On his days off from a Paris nursery where he works, Pablo Hernandez can be found at Ewetopia Farm. For the past 18 years, Pablo has spent his weeks working nights and Saturdays in addition to his full-time job, saving and sending money to his family in Mexico.
Pablo immigrated to the U.S. from San Luis Potosí, Mexico, more than 20 years ago. Upon arrival, he worked odd jobs and picked produce. He eventually wound up in Paris, working in the farming industry, where he found more stability.
Today, Pablo lives in Paris in a three-bedroom duplex he often opens up for friends and family needing a room to rent. Currently, his brother-in-law, Luis Hernandez, and a co-worker from the nursery live there.
“I like staying always doing something, stay busy," Pablo says. "Not really about money; we need money, but I enjoy it.”
When he gets bored at his apartment, he heads to Ewetopia Farm.
Ewetopia Farm is the hobby farm of Dee and Jerry Alleyne -- a couple who met training border collies to herd sheep. Jerry had just retired, while Dee was downsizing her business, so they started their farm, naming it "Utopia".
The name change from "Utopia" to "Ewetopia" begins in North Middletown, where the couple was known for their liberal politics. Jerry, who sports a Bernie Sanders tattoo, was playfully dubbed “Obama” by fellow guests at the local diner, who would shout out the nickname every time he walked in.
As the couple began to build their farm and its horses, border collies, sheep, donkeys, goats, and more than 18 cats and dogs, their neighbors began to ask about the name Utopia. So, they changed it to a more readable name – Ewetopia.
Almost two decades after opening Ewetopia Farm, the Alleynes met Pablo by happenstance.
Ever since they met, Dee says Pablo takes the initiative and “just shows up and knows what needs to be done,” working meticulously and with care.
“He takes care of everything around here, and he does everything to perfection,” Dee says. “He's so proud of his work; he doesn't just do stuff and earn his money and walk on.”
Pablo enjoys working part-time at Dee’s because of the tranquil environment. He can bring his radio and play music while he works.
“I call him a hero because he takes care of us,” Dee says. “He is the difference between us being seriously able to live on our own little farm and not because we can't keep up with everything ourselves.”
Pablo also likes to go to the farm at night to stargaze. “In summer, in the night, you can see the moon and the stars,” Pablo says. “It’s dark, and you still see the light because of the moon. I like it,” Pablo says his wish for the future is eventually to move back to Mexico to the house he built. “Stay close to family and find somebody maybe… I don’t have any company now,” he says. But for now, Pablo will stay in Paris, busy at the nursery and Ewetopia Farm.