Andrea DeJesus

Owner, A&H Farm

Andrea DeJesus, Owner of A&H Farm

"Growing up on the farm, it was hard not to resent the missed sleepovers, sports teams and free time that other kids my age were able to enjoy. Farming was hard work, and I couldn’t see myself turning it into a career.

I continued to work on the family farm throughout college. I saw how financially hard it was on my family and was determined not to take the same path. After I got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, I went into public accounting and completely removed myself from the farm.

As time went on, I looked forward to visiting home more and more. When I was there, I worked. These trips made me realize how much I missed it, and it was finally clear that the experiences I had as a farm kid were so much more important than the ones I missed out on. As my young children got closer to school age, I knew I had to make the hard decision of whether to come “home” or stay gone. In the winter of 2008, I left my stressful, high-paying corporate job to move back home and work on the farm.

Now, as owner of A&H Farm in Manhattan, I oversee everything from social media, advertising and customer service to harvesting, planting, veterinary care, employee management and so much more. I’m the face of the farm, but I’m also the one behind the scenes making it run. Each year, we have a fall festival, u-pick strawberry patches and a baby animal-viewing event. The customers are what I like best about my job, and I try to make the farm a great place to visit. I love showing families what farming is all about, and I love growing food that they love!

Ultimately, I hope some of my kids want to take over the farm and that I have it in me to let them. It’s hard to build something and then watch the kids make mistakes, but that’s how I learned, and I know it’s what’s best for them. Until that time comes, I hope we can grow our farm so it’s able to support multiple families. 

In preparation for life on the farm, you’ll want to be sure to stay awake during all your high school classes. I use math, science … a little of everything. I would also highly encourage you to get into those agriculture classes, such as crops and welding. And don’t forget business! It’s all part of running a successful operation.

The best thing about farming is that without farmers, our society would cease to exist. Everyone needs to eat. I farm, but my job is so much more. If you want a job where you never have two days that are the same, you should consider farming!"