Nigel’s parents sent me this article that was published in 1996 in the UK.
“I came out here first to have a look. I liked what I saw, and I sawopportunities that weren’t available in the U.K. And then I met my girlfriend Frances and decided I would stay. I had been organic farming for 14 years, but there was very little good land available in the UK and I wasn’t my own boss. Now I lease 17 acres and grow fruit and vegetables which I then transport by truck to various farmers markets to sell. The customers here are much more appreciative too. They have the money to pay a little bit extra for quality. People in Britain appreciate quality but don’t always have the money to pay for it. At home I pre-packed organic produce for Waitress and Safeway. I heard only once in three years that something was good. You would only hear if something was wrong. Here, customers tell us all the time what produce they like. Before, I was employed by a management company which had a client who wanted an organic farm, so I wasn’t my own boss. I was reasonably paid, but it wasn't the same as running the show.
I am investing all my profits into new equipment at the present, but if I wasn’t I would be much better off than I was in the U.K. It’s sunny so we can grow lots of different things. There's so much more space here, our house could be much more grandiose and the cost of construction is a lot less. In Britain I lived in a 400 year old thatched cottage on half an acre. The romance of it wore off after one winter of heating bills! I felt much at home here from the start. The work involved the same skills but with different crops. There were different marketing structures that I had to learn about, but essentially wherever you farm there are different challenges you have to meet. I have more responsibility and am taking risks with my own money, which another difference. We grow apples, herbs, beets, squashes, cabbages and about 25 types of tomatoes, all outside. I run my own farm and I like the freedom of being my own boss. I have job satisfaction and sales are going up. Here it’s a car culture so I do an awful lot of driving. The medical set up is much different to the UK. We have lots of friends, know all the local farmer and go to dinner parties. Plus our hot tub is becoming more popular with everyone. I miss BBC Radio 4, decent newspapers, the NHS, and my 6 year old daughter Eleanor, who is in the UK. We both miss our families as Frances’ is on the East Coast, which seems as faraway as the UK. I telephone my family and parents every few weeks and see them every year. I also have a long email correspondence with a friend. There is lots of building work going on here, my business is growing and the farmers market at which we sell is expanding. I definitely want to stay on here and expand.”