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CSA/Food Production Manager
Jess began understanding the importance of the food we eat and the way that it is produced when she spent a semester abroad in South India during her junior year at Ramapo College. While there, she saw firsthand the effects of corporate agriculture on small, local farmers & the environment and realized that the same interactions must be going on worldwide. Upon returning home to New Jersey, Jess began to learn more about the complexities of food systems and production in the U.S. To help satisfy her thirst for knowledge, she began volunteering at Fernbrook Farms CSA in 2014.
Curious to learn more about the ins and outs of farming, Jess would ask the Farm Manger (shout out to Jeff Tober!) and the farm crew many questions. With a bachelor’s degree in Biology, she soon found herself just as excited to learn about soil structure, integrated pest management, and cation exchange capacity as much as she was to cook new recipes with the literal fruits of her labor. And after so many days spent hauling fresh produce to smiling shareholders, she was hooked! Jess became an apprentice in 2015 and has been coming back every season since. In 2017, she took over as the Assistant Farm Manager and in 2020 she has taken the helm as the CSA Manager.
Jess is proud to be growing food in an honest way that benefits the local community and ecology. She feels that sustainable farming represents a great intersection of many issues that the world faces today. When she is not at the farm, Jess is usually cooking up a new recipe that she thought up while she was doing tractor work, playing with her dog, Bentley, reading about food / other farming techniques, or spending time with her boyfriend, John.
CSA/Food Production Assistant Manager
Many of you already know Nick and I am sure you are looking forward to seeing him back at the farm. If you don’t know Nick, be prepared to meet the friendliest guy around! Nick worked at the CSA for three years and then took a 2 year hiatus down in D.C. working on a couple of other farms. Welcome back Nick!
Yvonne Itchmoney joined Fernbrook Farms in 2015 and handles many of the day-to-day administrative and financial aspects of operating each of the farms’ businesses.
Yvonne’s background is in journalism. She spent many years in the print journalism industry before taking time off to be with her family. Upon going back to work, Yvonne channeled her management skills into business administration. Yvonne discovered Fernbrook Farms in 2013, when her son began attending the Education Center’s Fiddlehead summer camp program. When an opportunity to become part of Fernbrook Farms presented itself, Yvonne didn’t waste any time! The farm has since become her home away from home.
When she’s not at the farm, Yvonne enjoys spending time with her family. In addition to her coworkers, Yvonne adores her husband, son and Batman. Yvonne’s hobbies include discovering new movies and music, nagging her kid to do his homework and/or chores, macro and nature photography, reading anything and everything, hiking with her dogs, taking long bike rides, celebrating all things Halloween, and caring for her own flock of assorted critters.
Larry “Farmer Q” & Susie Kuser
Larry ‘Farmer Q’ & Susie Kuser moved to the farm in 1974 and have been actively running the farm since 1982. They have been married for over 40 years, have three grown children and eight grandchildren. Their vocation and avocation are the same: to live close to the earth and share the farm with as many people as possible.
Prior to farming, Farmer Q was a high school math and science teacher and coach. From 1976-1981 he served as Dean of Students for Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ. Farmer Q has never given up his love of teaching or his involvement in the community. He has been an adjunct teacher at Mercer County Community College, Rutgers University School of Continuing Education and the New York Botanical Gardens. He has given lectures for the Master Gardeners programs and the New Jersey Association of Landscape Architects. In 2014, he was inducted into the NJ Nursery & Landscape Association’s Hall of Fame.
He serves on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Community Forestry Council, a past member of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association Board, the Burlington County Board of Agriculture, and past president of the Chesterfield Township Environmental Commission. Farmer Q is a graduate of Cornell University and has a Masters degree in Education from Fordham University.
Prior to running The Inn, Susie ran Wit & Whimsy, a boutique gift store in Bordentown, NJ from 1983-1987 and Princeton, NJ from 1988-1994. Her love, passion, and gift for hospitality have transformed The Inn from ‘Farmer Q’s’ boyhood home into a beautiful place for family and friends to come together to celebrate special occasions.
Kayla is a Jersey girl who decided to give veggie farming a shot after working as a landscape architect and separately in the floral business. Kayla is kicking butt on our JD 1050 tractor this year and is already a pro with it. Be sure to quiz her about the Latin names of your favorite plants…
Rachel is the apprentice who traveled the furthest to be a part of the 2020 season – she came all the way from Oklahoma! Rachel has also been kicking tractor butt on our IH 274 tractor. She is a basket weeding pro at this point and could even do tractor work while dreaming of fried pie (if you don’t know why you should ask Rachel or visit Oklahoma!).