more about our farmers, how we grow, our delicious veggies and eggs, and how to reach us...
about our farmers
The Hartwood Farm family includes Matt and Maryellen, our enthusiastic farm dog in-training Beulah, and in the warmer months, a large group of excessively social busy-body laying hens and some hard-rooting pigs.
We've been farming for years, but moved to start Hartwood Farm in 2012 in part because we were growing hops and love Madison County's role as the historic center of east coast hops production, and in part because CNY is the perfect mix/midway point between Matt’s NH home and Maryellen’s Midwestern family, with both rolling hills and lake effect!
Maryellen grew up in Indiana, working with horses and being an indentured garden servant for her father, before beginning working on diversified vegetable and livestock farms in the northeast in 1998. Her early farm adventures including helping crash a tractor through a stone wall and finding a live grenade while harvesting potatoes! Matt grew up on a family homestead in NH and worked for many years as a carpenter, with his early farm adventures included having at some point pretty much every animal that lives in New England (those he wasn't allowed to keep the porcupine).
After meeting in NH in 2001, we started a market garden and CSA farm on leased land in 2002. In 2008, we headed out to NY's Hudson Valley for a change of pace where Maryellen managed a large educational farm and Matt was field manager at the awesome Hearty Roots Farm. And them we found the land that became Hartwood Farm...
We moved in February 2012, started planting in March, and delivered our first CSA shares in early June. We love CSA with a passion--it's our favorite way to farm because it gives us a chance to know our members and share our farm and our food with a great group of people! We distribute shares for CSA members in Fayetteville, Liverpool, Manlius, Syracuse, and at the farm, and also attend the Cazenovia Farmers Market.
We look forward to growing for you!
how we farm
Hartwood Farm has 70 acres, with ten acres under active production and five acres of those in vegetables each year. The farm sits in a breezy upland spot in the hills of Fenner, with mild temperatures, great limestone soils (though in some places they are a bit heavy on the stone part!), and lots of exciting wind.
CSA members and the community are welcome to explore the farm--besides the vegetable fields we have crop fields rotating through "green manure" crops to build fertility for future production, 30 acres of chicken pasture and hayfields (the hay gets eaten by the bison down the hill at Empire Buffalo!), and 25 acres in a young sugar bush way out back that we dream of tapping one day soon (and that has a new trail running through it for 2018!).
We are 100% committed to raising healthy and delicious food to feed our central NY community--a clean, healthy environment is important to us, and we only grow crops that we feel great about eating and sharing. Hartwood Farm is not certified organic, but we follow all the rules and practices approved for organic certification, with the long term goal of building up the good soil health and biodiversity that makes for the best tasting vegetables.
Some of these practices include using cover crops to protect soil from erosion and leaching, rotating crops to naturally reduce disease and pests, irrigating with drip systems to minimize water use, preventing pest damage with reusable floating row covers, and only using natural, organically approved sprays. Ask us if you have any questions, are interested in gardening, or just want to know more--we welcome member questions and visits--please contact us here!
Hartwood Farm grows a complete range of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Our crops include (among other things): beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, cucumbers, edamame, edible flowers, eggplant, fennel, lots of different herbs, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, spinach, summer squash, winter squash, zucchini, and a ton of different leafy greens!
We focus on providing a mix of heirloom and hybrid crops grown for great flavor throughout the season, and buy our seed from local and regional seed companies. Let us know if you have special requests, and we might be able to grow it!
Our first hens arrived in April 2013 and we have loved our layers (and their delicious eggs) ever since!
The little busybodies live in a mobile coop, which holds about 144 hens in the summer and 50 in winter. During the non-snowy parts of the year, we move our chickens weekly around the fields. A mobile net fence contains them to a half acre of fresh pasture at a time otherwise they'd be following us around the farm and eating veggies. This fencing also helps deter predators and from dusk to dawn, we lock the hens into their house to (hopefully) deter nighttime predators (everything likes to eat chicken!).
The hens also eat vegetables that don't make the cut to go to market--they particularly like melons, cucumbers, and tomatoes!
While the hens get much of their food from the grass and bugs and vegetables, we do feed them grain as well. We buy our feed from a local family feed mill (where it is milled fresh on site), however it is not organic feed. We do think our hens are happy though, and they produce some delicious tasting eggs!
Some of the big differences between pastured eggs and grocery store eggs include:
- Denser eggs (they seem to go further)
- Fresh, upright standing yolks and thick whites
- Their beautiful color
If you want to learn more about our eggs and our happy hens, check out this photo blog through a day in their life!
Hartwood Farm is about 30 minutes from downtown Syracuse and 20 minutes from Oneida, up in the hills of Fenner between Chittenango and Cazenovia, just up the hill from Chittenango Falls State Park.
We are easy to find and have a sign out front. Make sure to park on the East (farm) side of the road!