Rafael was born in Trujillo, Venezuela. For many generations, his family has farmed (coffee, beef and dairy cows) in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Rafael’s favorite memories are working on a ranch on horseback and sleeping outdoors in a hammock. He has a bachelor’s in economics from the Catholic University Andres Bello in Caracas and a master’s in Agricultural Management from the University of Reading in England. In England, he met his wife, Mary, who was also studying abroad. Rafael worked for Campbell Soup company first at a mushroom farm in Pescadero, California and later as an ingredient buyer in Camden, NJ. When their children fledged, Mary and Rafael traded in their suits for overalls and started farming. They tend vegetables, mushrooms, sheep, sheep guardian dogs, chickens, a dairy cow, and bees on their farm in Columbus NC.

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