Meet the Farmer

_1MG_7912I was born in St. Louis, Mo., (that’s why I hate the cold), but our family moved to the greater Springfield, Mass., area when I was 5. As a young child my favorite memories were going to the local u-pick farm and peeking into the greenhouses, checking out the flowers, and  picking strawberries and blueberries. We also had a small garden where, when I was 8, I grew cucumbers and carrots — I’m still obsessed with growing the perfect carrot — and way too many summer squash. I remember loading a wheelbarrow full of veggies, carting it around to the neighbors and giving stuff away.

In 1999, my family moved to the current farm in Middle Granville, N.Y., near the Vermont border. We wanted land to have chickens and a bigger garden, and we wanted out of the corporate, suburban lifestyle. Dad found a job in Pawlet, Vt., and we were able to find some land in Middle Granville. The family started gardening, and I started raising and hatching ducks and chickens.

By 2002, the garden and chickens were producing more than the family could use and Philip, my older brother, decided to explore the local farmers market. Philip was in charge of the garden to begin with, and he started going to the farmers market in Granville, some weeks we were lucky to cover the daily market fee.

In 2004, with encouragement from another local grower, Philip and I started attending the Glens Falls Farmers Market and growing on a much bigger scale. The Glens Falls market was our first good market, and we realized we really could make a business out of it. That fall, Philip and I put up our first greenhouse, which was the first of many others (now more than 14,000 square feet). Since then, the farm has grown to include more than 100 acres of rented and leased land, 3 farmers markets per week, year-round production in the multiple high-tunnels, and a summer crew of six full time people.

While I originally began farming as a way to make money during the summer, now, it is more of a love of being outdoors, of working closely with nature and the great people in our crew. It is about providing the best food possible year-round to our great, loyal customers. It is about being a steward of God’s great Earth (Gen. 1:26-28), of caretaking and nurturing it. What do I stay busy with besides farming now?  Music (I play the trumpet), boating (Sam and I bought a small boat and waterskis a couple of summers ago), working with wood (both in the shop and in the woods), speaking about farming (3 to 4 conferences per year), and leading Bible study at the local Jail.

You can learn more about Michael and keep up with his activities by visiting his blog, michael-kilpatrick.com