’s is not big on titles, Denise is the farms Operations Manager. Which includes managing our Farm Stands, customer experience, branding, marketing, merchandising, hiring and scheduling. She also works closely with Dave in managing the international internship program, the farms retail flower program, and Pick Your Own programs. Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t see her pinch hitting at a farmers market or heading into a field with a knife to harvest a few melons for a CSA member or guest.
Yes, Denise will pull the chunky pearls out for special occasions but these days is happiest in a T-shirt, flannel and rubber boots.
Lidge has been with Farmer Dave’s since 2015 and is our packing area supervisor. That job title doesn’t even begin to describe the incredible coordination of roles and moving pieces that make up any given day starting with communicating the daily harvest needs to the field crew, receiving the freshly harvested produce into the washroom, then packing area, refrigeration rooms if needed, and finally carefully loaded on a truck. Oh yes and managing the jigsaw puzzle that is the truck schedule which rules when each truck needs to leave, with what product, for which locations and who is driving it.
Depending on the season Lidge may be working solo or leading a team of as many as 20 or more. Where most professionals have an 8 hour day to complete their daily responsibilities, Lidge needs to turn a daily fresh harvest into lovingly boxed CSA shares, freshly packed Farmers Markets and neatly packed crates of produce to replenish our farm stands all by noon!
Lidge is incredibly attentive when it comes to the care of all of the produce coming into his area, he takes great care and pride regarding freshness, handling, accuracy and details. He treats every order as if it were going to his family because he knows how important your family is to you. Speaking of family, if we are very lucky, his 2 adult daughters will make time to work part time with us, at the peak of our season. We really are a family run farm.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Lidge will tell you the man never stops moving. He has a warm smile for everyone, is always laughing and is honestly one of the kindest and hardest working individuals you will ever meet. He has that fantastic quality of being laid back and hardworking all rolled into one. Lidge’s singing can be heard throughout the building while he and the team work through the morning. His perfect falsetto is a well-kept farm secret, wink-wink. The top picks are usually Bob Marley classics, which will transform you from our little New England farm to the island of Jamaica where Lidge was born and still calls home. Never mind whistling while you work some mornings are a full on concert.
Stacey has lived most of her life in the Merrimack Valley area. Growing up her family had a large vegetable garden so planting, weeding, harvesting as well as cooking and preserving is in her blood. The distant sound of her father’s tractor was always the sound of home. Her love of gardening, cooking, reading and crafts (jewelry making, drawing, quilting and crochet) comes from her Grandma. Grandma’s house was also the place were experimenting in the kitchen was always encouraged! If you know Stacey, this makes so much sense.
Stacey went to college in Rhode Island were Rachael Ray became her cooking instructor through Rachael’s show and cookbooks. Finding fresh ingredients while hopping between local farmers markets, another one of Stacey’s favorite things to do. Supporting others farms was always and still is right up her alley. Connecting with the growers and eating seasonally sparked Stacey’s creativity in the kitchen and her love for local agriculture.
After 8 years as a CSA member and 25 years working in pharmacy, in 2016 Stacey came to work at Farmer Dave’s. Years of seeing the result of what patients ate and the profound impact it had on their health, she made her career change. Food really is medicine, so she transitioned from pharm to farm becoming our education and experience manager. The Vegisodes, Stacey’s passion project, was born out of wanting to give CSA members the skills and confidence to take the most nutritious and tasty produce and work it into their family’s meals. Her philosophy has always been using unfamiliar produce in familiar family favorites. You will often find Stacey visiting with CSA members at the pick-up sites talking shop: demystifying veggie prep and storage, inspiring you to use kohlrabi in a new way, and telling you why you should not leave your kale in the swap box.
Stacey lovingly created and continues to develop our school tour program. She teaches children, not to mention many adults, the importance of our bees, our bugs, composting and where their food comes from. To witness a child’s eyes when they see a carrot pulled from the earth and realize the baby carrots at the grocery store have been altered is amazing and you know you’re making a difference. She loves what she does and if you have ever witnessed her bee waggle dance you know just how much!
Stacey hopes through school tours and CSA, families will make better choices in how they eat and where their food comes from for both their health and the environment.
The Farm Team
Farmer Dave’s has always been proud to be a melting pot of diversity, culture, talent and experience. Our team is built upon a small foundation of family, field crew and growers that have been with Dave for years as well as a seasonal crew of passionate and like minded growers, retirees, professionals, college students and international agricultural interns. Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kenya, Korea, Vietnam, the Republic of Georgia and Tanzania are just a few of the countries represented during the year. Of course we cannot forget to mention many of us were born and raised right here in New England.
December through March, there are less than a dozen on the farm. However, during the peak of planting and harvesting season, there can be upwards of 100 team members. To say it takes a village to run the farm is an understatement, to say we couldn’t do it without every single team member couldn’t be more true.
Fields are tilled, greenhouses are maintained, and markets are organized. Flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables all begin as seeds, bare roots, or bulbs. Fruit trees are pruned, fields are planted by hand, irrigation systems are managed, and the growing begins. From the first spring asparagus, head of lettuce and greenhouse cucumber to the very last head of cabbage or potato in the fall, every veggie is hand harvested and hand washed. Then our fresh produce is lovingly boxed into CSA shares, freshly packed for our Farmers Markets, or neatly nestled into crates to replenish our farm stands. This takes many, many hands and the produce hasn’t even left the farm yet.
Every set of hands make running the farm possible. We could not provide a year round CSA; participate in up to a dozen farmers markets; open 3 farm stands; or offer seasonal pick your own strawberries, blueberries and apples without each and every individual. Farming is a true labor of love, logistics, skill, and teamwork.