Down on the Farm

For their soon-to-be-published book, Hudson River Valley Farms, author Joanne Michaels and photographer Rich Pomerantz visited more than 40 dairy, produce, fruit, and flower farms between Westchester and Albany. Here are profiles of 10 of these farms — and their farmers — taken from the text



(page 8 of 10)

Sprout Creek Farm

LaGrangeville, Dutchess County

The mission of 200-acre Sprout Creek Farm — to connect people with animals and nature, as well as one another — is immediately in evidence upon arrival. Margo Morris led me into an enormous farmhouse kitchen where there was a large towel-padded playpen with two baby goats. “If they nurse, they can develop an arthritis-like virus” passed on through the mother’s milk. “So, we keep them here, pasteurize the milk by heating it to 180 degrees, which kills the virus, and it’s then cooled and given to the goats in baby bottles.” When I wondered how she figured out this system, Margo told me: “I had to learn by reading, doing, and making mistakes. As a woman, I wasn’t taken seriously by neighboring farmers, and it was often difficult getting information from the local grapevine.”

Out of this experience, Margo revealed, grew a “feminine version of farming.” Agriculture, education, and environmental awareness come together here with enticing programs for both children and adults. There are goats, sheep, cows, chickens, ducks, and pigs, as well as all types of vegetables and herbs. Grasses and pasture are grown to feed the animals. Classes are offered to students from all over the region, and the children watch the entire process: Grass becomes the milk that is transformed into cheese, all on the kitchen table.

“We have no big foundation behind us,” admits Margo. “We just figure things out as we go along. And we are still figuring them out each day.”

Next: McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton

 

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