Noeuth Deth graduated from the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project's Farm Business Planning Course in 2007, at which time he began his first US farm business enterprise. Noeuth is originally from Cambodia and his native language is Khmer. Soon after Noeuth began to farm, Noeuth’s son Kosall Deth, expressed an interest in learning about farm business enterprise in order to assist his father. Kosall attended the Farm Business Planning Course and graduated one year after his Dad, in 2008.
Noeuth’s father was a farmer in Cambodia where the family operated a wholesale business consisting of two separate farming operations. They grew oranges in a grove near his house and they produced rice in separate fields farther away from his home. Since the different crops were harvested during different seasons, the family did not have to split their time between fields, and they could focus on either one crop or the other throughout the year. Noeuth describes the weather in Cambodia as being either “warm or hot” and growing and harvesting takes place “during the entire year”. Noeuth admits that he has had difficulty adjusting to the temperature differences he encounters when farming in the U.S. Noeuth’s advice to beginning farmers is to begin early and “pay attention to when the seeds should be expected to sprout, rather than waiting for the warm weather to begin.” He feels that he was held back in his first season when he did not prepare well enough in advance of the growing season and this experience informed his direction during subsequent seasons.
Noeuth and Kosall are currently farming together on a ½ acre plot of land in North Andover, MA. Their crops are very diverse and include: Asian cucumber, watermelon, fuzzy gourd, small eggplants, tomato, summer squash, amaranth, taro, green onion, and bitter melon. The pair sells most of their produce through the World PEAS CSA and sometimes to small Asian stores in Lawrence.
In regard to financial payoff, Noeuth said that if you compare pay from farming operations to pay from an office job… you lose. But when you take into account the “opportunity to work outdoors, the opportunity to exercise and opportunity to make your own decisions… you win.”