Gene Krupski, B.B.A. ’87, M.B.A. ’88, is the owner and operator of MarGene Farms
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Owner and Operator of MarGene Farms
Favorite Professors: Professor Collins and Professor Premeggia
Greatest professional accomplishment: Providing people with healthy food. “It’s a healthier way of eating. I mean everyone is used to eating foods with chemicals on them. It’s not healthy. We’ve literally had people who beat cancer and contacted us for our vegetables.”
Since 1905, the Krupski family has owned and operated a sprawling farm in Mattituck that is known today as MarGene Farms. The name MarGene Farms was derived from the first names of its current owners Maryann and Gene Krupski, B.B.A. ’87, M.B.A. ’88.
Every morning, Gene gets up bright and early to go to work on his 6 acres of land. “In essence, you can say we have over 10 acres,” said Gene, “because we utilize the whole property and we replant. When one crop comes out, I put another one in.” At MarGene Farms, the Krupskis tend to their chickens and grow a wide variety of crops. They then sell the fruits of their labor to customers who are eager to buy fresh produce and eggs. “We sell a lot at farmers markets and we go west into areas like Queens and we sell there,” Gene said. “We have a CSA in Deer Park, we sell in Woodbury, Oyster Bay, Garden City, and a lot of other different areas.” They do not advertise. Instead, their business comes entirely from referrals. Their biggest clients are restaurants. “We sell to a lot of restaurants,” he said. “A big reason is that we started doing all this around the time the farm to table boom took off in the area.”
A decade ago, Gene, Maryann, and their daughter and son moved from their home in Farmingdale to the farm where Gene had grown up. The land was previously owned by his grandfather who then passed it down to his father. Both men were potato farmers. Although he has three sisters and two brothers, Gene is the only one who took to farming. “It’s a lot different today though. I do everything organically. We just use nature. We use good insects to kill the bad insects. And there’s more that you do, you build up the ground, and there are earthworms etc.” Krupski said. “I not only learned how to farm from my dad but I also got a business sense from him. He was a good businessman. I later learned more about business when I went to Adelphi.”
Krupski came to Adelphi in 1985 as a transfer student from Suffolk Community College (SCC) and enrolled as a management major. A professor from SCC had recommended Adelphi to him because of the University’s strong business program. Krupski will never forget his father telling him before he left for college, “The farm will always be here.” Krupski then said, “I guess in the back of my mind I always knew I’d return to farming. It’s just in my blood.”
“I was always on campus,” Gene said about his years at Adelphi. “I loved it.” Among his favorite instructors were Professor Collins and Professor Premeggia. “I remember doing a paper on potato farming [for Professor Premeggia’s class] and got an A-,” said Gene with a smile. In his junior year, Gene became of member of Delta Sigma Pi, a fraternity organized to foster the study of business. “That helped me get more acclimated to Adelphi,” he said. “I think we were one of the largest pledge classes. We had about 25 to 30 men and women who pledged. It was a great group of people. Dean Buckner was a member and that was helpful. He was great. He was always very approachable.”
Amazingly, Gene was able to pay for his entire Adelphi experience by utilizing his skills as a farmer. “My dad gave me an acre or two and I fooled around with it and I was able to pay for my whole college education,” he said. By then, Gene had much practice in the business of farming. In fact, he had landed his first deal when he was just a young boy. “I was maybe 10 years old when I made a deal to sell vegetables,” he said. “When we negotiated the price, the buyer wanted to give me a certain amount but I said no and I held firm until I got the price that I asked. Everyone who sold their stuff at the auction block got a lot less than me.”
After graduating from Adelphi in 1988, Gene went to work for Bank Leumi as a teller. Soon after, the manager of his branch recommended that he go through their credit training program. This set him on a path that led to a successful 25 year career in the finance sector of the insurance industry. For over 20 of those years, he worked for AIG where he worked his way up from analyst to credit director.
As Gene’s career was starting to wind down, a new opportunity presented itself to the Krupskis. Spearheaded by Maryann, the Krupski’s farm business was starting to take off. “She was a big part of getting all this started,” Gene said about his wife. “She started it while I was working at AIG. I was doing it part time and she was doing it full time. I was literally harvesting produce for restaurants and loading up her car before I went into Manhattan. And I’d do it all over again when I came back.” Maryann then said, “Honestly it really wasn’t going to be a business. Our children were getting older and I was talking to my hairdresser about what I might want to do. I had been a stay at home mom for over 20 years. She said why you don’t sell some of the vegetables. At the time, Gene was just doing gardening. I mean his garden was big, it wasn’t an average garden. The following year was when Greenport Farmers Market opened up. I started talking to a couple of chefs and it just blossomed and became big really quick. When Gene took it on full time and we expanded more we started to make a bit of money.”
A key to the Krupski’s success is their use of high tunnels. “They are like a greenhouse the only difference is they are higher up off the ground and crops are planted right in the ground. They use the sun so you don’t use heat. I haven’t had to use heat and I have harvested in January and February,” said Gene.
When asked what they feel is their biggest accomplishment up until this point, Maryann said, “For me it’s that we are feeding people healthy food.” Gene agreed. “It’s a healthier way of eating,” he said. “I mean everyone is used to eating foods with chemicals on them. It’s not healthy. We’ve literally had people who beat cancer and contacted us for our vegetables.”
Regarding their biggest challenges, Gene said with a laugh, “The biggest challenge is the weather. You can control that in the high tunnels. I can start my season earlier and end my season later because of the high tunnels.” Maryann added, “And it’s not just Mother Nature but also the animals and pests. I would also say another challenge is from one week to the nest, we don’t know exactly what people are going to order. That’s a challenge because sometimes we are left with excess produce but overall we’ve been pretty good with it and it’s nice that we can give what we do have left to our family and friends. We try at least once a year to donate to soup kitchens. We donate to CAST and Island Harvest.”
The Krupskis also host several farm to table dinners a year on their farm where renowned chefs come and prepare food for guests while they take in all the beauty the tremendous farm has to offer. The Krupskis farm in also part of the North Fork Foodie Tour a self-guided, behind the scenes tour of local farms, vineyards and food artisans. All proceeds from the tour are given to the North Fork Reform Synagogue.
About how his experience at Adelphi prepared him for the rest of his life, Gene said, “Overall, my experience at Adelphi made me more outgoing. It taught me how to deal with people from all walks of life which is crucial in business.”
Published September 2017
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