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Old 09-08-2008, 08:59 PM
1,417 posts, read 856,787 times
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Mexican immigrant’s son plants his first acres of tomatoes | Hazleton, Pa. News | standardspeaker.com - The Standard Speaker (http://www.standardspeaker.com/articles/2008/09/08/news/hz_standspeak.20080908.a.pg3.hz08_tttomatoes_s1.19 30829_loc.txt - broken link)

This year, the 30-year-old son of a Mexican immigrant, who harvested produce for most of his life, planted his first 12 acres of tomatoes. He had been a third-generation farm laborer. Like his father and his grandfather, he was paid by the bucket. Now, he is the first in his family to run a commercial farm.

“I figure, this is all I know how to do,” he said, standing in his field last week. “There’s no other job offers doing this work, so I created my own.”

To some, it seems an odd gamble to start a farm when so many — including the largest fresh market tomato farm in the Northeast — have closed. At one time, the Hopkins, Landsiedel, Pallman and Eckel families all had significant tomato crops in Lackawanna County. In March, Keith Eckel, the region’s last and biggest grower, switched to corn.
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