From Jamaica to Granby

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Photo by Shirley Murtha

Oniel Ashmeade (l.) and Kim Gayle finish loading the melon seedlings on the flatbed for planting.

Our tireless correspondent, Shirley Murtha, paid a visit to the Farm in June, and met our newest employees.

A couple of fine young men have joined the work team at Holcomb Farm from their homes in Jamaica. Oniel Ashmeade and Kim Gayle have taken advantage of the H2A program instituted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Homeland Security to receive temporary visas allowing them to do farm work in this country. There were many farms to choose from; why did they pick Granby? Ashmeade said that Holcomb’s use of organic procedures was the big draw for him. When he returns to his farm in Jamaica, he plans to use the practices he is learning here this summer. 

Gayle has come to this region for the past two years, working at a farm in Granville. Familiarity with the area was a significant factor in his choice.

Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 virus situation means that there aren’t many things the men can do in their time off. Ashmeade says he’s pretty wiped out at the end of a long day anyway. Gayle says he’s starting to take hikes on the property.

The men will be here until December. Be sure to say hello when you are picking up your CSA distribution or purchasing some of the rewards of their labor at the Farm Store.

These freshly turned soils of Holcomb Farm under the May sky in West Granby have been cultivated for some 150 years: a reminder of our resilience in the face of adversity. Photo by Susan Canavan
This greenhouse at Holcomb Farm is full of promise for the growing season. Photo by Brittany Gauthier