Over the two decades it has been open, J.C. Farm and Greenhouses in Durham has flourished through the hard work of many.
Owner Vivian Caturano, in the flower business since she was 10, has become the model for her family’s work ethic. She opened J.C. Farm in 2000 and was partners with her former husband until about 2011.
“(Vivian) definitely taught me about the value of a dollar and really to get what you want you have to work hard and put in the hours,” said her 22-year-old son Giuseppe Caturano Jr., who has grown up on the farm and works full-time now.
Giuseppe was 2-years-old when his parents bought the 80-acre property on Wallingford Road (Route 68) and started building the business from scratch. The couple had four children together, two boys and two girls.
Because he wasn’t old enough to go to school, he spent days with his mom as she helped launch and build the business, which had three greenhouses and a small retail store to start.
These days, Giuseppe, his brother Alfonso and their mother work seven days a week, often about 12-hour days each day.
Vivian Caturano was forced to take an almost three-month break at the beginning of the year after back and brain surgery. She went back to work in mid-February.
“It was just a little bump in the road and I conquered it,” she said.
She’s recovered quickly and is back to working full days at the register seven days a week, greeting and helping customers.
“I love talking to customers and helping them decide what to plant,” she said. “… it’s a lot of hard work but it’s all worth it … It’s a happy place to work, it makes you want to come to work every morning.”
Giuseppe Caturano’s work changes every day, but usually involves physical labor – planting or fixing a tractor.
“I just enjoy the whole experience of having it be our own business,” he said.
He hopes to keep the business in the family when his mother retires, likely taking it over with his brother.
Over the years, the business has grown to have a much larger retail greenhouse, as well as five more where plants are grown.
About 45 acres are used for growing produce like vegetables, which they start selling around July 4. In the fall, they offer items like pumpkins and mums. Over the past five or six years, they’ve also started selling Christmas trees and other holiday items.