Seasonal Farm Crew Member at Appleton Farms

Cedric Merle

How did you get into farming?

I have always liked farming ever since I spent summer at my grandparents’ farm as a kid. I also spent a couple of summers working on my uncle’s farm as a teenager. Last year, everything fell into place for me to accomplish my goal of working on a farm.

Was that part of your educational journey?

No, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Languages.

Prior to joining the Trustees, what were you doing?

I was working as part of the maintenance crew for the Jewish Community Center in Marblehead and was the Facilities Manager of the Jewish day school next door, Epstein Hillel School

When it comes to farming, what are you most passionate about or interested in?

Providing fresh, nutritious, and delicious vegetables.

In what ways are you doing that kind of work that you are most passionate about at our farm?

Growing crops from seeds to vegetables, and caring for the crops while they grow. We make sure that they have enough water, and are weeded, so that the crops do not have to compete for nutrients and water and can grow to their expected harvest size. I don’t think people realize how much hand weeding is done to maintain the beds.

How would you describe the season at Appleton thus far?

Successful. Despite the drought this year, we have been producing good quality and tasty vegetables, offering a diverse choice of products available for the CSA members.

What’s a typical day like, if there is a typical day?

There’s not really a typical day as it depends on a few factors, although we do stick to a regular harvest for the CSA, rain or shine. Andrew makes a list of vegetables that need to be harvested for the share, and the amount that needs to be harvested. Once the harvest is done we bring it to the wash station where the vegetables are washed and stored in the cooler, waiting to be displayed the day of the share.

What’s been the biggest challenge and how has the farm crew overcome that challenge?

The heat wave and drought has been the most challenging thing, as we sometimes feared that some crops wouldn’t make it. Our Farm Manager, Andrew, did a great job ensuring that the harvest would be as successful as possible with regular irrigation, and the crew stayed positive and worked hard to care for the crops.