The beauty of not having land in the family and essentially starting with a blank slate is that we can pretty much choose any location to start our farm. However, it is a blessing and a curse. Figuring out where to farm has been, and continues to be, the most difficult decision to make. Sometimes I wish the choice was already made for us and we had no other option but to make it work. Since that’s not the case, we spend an inordinate amount of time debating the pros and cons of weather, land prices, water access, distance from family, proximity to end markets, and so on. We’ve done a fair amount of research on each topic, so I’ll throw out a few bits and pieces of our decision-making process... and if anyone has feedback we’d love to hear it!
When we were visiting Alan and Nancy Brown at Lewis Waite Farm a few weeks ago (post about that coming soon!) I had a chat with Nancy about which cuts are the worst sellers. I'll just put it this way, when we’re raising and selling our own meat we won't exactly be eating filet mignon every night. We’re going to be eating like farmers! We’ll make use of the less popular parts in our own kitchen to be sure that the full animal is utilized, which reduces waste and also nourishes our family. Not surprisingly, the most ignored parts of the animals are the offal. Offal, eh? Here's Chris Cosentino's definition:
Photo: Grady's Farm. Red Hook, NY.
There’s a lot of information out there about starting a farm. The amount of information only seems to increase as you learn about it. Have you ever tried to dig through a sand dune? I lived in New Mexico growing up, so I have. Reading about starting a farm is a lot like that. For every useful book or blog you come across you find another! And another! And another! And they’re all hidden gems and they’re all extremely useful and critical to your farm education, but they won’t build you a farm.
We're living in Brooklyn and working in our "dream" occupations in Manhattan, where's the pot of gold?
We came to New York City to fulfill childhood goals that were based on high-paying jobs and glamorous lifestyles. The keys to a happy life were well determined and we could achieve them if we tried. Well, here we are - goal achieved! Or not. Luckily we've got the love part down, but the rest of it, not so much.