The Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association is pleased to award its 2022 Young Grower Award to Jennifer Glenister. The Young Grower Award is given to recognize PVGA members who are 35 years old or younger, who have been successfully growing vegetables, potatoes or small fruit for less than five years and who have contributed to advancing or promoting the Pennsylvania vegetable, potato or berry industries. The prize is free registration for the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention plus lodging at the Hershey Lodge.
Born in 1987, Jenni grew up on a grain/livestock family farm in central New York State. Her father, Rick Glenister, operates that farm while her mother, Carol Glenister, is owner/ founder of IPM Labs, a well known supplier of beneficial insects to growers. A bright, successful student, Jenni graduated from University of Vermont in 2009, and before graduation, applied to be an apprentice at New Morning Farm, owned by James Crawford, in Hustontown. She arrived straight from graduation and immediately jumped into working and learning. She was obviously astute, curious and highly energetic.
Over the next three years, Jenni held many different jobs on the farm. Already a skilled tractor and equipment operator, she became their pest control specialist early on, soon developing good expertise and success in the challenging methods of USDA certified-organic production.
Jenni also eagerly focused on other aspects of their diversified, direct-marketing operation, which consists of approximately thirty acres of forty or so different, certified-organic vegetable and berry crops. She quickly became known to the 12-person crew as a professional grower-leader and manager.
In 2012 Jim and his wife, Emeline, began considering retirement and the future of their farm, which they had established in 1972. Jenni expressed interest then in the idea of eventually becoming the next owner.
Over the next few years, Jenni methodically prepared herself for ownership. She continued to rotate through all the many specialized jobs, such as crew leading and recruiting, record keeping, greenhouse, fertility, tillage, weed control, and especially management of marketing. New Morning Farm attends farmers markets three days per week in the Washington, DC area.
In her tenth year Jenni became farm manager, while Jim moved more and more towards retirement. Jenni began seeking financing for the purchase, working with a bank and FSA. She did succeed in that, even though she had only the savings from her work at the farm as a down payment.
In June, 2021 Jenni became the owner of New Morning Farm with some significant debt which she is well prepared to work down over future years. Production has improved steadily since Jenni started managing, and the best financial years of the farm’s fifty-year history were 2020 and 2021.
Jenni has, with steady effort and very hard work over twelve years, made herself into a successful professional, organic vegetable grower, one of the best in Pennsylvania. She has been active in both PVGA and Pasa, by presenting numerous conference workshops, as well as serving at the Farm Show booth many years, and on the PVGA Convention Program Planning committee. PVGA is pleased to able to honor such an accomplished young grower with its 2022 Young Grower Award.