This winter we purchased 100 more acres of farmland next door to the Equity Trust property. In cooperation with Open Space Conservancy and the National Park Service we developed an easement that will keep the land in agriculture and protect the historic qualities of the property. The land was part of Martin Van Buren’s estate in the 1860’s and is located directly behind the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site.
Open Space Conservancy purchased the land in 2000 from Ray Meyer ( who farmed and owned it from 1942 till then) to protect it from development. We rented it from 2000 to until March 2004 when we purchased it from Open Space Conservancy. We have the right to build two barns on the land in a style similar to that of Martin Van Buren’s time,but we can never build a residence on the property. This restriction will keep the land from becoming an estate and will keep it affordable for a future farmer. The National Park Service can build a public hiking trail on the farm once they have permission from the federal government.
We gained 75 acres of prime agricultural land. We now have about 100 acres of vegetable land on the two properties. This land base gives us the opportunity to develop a wide crop rotation.
Each season we have 35 acres in vegetables and 35 acres in soil building cover crops. (The additional acreage is in hay and is used by a neighboring dairy farmer free of rent) Any field is kept in vegetables for two to three seasons and is then put into a cover crop for another two seasons. We use clover, rye & hairy vetch, and oats & peas for cover crops. They return fertility to the soil that is used up by the vegetables. Cover crops also interrupt the disease and weed cycles in the vegetable fields. Over the years this rotation will allow us to rebuild the land and regain its fertility.
The additional acreage also gives us the opportunity to be a more diversified farm. We have wanted to incorporate animals back into the farm since we moved. Now we have enough land to do so, but we just need to find the right person to help us manage the animal husbandry.
From July Newsletter 2004
COMING NEXT WEEK…
kohlrabi, bok choi, salad mix, strawberries, braising
greens, zucchini, garlic scapes, thyme, mint,
lemonbalm, & oregano
FRUIT SHARE: Apples
THIS WEEK’S VARIETIES
We often are asked the question what varieties do you grow and why. There are three things we look for in a variety; high yields, disease resistance, and flavor. Each year we like to try out new varieties but for the most part we rely on the old ones we find work the best on our farm.
Radish: “Altaglobe” A round red variety that is slow to become pithy and doesn’t easily break off from its leaves from handling.
Turnip: “Hakurei” A small white Japanese variety that can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a sweeter taste than other types of turnips. They mature in the early so they can be harvested for the first deliveries. Their greens are also quite tasty.
Lettuce: “Green Saladbowl”, “Dano”, “Eruption”, and “Kalura” All of the seeds for these varieties are tested for lettuce mosaic virus, which makes them more expensive but results in higher quality lettuce. They are slow to set seed and can be planted and harvested all season long.
From July Newsletter 2004
Since 1990, Roxbury Farm has been one of the pioneers of organic agriculture and Community Supported Agriculture in Columbia County, New York. In 1991, Roxbury became the first CSA farm to have a community in New York City. Roxbury continues to be a nationally recognized leader in organic, biodynamic, and CSA. Jody Bolluyt became a partner in 2001. She supervises the day to day farm work and is responsible for the harvest management, distribution, and does much of the administrative work of the CSA membership. Since 1992, Jean-Paul Courtens has led workshops for farmers in other parts of the country and in 1994, he helped to found CRAFT, an organization that trains organic farm apprentices. In 2000, Roxbury became a leader in the farmland protection movement, as a central component in a land acquisition and conservation effort that will not only secure the long term future of Roxbury's farmland, but will be a model for other farms in the Hudson Valley and all over the country.In 2004, Jean-Paul received the Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture from SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education).
For more of Roxbury's articles at Satya Center go to the Roxbury Farm Archive.