Family owned and operated Gilbertie's Organics, celebrating its 100th year, appointed Easton resident Cimi Carreño as general manager of its farming operations as the company positions itself for its second century, according to a press release.
"She is leading us into our next century," said Sal Gilbertie, owner president and chief executive officer of Gilbertie's Organics, who has led the company for more than six decades.
Carreño supervises the daily operations at Gilbertie’s greenhouse farm, the source of Gilbertie’s potted herbs and vegetable plants for garden centers and its signature line of soil-grown microgreens carried in grocery stores and restaurants in four New England states.
A native of Argentina, Carreño is enthusiastic about joining a generational business with a rich history.
“Sal knows what he’s doing,” Carreño said. “He has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience, all stored inside him. I’m listening to him and documenting it, then organizing it a bit.”
Her goals include expanding the reach of Gilbertie’s certified organic microgreens and baby salad greens, helping the public discover the benefits of nutritious, soil-grown organics.
“We know that soil-grown microgreens taste better and there are studies saying that they’re more nutritious,” said Gilbertie. “Cimi is a great advocate for our greens and tells me she started eating them before she ever worked at our farm.”
Carreño’s appointment puts her at the helm of a one of the first and largest certified organic greenhouse farms in New England. She is working hard to expand the wide variety of certified organic potted herbs and vegetables, continuing the long tradition of high-quality Gilbertie’s products that garden centers throughout the East Coast have come to expect.
Carreño’s responsibilities include overseeing approximately forty employees as well as growing schedules at the Easton 37-acre, certified organic farm, with twenty greenhouses.
A certified emergency medical technician and former 911 dispatcher, Carreño has been with Gilbertie’s Organics for two years and comes from a family of growers. Her mother and one of her two brothers run J&L Orchids, also of Easton, Connecticut
“I am definitely more excited coming to work because of how much there is to do and think about,” Carreño said. “I’m thrilled to continue to learn from Sal.”
Gilbertie and Carreño are tireless in their efforts to position the company to meet the challenges of modern methods of greenhouse growing in the 21st century. Both are working to educate new pandemic-era gardeners, support veteran growers and help the public to understand the benefits of certified organic, soil-grown herbs, vegetables, and microgreens at the family table.
Looking toward the future, Carreño’s hopes to blend the new and the old, keeping Gilbertie traditions at the forefront of her work.
“I want to keep the kindness established on the farm” Carreño said. “Sal has kept the integrity of farming. He is not a big scary boss to anyone here, he’s everyone’s family. We work hard because we care about him, we care about the farm and the plants. We are all attached to this place. I don’t want to lose that.”
While Carreño is the first female farm manager for Gilbertie’s, she is not the first female manager among the Gilbertie family of companies. She follows in the steps of Celeste Gilbertie Vodola, who managed the company’s retail division at the Westport garden center from 1989 to 1997 and Carrie Williams Gilbertie, who has managed the garden center since 1998.
Carrie Gilbertie planned and executed the successful 100th anniversary party on June 4 as a thank you to the local community. Held on the grounds of the Westport garden center location, where the business began in 1922; the event featured music by Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads, commendations from local and state government officials and goods offered by local artisans and crafters.
“We have been fortunate to have such great leaders — my mother, Carrie, Celeste and Cimi — who have already done amazing things and put us in a great position for our next century,” Gilbertie said.