The dream of ditching the city to become small-scale farmers is nearly impossible, right? The small farmer in America is dying or already dead, or so the story goes.
Chris & Holly met in the summer of 2006 at Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island during a weekend retreat with the Nature Conservancy. We were both living and working in the city, with a mutual interest in the local food movement. The Omnivore’s Dilemma, written by Michael Pollan, was trending at the time, causing many people to re-evaluate our food system. And for some, our lifestyle choices. The idea of sustainable farming interested us. We liked the pastured livestock model that Farmer Joel Salatin was preaching at Polyface Farms in Virginia. Research led us to organizations like the Peconic Land Trust and their Farms for the Future Initiative. We became aware of enough farmers who were making a go of it by selling organic produce/livestock locally direct to customers. There seemed to be substantial demand and limited supply. That’s a formula we understand – perhaps this was worth a try after all!
With no agricultural experience, Chris first became an apprentice at Garden of Eve Organic Farm in Riverhead, NY. He’s been told that he wasn’t their oldest apprentice, but he hasn’t met anyone older in that position. While at Garden of Eve, he raised, processed and sold broiler chickens on pasture. Ted Lee, co-author of the Lee Brother’s Southern Cookbook, was our first customer while vacationing on the North Fork. We officially launched Browder’s Birds in 2010 with a lease from the Peconic Land Trust for a 5 acre parcel of preserved farmland in Southold. Over the years we continued to grow and in addition to broilers, we raise laying hens, ducks, turkeys and a flock of sheep. In 2012, we purchased our 16-acre farm and home in Mattituck. Our farmstand is open every weekend. We process our own poultry on-farm in a licensed, mobile facility. Our poultry is Certified Organic by NOFA-NY. We sell nearly everything we raise on the East End.
The North Fork is a magical place. Our dream led us here to a life of farming – getting dirty every day, sleeping like a rock at night, planning and more planning, and meeting lots of great people. We could not be luckier!
|Holly Holly is a past member of the Long Island Farm Bureau Board of Directors, served as Vice President of the Greenport Farmers’ Market Board and helped start the Riverhead Indoor Farmers Market launched in February of 2014. From 2005 – 2009 she was a member of the Nature Conservancy’s Young Professionals Board in New York City and she remains an active supporter of the Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve. Prior to farming, she was at McKinsey & Company, Inc. Contact Holly: email@example.com|
|Chris Chris, a native of North Carolina, has lived in New York for over 30 years. He’s a former Bank of America corporate and investment banker, but prefers the life of a farmer. In Januray of 2014 he was elected to the Board of Directors of NOFA-NY serves as Treasurer. Contact Chris: firstname.lastname@example.org|