130 Acres and a Pond

NaturalHealthMag.com

In my Green Acres blog, you read how this urban, middle-aged woman fell in love with the land. I craved healthier food and wanted to be involved with its creation, from seed to harvest. After spending time at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Harlemville, N.Y., I began to consider the possibility of buying something in the area.

When Steffen Schneider, director of farm operations at Hawthorne Valley Farm, suggested a particular piece of land that was for sale, I immediately planned a visit.

The property matched my mental checklist perfectly: beautiful hay fields, a pond, woods and two streams—one spring-fed. I particularly liked the fact that the owner had placed all but two acres of the land into a Land Conservancy Trust, meaning it can never be used for anything but farming. It was also much more reasonably priced than land that could be developed. The broker mentioned it had been on the market for a while and the owner was eager for a deal. But I needed to hear from a seasoned farmer just what he saw in it.

Steffen met me the next afternoon and as we walked the property together, he ticked off the qualities of the land and soil that he thought made it ideal for farming. I began to see it through the eyes of a farmer, rather than a city girl. When he said, “Any farmer would be thrilled to farm this land,” I knew this was my property. I turned to him and asked if he would like to farm it. His face lit up with pleasure. He then told me of his dream to bring biodynamically grown rye and wheat back to the Hudson Valley and to use it for their wholegrain bread baking operation. The thought of my having a hand in this venture appealed to me on so many levels. Two weeks later, I had a signed contract!