Thursday, April 3, 2008

Spring Photos

Greenhouse full of onions, parsley, eggplant, peppers, cabbage, and celeriac.

Luke and Cara seeding broccoli

Onion seedlings

Day-old lamb

Newborn piglets


Outside, the rain is falling down and the damp atmosphere makes me want to spend a few hours in the office. Yes, I am not much of an office person. I correspond and write early in the morning when it is still dark outside and I simply can’t do much outside. With Jody dreading inside work just as much, we certainly have a particular management style that puts a cap on the growth of the farm. Jody and I are like a chef owner that can’t leave the kitchen. Linda (who we hope is happy spending 20 hours a week in the office) is pointing out another email from a disappointed wannabe member:

“Hi. We are writing regarding a membership to the Delmar, NY site. It is now the third year that we have been too late to sign up. By the time we checked in February, it was all full!!!! Because we have several little kids, it would be difficult to do another site. We are wondering if we can be put on the waiting list now, for 2009? My husband and I are third generation vegetarians and very much in need of what you have to offer. Our neighbor introduced us to your goods several years ago and in fact we enjoyed what she and her family were unable to use (or didn’t know how to use).” Jolene Albany, NY

These are not the only type of emails we receive. We get emails from groups that lost their CSA farmer. Other emails are from existing groups that want to start a new site or from individuals that want to create a whole new system of food delivery based on bicycle power. They have one thing in common: they want us to grow their food.

We have to say no to all of them. And it is not about the money. It is about the fact that the farm is a living system. These days we are the steward of about 285 acres, we are actively farming about 200 of those; 90 in vegetables and covercrops and 110 in hay and pasture. That leaves about 85 acres to the woods, wetlands, ponds and the creek while some land is lost to roads and development. While most of the land is dedicated to food production it hosts a great number of species. For more detailed information about the biodiversity on our farm please read the report from the Landscape Ecology by visiting At the home page click on roxbury farm manuals and then click on Landscape ecology study on North and South Farm (or if you received this letter by email simply click directly on this link).

The farm can feed about a thousand families with a full share of vegetables while our capacity for meat has not been tapped yet. We can not expand our vegetable acreage without compromising the integrity of the farm. So, we can make some of the people happy all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but we cannot make all the people happy all the time. Y You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you ca
Sometimes emails make us happy. We were asked for permission to feature Roxbury Farm and the multiple benefits of CSA on a website. As people write the craziest things about us I wanted to read the copy before it was posted. To my surprise it was an elegant piece and I just quote the last sentence of the piece: “The life of the farm and the life of the community become part of a shared alternative that represents a healthier and more sustainable food system”. For the complete article go to American Feast

What we need is just a whole lot more Roxbury Farms in the Hudson Valley. We are willing to help young farmers start one but we just don’t want to run another one; this one will do just fine.

On another note; the lambs are coming in with the first three born yesterday. The first baby piglets arrived soon after. The greenhouse is filling up with onions, cabbages, celeriac, parsley, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. It is a lovely sight to see new life sprouting again.

See you in June,
for Jody and the Roxbury Farm Crew