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Farming For Three
In 1928, four
families who were all 'related' emigrated from Italy to the United
States. Joseph Marini, Tony Iorie, Peter Iorie, and Jerry Angelina
would come to settle in Ipswich, MA and buy the land that would
become Marini Farm.
The families lived
together and worked the farm until 1938. After many years of
kitchen arguments over pots, pans, and pasta it was decided that
four Italian women cooking in the same kitchen was not working.
The families had outgrown the farm and it was time move on.
The Angelinas and the Iorie families moved from the original farm to
buy land in Wenham, MA. The Iorie family would eventually move
again and purchase a farm in Florida. All of them would continue the
family tradition and cultivate the land in Ipswich, Wenham, and
Florida. In 1978, once the Ipswich estate was settled, the
Marini family became the sole owners of the property. Today,
all three family farms are still in production.
Marini Farm began as
a strictly wholesale business. Most of the fruits and
vegetables grown were trucked to the local A&P and the Boston
Produce Market. The main crops were fresh strawberries,
blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, potatoes, pears, and apples.
Although Marini Farm
was famous for their high quality fruits and vegetables, they were
not limited to these products. The farm was also home to more
then 10,000 chickens and 3 cows. The eggs from the chickens
were gathered daily and delivered to many towns from Ipswich to
Salem. Two of the farms biggest customers were the Salem Jail
and Endicott College. Although the chickens were part of the
wholesale business, the cows were not. The milk produced by
the cows was used solely by the family - however, if there was extra
milk it would be made into cheese and sold along the egg route.
In the late 1960's
the egg business began to decline, but the apple cider business was
taking root at the farm. The Marini Farm apple cider
production took off both in the retail and wholesale markets
throughout the North Shore. By the early 1990's the farm was
pressing over 60,000 gallons of cider a year. Unfortunately,
in the mid 90's in Washington state, a death related to E-Coli was
traced to a 'farm' using contaminated apples. This incident
resulted in laws on pasteurization to change nationwide. In
1998, a decision was made to not invest in a pasteurization system.
It was a difficult decision, but one the farm was forced to make.
Today, people still ask about Marini Farm Cider.
For 30 years, Marini
Farm was exclusively wholesale. One day in 1972, Gina Marini
was picking a bumper crop of strawberries. After picking for a
few hours, she realized that she had picked too many for the daily
wholesale orders. She went into the farmhouse and emerged with
a chair and a sign that read "Fresh Strawberries For Sale". In
no time, the strawberries were sold and our retail business was
Today, Marini Farm
grows over 200 acres of mixed fruits and vegetables. This
produce is supplied to local supermarkets and sold at the retail
farm market on Linebrook Road. The farm also leases property
around the area and this allows them to grow over 100 acres of sweet
corn - their most popular crop. The vegetables are still
picked daily in the early morning to ensure quality and freshness.
The farm uses many different growing techniques including raised
plastic beds, drip irrigation, row covers, and frost control.
These techniques allow them to harvest their crops earlier in the
season and later into the fall.
Each year the spring
season starts with an acre of greenhouses where a beautiful
assortment of annuals, perennials, herbs, and vegetable plants are
grown. These are sold both wholesale and retail.
Over the years, the
farm has added over 30 acres of pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash.
The pumpkin crop is a large part of the fall wholesale and retail
business with the majority of the crop sold to garden centers
throughout the North Shore. The winter squash is stored and
sold to local restaurants through the winter months.
In 1980, Mario Marini
became one of the first farmers in the country to adopt the
Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM). This program is now
used throughout the world. Today, the farm continues to work
closely with the University of Massachusetts and follows a balanced
IPM program (see
the UMass feature article). By closely monitoring cultural
controls, biological controls, and the reduced use of chemicals,
Marini Farm produces the safest fruits and vegetables while
promoting a healthy environment.
Marini Farm is
a family run business in its third generation. The farm
continues to follow the same principles started by Joseph and Gina
Marini. Through hard work, they strive to provide freshness,
quality, and, most of all, customer satisfaction. Marini Farm
is a New England tradition and it is their hope to continue to grow
for many years to come.
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