Puerto Ricans living part-time in Morris Township stay dedicated to their Island

Jimmy Vega setting up Christmas Trees at The Farm at Green Village
Beth Kujan
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Jimmy Vega lives in Puerto Rico, although he’s working at The Farm at Green Village through the Christmas Season.  He returns to his island in January. 

Come March, he will join a cohort of friends and countrymen returning to Greater Morristown for the growing season.  Most then will spend the winter rebuilding Puerto Rico.

Poinsettias at The Farm at Green Village

The Farm at Green Village is a popular garden center for Morristown residents.  With more than 30 acres of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals, The Farm sells garden accents, koi ponds and seasonal decorations (mistletoe, wreaths, and garlands).  

Farm animals include  peacocks, swans, ducks and bunnies and miniature cattle.

None of this commerce happens without a dedicated staff.  When it comes to the tree, shrub and plant wranglers, the staff comes from Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are US citizens with the right to work in any part of the country.

According to Vega, some of his countrymen have worked for the farm for 15 or 20 years.  They work through the summer season and move back to Puerto Rico before the cold weather arrives in Jersey.

Jimmy Vega at The Farm at Green Village

“The Island is where they grew up.  It’s their home” says Noelia Castro, a supervisor and permanent employee of The Farm. 

“When Hurricane Maria hit, we called to see if everyone was alright. They were. Their island was ruined, but they are more devoted to it than ever.”  

Vega concurs.  “I will return to Puerto Rico.”

The staff at The Farm at Green Village lives in Morris Township and surrounding areas. 

Although Morristown has a high percentage of full-time residents of Hispanic or Latino origin, few are from Puerto Rico, according to the 2015 American Community Survey for zip code 07960

Overall, Morris County’s population is about 13 percent Hispanic or Latino.

The highest concentration of Puerto Ricans in Morris County is Dover, with roughly 7 percent of the population of zip code 07810 from the island.  The Puerto Rican community may be expected to grow as US citizens relocate to find work and the funds to rebuild.

Backing up the lens, Spanish-speaking areas have been mapped by Census Business Builder, Small Business Edition — 2.2,  as seen below.  The breakdown of country of origin is not included in this analysis.

Percentage of full-time residents of Morris County who are of Hispanic origin. Dover has the most dense population of Spanish speakers. Mt Olive, Mine Hill and Rockaway Borough, both shaded in lavender have  15%-29%. Source: Business Builder, Small Business Edition – Census Bureau and Small Business Administration

The 2015 American Community Survey results for Morris County breaks out Mexican, Puerto Rico, Cuban and “Other.” 

Brazilian people appear to be underrepresented in Morris County. Fortunately, however, a Brazilian import — the Christmas Cactus — is not.

Hanging Christmas Cactus at The Farm at Green Village.  Photo by Beth Kujan
Hanging Christmas Cactus at The Farm at Green Village. Photo by Beth Kujan
Hanging Christmas Cactus at The Farm at Green Village.  Photo by Beth Kujan
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