Esty learns farmer’s struggles firsthand
HARWINTON – Heavy rain on Friday didn’t stop U.S. Rep. Elizabeth H. Esty from picking her own raspberries at Deeply Rooted Farms and learning more about the struggles faced by the family-owned small business.
“It’s really exciting to see the commitment this family has to this land and providing delicious, healthy foods,” Esty said. “Those of us in elected office need to commit to having sensible rules to protect the food and land, and allow these people to run a small business.”
Jonathan Sederquist gave Esty a tour of his family’s 210-acre farm on Terryville Road. Both Sederquist and his parents own the land where they launched Deeply Rooted Farm as a starter business in 2006. The family grows strawberries, raspberries and blackberries that also are available as pick-your-own fruits to residents. They also sell pumpkins and Christmas trees.
“We really appreciate the congresswoman taking an interest in our business and in our small town,” Sederquist said. “She reached out to us. It was part of her willingness to want to see who’s in her district, and what we’re up against and dealing with and thriving with. I hope she took back a greater appreciation of what we’re doing in our community, what our farm is about and the type of business we run.”
Sederquist said some of the struggles his small business faces involve the Food Safety Act, labor laws and banking regulations.
“This has been a reminder of what I see all the time – these regulations on small businesses don’t end up achieving goals or solving ongoing issues,” Esty said. “We need to come up with policies that are fair to families and local businesses. I’m excited about promoting these young farms and new farmers.”
“It’s encouraging to see Washington-level politicians reach out to understand small businesses in America,” Sederquist said. “I think a lot of people can agree things aren’t heading in the right direction in this country at the moment, and it’s a lot harder for the average person to get ahead. Seeing the congresswoman take interest in that is a heartening thing.”
Esty later met with Plymouth Mayor David V. Merchant at Eagle’s Nest restaurant to discuss challenges he faces in his town, such as getting federal funding to clean up a demolished gas station site and to complete environmental remediation at former schools.