farmland

Something awesome just fell into our lap

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You probably don't know this about us...but we want to sell our land. Well, that's not entirely true. We want to sell part of our land. Sort of. Let us tell you more about this before you start thinking that we've lost our minds. 

We first learned about this opportunity when Greg was doing his first farming apprenticeship in Albany back in the summer 2008. The Farmers were older and they had worked their 160 acre farm for years, raising organic veggies, pigs, beef, and chicken. They were nearing retirement and had to make some tough choices.

They could sell the land to the highest bidder - probably a developer who would likely pay beaucoup bucks and turn the pastures and vegetable fields into a housing development. Or, they could pursue what's called a conservation easement, where they would sell off the development rights to a land trust, fend off the developers indefinitely, and have the peace of mind of knowing their fields, forests and rivers would stay farmland forever. 

Like our farming mentors back in Albany, we can't just think about how to grow the best pastures and raise the most delicious meat, eggs and speciality produce. I mean, that stuff is fun and we obsess about it all day long, but we're also thinking about the big picture. How can we as farmers, make the biggest impact and do the most good for our community? 

In our minds, being good farmers means that we're being good stewards of our land. And for us, that means doing everything we can to make sure that this 56 acre slice of farmland in Henrietta is ready for all the generations of organic farmers that come up behind us. 

This week, we took a major step toward preserving this land.  With the help of the Genesee Land Trust, we received a grant that will allow us to take the first step forward in selling off the development rights of our farm (a lengthy expensive land appraisal process), and we are absolutely thrilled.
 
This will all take time, probably even more than we could imagine, and there are no guarantees. But if there's one thing that farming has taught us, it's that patience is a virtue.

Your Farmers, 
Jenney and Greg

How We Got Lucky

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A thoughtful woman you might know (cough, Oprah) says that luck is the meeting of preparation and opportunity.  I think that it is this sort of luck, that lead us to our farm here in Henrietta.  

After getting his pHd in chemistry, Greg spent years farming on other people's organic farms learning everything he could.  During this time, he would often come home from work and start sentences with "when we have our own farm....".  He had done his homework for sure, but hadn't quite found the right opportunity yet. 

He got serious about looking for land back in 2015 and spent many-an-evening searching online farm databases without much luck.  We eventually resorted to driving aimlessly around the Rochester suburbs looking for farms with for-sale signs or unused parcels of land. We often came home overwhelmed and disappointed.  

Then he came across an online listing for 1396 Rush Henrietta Townline Rd.  It was about 60 acres which was what we were aiming for and it was a 15-20 minute drive from downtown Rochester. It had been on the market for 10+ years and the price point was about right. On a whim, Greg went out and looked at it solo first. He was impressed. 

He took me out to see it a few days later. I didn't think much. It didn't look AT ALL like the farm I had envisioned. There wasn't a house, and there weren't any barns, electricity or water. The fields were all overgrown with brambles. I tried to hide my skepticism while we walked around the fields on this particularly, chilly dreary November day. He brought a shovel to check the soil types and measuring tape, just because. He talked about putting the veggie fields here and the turkeys there. It all seemed a little crazy to me, but he seemed so sure of himself. (As you probably already know by know, Greg isn't the type of person to put the cart-before-the horse. He is practical and thoughtful, and his confidence on this day still astounds me!)

When we got back into our car, I half-heartedly joked that we better start looking for houses nearby since I was no longer interested in living in a camper van as we discussed on a cross country road trip a few years before. Looking back, I think that some part of me hoped that a little shot of realism might snap him out of his excitement (not my proudest moment).  But as fate would have it, we started to drive away from the farm land and saw that the little yellow house directly next door was also for sale. 

We immediately pulled off onto the side of the road and looked at the listing online from our iPhones. The photos gave us a general sense of things inside...there was an absurd amount of brown wall paneling, shag carpets and a god-awful kitchen and bathroom...but maybe the bones of the house had some potential, somewhere? The truth was that it was a house that could be lived in and it was next to the land that my husband was obsessed with. So it was a go!

Our offers for the house and the land were accepted a few weeks later. We moved in mid-January and as further evidence of Greg's excitement, he brought home a bunch of pigs and a flock of chickens about 5 few days later. 

We have owned this house and land for almost 3 years now. And, we can't NOT feel the gratitude for everything and everyone that helped us get here. I feel gratitude to Greg for his vision, his dedication, and all the preparation he did to find this spot.  I have gratitude for myself, in being able to find beauty in the things we have and letting go of those we don't. We have gratitude for our bodies that enable us to do the farm work we love so much. We feel gratitude to our families and friends. And most of all, we have gratitude for our customers, who blow us away week after week showing up to market to support us.

Will we be seeing you this Sunday? It'll be a chilly one this week, so dress warmly.

Your farmers, 
Jenney and Greg