Jess is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Natural Resources. She traveled through the country and Latin America during the college years only to discover that there is no place like home! She also realized that for her, there was no vocation like the family vocation. After stints in conservation biology, ornithology, disaster relief, and development work, Jess realized that she wanted to be the next generation of Niederer farmers and started Chickadee Creek in 2010.
The Niederers have been in Hopewell Valley since 1910, when Otto Niederer (Great-Grandpop) left Switzerland and settled in Titusville. He worked with an embroidery manufacturer in Union City before heading back to the land. Otto, his wife Katherine, and their children ran a dairy farm where Washington Crossing State Park now sits. After losing the farm in the Great Depression era, Otto and progeny invented a machine that graded eggs using a conveyor tipping-scale system and a candler that didn’t hurt the eyes of the workers grading the eggs. Until this, egg farmers were weighing eggs one by one to figure out which grade they were! The Egomatic became the focus of the Niederer family, but farming (eggs, cows, corn, wheat, and soybeans) was an addiction that just wouldn’t go away. Egomatic is gone now, but the family connection to land remains.
Scott Van Kuiken: manages our high tunnel production, crew, and ends up doing a lot of our tractor work!
Years Farming: 7
Where from: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Hobbies: bicycling, board games (favorite is Agricola)
Studied in School: English Literature
Favorite Crop to Grow: Tomatoes, because of how involved and detailed they are to grow, plus the flavors, shapes, colors, heftiness
Darci (at Princeton and Denville)
Years Farming: 4
Where from: Pennington, NJ
Hobbies: cooking, family time, being active
Studied in School: Sports Nutrition
Favorite Crop to Grow: Herbs because they smell great and can be used in anything
Years Farming: 5
Farm Goal: start a vegetable farm one day
Where from: Mt Holly NJ
Hobbies: running, drawing, making things
Studied in School: Industrial design
Favorite Crop to Grow: Beets, because they are underrated and you can eat the whole plant
Lara (at Rutgers Gardens Market)
Years Farming: 2
Where from: Virginia
Hobbies: listening to music and watching The Office
Studied in School: Science, technology and society, and Theater
Favorite Crop to Grow: Tomatoes, because she loves them! Enjoys harvesting them and the way they smell, taste, look.