ABOUT CECARELLI FARMS
Cecarelli Farms brings more than a century of dedicated Connecticut farming experience – and the sharp modern mind of a well-connected, Information Era manager – to the table. Perhaps nothing can show you exactly what that means quite like what happened right here on our farm several years ago.
Blame It on the Rain
In 2006, our fields were belted by a series of rainstorms — and our topsoil suffered enormously. Like most farmers, we used a big tilling machine to till the whole topsoil every season. All that rain in 2006 washed most of our freshly-torn topsoil right into the ocean. We had gullies in our fields that were literally as much as four feet deep. We had to find something we could change about our technique that would keep this from ever happening again.
So, I — Nelson Cecarelli — reached out. I talked to other farmers, I talked to farm equipment dealers…I talked to anyone I thought might be able to help. Finally, I got in touch with Jude Boucher at the University of Connecticut and asked him about a technique I’d heard of called ‘deep-zone tilling’ (DZT). How could we switch to this technique? What would we need to get it done?
With Jude’s help, Cecarelli Farms acquired a DZT machine that only tilled a very narrow strip of land — just wide enough for the crops themselves — but punctured the ground deeply along that one strip so the rain could be absorbed easily and the crops could root more deeply. The results were astounding! Crops simply thrived, and the soil quality improved as they did.
I was so taken with the effects of that single change that I started asking questions — lots of questions. What else could I be doing to improve soil quality? Were there better cover crops I could be using to refresh the soil between harvest crops? How could I reduce fertilizer use without losing quality or quantity? What did I not already know about farming our land?
As I did my own research and continued to work with Jude and dozens of others both locally and nationwide, I received answers to my questions and implemented further improvements to our farming techniques. To this day, we continue to connect the traditional farming practices that my grandfather brought over from Italy in 1912 with the latest and best understanding of local, polyculture produce growing from across the Northeast, the US, and throughout the world.
Dedication to the Craft
When we experienced the heavy rains in 2006, we could have just purchased and imported an entire new layer of topsoil and written off the loss as one of those unavoidable disasters of running a farm. But from the day my grandfather first purchased that initial plot of Cecarelli Farms, our family has devoted itself to not just farming the land, but to improving the land in the process. And since I took over the farm in the mid ’90s, I’ve devoted myself to developing a more in-depth understanding of the land as well as how to work with it and not against it.
” My commitment, and the commitment of Cecarelli Farms, is to produce the freshest, healthiest, most beautiful food we can — and make sure it gets to you as quickly as possible so you can enjoy fresh food with optimal nutritional value.” – Nelson Cecarelli
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