2018 Neil Robson Farmers Against Hunger Award
Lee Turkey Farm
Lee Turkey Farm is 54 acres nestled in the arms of suburbia in East Windsor, NJ. Hundreds of fruit trees and acres of vegetables are always available for picking, making it a very popular destination for “pick your own” fans. And for those not inclined to go out into the fields, there is a market offering the farm’s own fresh, delicious produce. Lee Turkey Farm also holds true to its name, raising 5,000 turkeys annually with the highest quality, oven-ready turkeys and turkey parts available year-round.
The Lee Farm is also very rich in history. Its farmhouse dates back to 1802 and all the original barns are beautifully painted and still in use. The Lee Family has farmed the same land for six generations, since 1868.
Throughout many years, different generations of the Lee family have been active in New Jersey’s agricultural industry, and have served in many leadership capacities. Currently, Ronny and Janet Lee actively oversee the operations of Lee Turkey farm, and have done much to involve themselves in the community.
Ronny and Janet have generously donated their surplus produce and turkeys to Farmers Against Hunger for years. One day, FAH Director Brian was making an otherwise normal donation pickup, when he happened to casually mention gleaning. Ronny, clearly surprised, said, ‘You guys glean, too?’ And that was the beginning of a valuable gleaning relationship. In the past two years, Ronny and Janet have hosted 21 gleanings and have donated 55,000 pounds of turkeys and produce, including sweet corn, apples, tomatoes, and peppers. Ronny readily welcomes volunteers at each gleaning, checks on progress, offers tools and assistance, and stores produce when trucks are delayed. The FAH team is truly grateful for Ronny and Janet’s continued support, graciousness, and generosity.
The Neil Robson Farmers Against Hunger Award is presented to an individual or family who provides extraordinary support to the NJ Farmers Against Hunger program.
The award is presented at the NJ State Agricultural Convention, during the Ag Society Luncheon.
In Memory of Neil Robson
Neil D. Robson and his wife Jean were the proprietors of the popular and successful Robson Farms & Greenhouses in North Hanover and Robson's Farm Markets in Springfield, Southampton and North Hanover, farming nearly 1,200 acres of crops across Burlington County.
Neil believed in the future of agriculture. So much so, that he preserved over 500 acres of his property to be maintained as farmland forever. He served as the president of the New Jersey Farmers Direct Marketing Association, the vice chairman and acting chairman of the Burlington County Agriculture Development Board, past president of the Burlington County Board of Agriculture, past president of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, and as a member of the North Hanover Township Planning Board and chairman of its Agriculture Advisory Board.
Neil was the third generation of the Robson family to farm in New Jersey and received countless awards for his contributions to the agricultural industry. American Vegetable Grower Magazine named him as a finalist for National Outstanding Farmer of the Year in 2005, the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey named him Grower of the Year in 1996, and the Burlington County Soil Conservation Service named him as Cooperator of the Year in 1994. Neil was named as both Burlington County's and New Jersey's Outstanding Young Farmer in 1993. Also that year, he was named one of the New Jersey Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Citizens, and Neil was Farm Credit of New Jersey's Outstanding Young Farmer in 1988.
In addition to dedicating himself to his family and to his farm, Neil was a great humanitarian who, every week, would donate an average of 800 pounds of produce to the New Jersey Agricultural Society’s Farmers Against Hunger program. Additionally, he opened his farm to gleanings, in which the program partners with schools and other groups to pick surplus produce.