In 1921, Gerry’s Farm opened for business offering the yield of a few acres of raspberries for sale from a small table at 810 Pleasant St. in Brockton. At its peak, the city boasted five vegetable farms, but today Gerry’s, with 35 acres under cultivation, is the last of its breed.
That’s largely due to the will of the farm’s patriarch, Joe Gerry, 87, who still rises before first light every day to pick from fields he has worked since he was a boy alongside his father, an immigrant from Poland who kissed the ground when he landed here in 1910 and continued to do so throughout a long life as a farmer.
Joe Gerry loves the earth, too, although sometimes it does not return his affection. It can be a hard life: “We’ve had a fire, lost a building and our tractors, seeds and tools. We’ve had blights and diseases. We had to sell a piece of the farm recently after a few bad years to get ourselves back on our feet. You do everything you can do to survive. …(And) we survive because we have wonderful customers.”
Gerry’s customers return that love in abundance, referring to the extended Gerry clan as family, touting the beauty, taste and goodness of the farm’s corn and tomatoes, peas and potatoes and worrying – always quietly – that one May 1st they will show up for their seedlings and the farm will be shuttered, a victim of the same financial pressures that closed Brockton’s other four farms.
But Joe Gerry is undaunted: “It all just makes us struggle a little bit harder, that’s all. …Farming is a labor of love, and we’re willing to live very frugally to do it…. I was born on this farm and with any luck at all they’ll haul me off of it some day.”
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items are from between 24 Aug 2012 & 22 Sep 2012.