I've been helping with food production since growing up on a family homestead in the woods of New Hampshire, where we raised horses, sheep, and a rotating menagerie of any farm animals you can imagine--chickens, rabbits, pigs, cows, donkeys, as well as an omnipresent flock of dogs and cats. We also had fruit trees, extensive gardens, sugar maples, and amazing berry patches. The majority of our family's food came from our land and animals.
My first vegetable farm work was for the epitome of a cantankerous Yankee farmer at sixteen where I learned more commercial scale planting, weeding, harvesting, and driving my first tractors.
In my late teens, I enjoyed a period of traveling around the country, hiking, and spending time in the woods before moving back to NH and going into carpentry. I enjoy most aspects of working with wood and feeling like you can make tangible things with your hands, from cabinets or rails, all the way up to full house construction.
After meeting Maryellen in NH, I learned more about vegetable production working as her garden conscript, and started taking charge of raising animals for us and our neighbors, including sheep, pigs, turkeys, and chickens. We decided on a change of scenery when Maryellen was offered a farm manager job in the Hudson Valley.
Once there, I started to tire of carpentry and working inside while growing more interested in farming as a profession, so I made the career switch and worked on a small CSA-style orchard in New Paltz, where I learned a lot about marketing and selling farm products. After a season there, I had the opportunity to work for a couple years as the Field Manager at Hearty Roots Farm, a big organic CSA delivering to NYC. That was a great place to learn about large scale CSA harvest and production, use a wide range of heavy and cultivating tractors and implements, and work as part of a knowledgeable farm crew.
In 2011, we were starting to look around at farms in the greater Utica and Syracuse region, and felt like these rolling fields might be a good fit. It's definitely been a climatic change for me from the longer season (and less windy/snowy) Hudson Valley, and the much shorter season, but sunnier winters, of NH!