Nelson Cecarelli’s grandfather came over from Italy in 1911. One year later, he started what is known today as Cecarelli Farm in Northford, Connecticut. The farm has been passed down from generation to generation, and the Cecarelli’s maintained a tradition of good stewardship to ensure it continues to provide for the family. In fact, they put their land into a permanent agriculture easement to guarantee its future as a family farm.
His whole life, Nelson has enjoyed farming and all of its challenges. Therefore, taking over the farm in the mid-1990s from his father and uncle just made sense. His love of farming shines through every day: “No two years are the same,” says Nelson, “there is never a stale day.” Corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, cabbage and broccoli are just a few of the crops he grows on his farm.
The land on which Nelson farms presents many challenges. It is dominated by rolling hills and rocky soil. To deal with these obstacles Nelson practices strip tillage to prevent erosion and build healthier soils. Nelson was one of the first farmers in Connecticut to use this technique and has partnered with the University of Connecticut to host seminars for interested farmers.
Cecarelli Farm is a founding partner in Red Tomato’s Freshness program with Connecticut-based Balducci’s stores, which delivers high quality produce to stores within 24 hours of harvest.