FVGAD honors Marvel, Carpenter family
HARRINGTON, Del. — The Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware recognized David Marvel Jr. and the Carpenter Family of Milton, Del., with its annual service awards during Delaware Agriculture Week, Jan. 15.
Marvel co-manages a 1,000-acre farm near Harrington with his father, David Marvel, growing fresh market and processing vegetable crops and has been the FVGAD president since 2017.
“Under his leadership the FVGAD helped with the first Farm-to-School programs here in Delaware, and he continues to work in the area of getting farm-fresh food into rural public schools in state,” said Dr. Gordon Johnson, University of Delaware Extension vegetable crops specialist who presented the award to Marvel. Johnson added Marvel was also “instrumental” in working with UD to establish its food safety training program.
Marvel is also vice president of the Kent County Farm Bureau, a member of the Governor’s Committee on Employment and Social Services and the Delaware Food and Farm Policy Council. He has served on advisory committees for UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Delaware Cooperative Extension.
He was a member of the first LEADDelaware class and was also named a Farm Aid Farm Hero in 2009.
Marvel said he was honored to join the company of past award winners and thanked his wife Robin and family for allowing him to participate in the agricultural groups.
“Even if you farm part-time or help on a farm, don’t be afraid you can’t contribute,” he said.
The Carpenters have a long history of vegetable growing, with record of a contract for Andrew Carpenter to grow lima beans for Milton Canning Co. in 1927. In 1949, Andrews daughter and son-in-law left their home in town to rent a farm outside of Milton for their son James Lee Carpenter, then a high school senior, to explore a career in farming.
The next year his parents bought the 235-acre farm with two chicken houses and he began a dairy with six cows.
This year begins the Carpenter’s 71st growing season with more than 5,000 acres in Sussex County and three generations of the family involved.
They grow corn, wheat, soybeans, peas, baby lima beans and sweet corn.
Emmalea Ernest, Extension fruit and vegetable program scientist said the family has been helpful in cooperating on sweet corn variety trials and serving as host sites for graduate student research.
“The Carpenters have been fantastic collaborators for us in Extension,” Ernest said. “They are known for being careful managers and have been extremely great to work with.”
James L. Carpenter Jr., said there are a lot people that have helped them grow their operation.
“The relationships that you see grow every year over the years,” he said. “As a farm family we appreciate the efforts of those involved in supporting, especially in the vegetable processing industry, and making it viable to continue to a next generation.”
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