“This is the best country in the world,” Kozhaya “John” Nessralla told the TRIAD group assembled April 5, the first Tuesday of the month. He told them that when he came to the United States in 1958 when he was 15, there was a lot to comprehend, coming from farm life in Lebanon. He had never seen television in Lebanon and there wasn’t any running water. Turning on a faucet and having water come out was magic. Electric lighting at his Lebanon farm was one light bulb in the middle of the room. When he began school at Brockton High he couldn’t speak or read any English.
Farming is hard work, but for him is a passion. He loves it. He learned the craft as a little boy following his father around the farm in Lebanon where his family grew apples, flowers, and vegetables. Farming teaches you how to respect nature because “you are at its mercy,” Nessralla said. If it rains for three days, you wait a week to work the fields again. “I like the greenhouses. There you have some control,” he said. His six greenhouses right now are full to bursting with spring flowers, vegetable and herb seedlings, all getting ready for the season ahead. All the pots of flowers, the pansy bowls, the flowering bulbs for Easter will come from his greenhouses on Hemlock Lane. “The only flowers we sell but don’t grow are Easter Lilies.”
Ken Vinton, president of TRIAD, was pleased that Nessralla could take time from his busy spring work to speak to TRIAD. “You make the time for the community,” Nessralla answered. Vinton also thanked Nessralla for all of the donations over the decades that Nessralla has given to the town.
When his Uncle Abdu came to Halifax in 1947, they built their greenhouses on the site of the old Sturtevant Farms at the intersection of Routes 58 and 106. “From there, we grew a little at a time,” Nessralla said. His father and uncle began the Nessralla’s in Marshfield, and they took over Penniman Hill Farms in Hingham, and other members of the family have similar businesses in Wareham and Avon.
“Farming is hard work,” he said. Today, he and his brother farm 150 acres in Halifax. It takes a strong work ethic to work the land, he said. He has loved living and working in Halifax and feels privileged to be a part of the community.