Name: Chelsa M Hernandez

Where do you live? East Orange, NJ

When did you move there? We bought our home here about three years ago

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Hunterdon County, NJ on a 5 acre farm where we raised dairy goats, horses, and chickens.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

I am a farmer and small business owner at Coeur et Sol Urban Farms LLC where I grow microgreens, lettuce mixes, root crops, tomatoes, flowers, and more. We distribute through a 14 member CSA, Farm & Fork Society’s CSA, local restaurants (Pig & Prince, Le Salbuen, The Corner, Samba Montclair, Le Petit Parisien, Villalobos, Little Bear, and more), and two farmers markets (Crane Park Farmers Market in Montclair & East Orange Farmers Market).

We also source produce from our rural, urban and suburban farm friends: Swampy Vale Farm in Pittstown, Brown Leaves Farm in Bedminster, Ground2Feet Urban Farm in Belleville, SWAG Project Farm in Newark, and Old Village Farm in Milford.

Coffee, tea or … ? Definitely coffee!

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? If I have a day off, you can find me catching up on sleep, and then maybe going for a long hike in the woods. That sounds perfect to me!

What’s your favorite local restaurant? That is a tough question to answer!  I love all the restaurants I sell to.

What’s on your nightstand? A picture of my husband, an essential oil diffuser, about 3 half full glasses of water, a lamp, and some homemade lavender calendula hand salve for these farmer hands!

What are you listening to? Lately, I have been listening to Natalie Prass (song “Short Court Style”) and the new Poolside album, “Heat”.

What are your current indulgences? Definitely sautéed squash, eggplant, and green beans freshly picked from the urban farm and homestead garden.

What talent you would most like to have? The ability to multiply myself so that I can have the ability to get more things done everyday.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about East Orange? 

I would have to say that East Orange has a budding interest in Urban Agriculture. Not only is my urban farm here, but the East Orange Sustainable Food Alliance is starting a community farm around the corner as well. It is definitely inspiring to be a part of this movement in my city.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?

It is my hope that my family gathers for an intimate get together and laughs just as much as they cry, and that there is a celebration of the life lived and the way I left the world better than I found it.