New Minglewood Farm is a small organic vegetable farm located in Greenwich, NY in beautiful southern Washington County. The farm was started by Chris Lincoln and Tammara Van Ryn in 1999. We moved to this area in 1997 and it took more than a year to find the right piece of land - with good soils, a reliable water supply, and not too far a drive from a good community and viable markets. We purchased Minglewood in April 1999 and started at the Saratoga Farmer's Market that same year.
The land consists of nearly 40 acres and is a mosaic of habitats that supports a wide diversity of wildlife. About eight acres are tillable and we use about two of these to grow our produce. The other fields are mowed once a year to allow them to remain fields. These open areas provide important habitat for many grassland birds.
The land also includes a series of wetlands and a riparian zone along Hartshorn Brook. This area is home to wood ducks, beavers, muskrats, otter, and wood turtles. The remaining land is forested with lots of oak and hickory, providing home to deer and squirrels, as well as, a source for our shiitake mushroom growing logs.
New Minglewood Farm is Certified Organic by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Certified Organic, LLC (NOFA-NY, Certified Organic, LLC). We have been certified since 2002, which was the first year that certification programs came under the jurisdiction of the USDA.
To insure that we are in compliance with the program we must keep very detailed records of how we produce our vegetables. Every step in production is tracked - from sowing seed to harvest and sale. All amendments to the soil and any applications of allowable sprays are recorded. Once a year the certifying agency inspects the farm and reviews the records. We pay a fee of approximately 1% of our gross sales to cover the costs of certification.
We use no synthetically derived fertilizers or pesticides. The foundation of our farm's fertility is compost. By feeding the soil, we naturally feed the crop, which in turn, naturally feeds us. If additional fertility is needed, we apply a naturally derived granular fertilizer which consists of dried animal and vegetable proteins. The nutrients are released slowly and minimize run-off problems associated with synthetic fertilizers.
Our first line of defense to pests and diseases is rotating crops year to year. While we are limited by our small land base, we try to move vegetable families around so they are not growing on the same ground two years in a row.
We also use physical barriers to keep insect pests away. We use big rolls of very lightweight fabric or netting to entirely cover plantings. We also grow some crops in greenhouses or low-tech tunnels to exclude insects and keep rain from spreading diseases.
Finally, in a pinch, we will use a few sprays that are allowed for organic production. These include Bt for cabbage worms and Pyganic for flea beetles. Both sprays chemically breakdown very rapidly and are not considered a risk to human health.
The main outlet for all our produce is the Saratoga Springs Farmer's Market located in High Rock Park, Saratoga Springs, NY. We attend the Saturday market, which runs from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, from the first Saturday in May to the last Saturday in October.
We also make our product available to restaurants and caterers in the Saratoga area. Generally, arrangements are made to pick up orders at the market on Saturdays, or at the farm.
Starting in the spring of 2014, we are hoping to have our produce available at a number of local retail outlets. Stay tuned for further details.
Please feel free to contact us if you are an establishment interested in using our product.
Chris Lincoln is the principal farmer, manager, field-hand, and lettuce washer. He came to farming as a second career after spending over twelve years as a consulting forester, primarily in New Hampshire and Vermont.
He grew up in suburban Westchester County, NY, and attended the forestry school in Syracuse, NY (SUNY-ESF) prior to moving to New Hampshire to start his work in forestry. He also spent two years in Ecuador with the Peace Corps working on forestry projects.
Upon returning to New York State, he spent two seasons as a farm apprentice with Paul and Sandy Arnold, of Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, NY. Much of his farming knowledge was gained during these two years.
Tammara Van Ryn is the co-owner of Minglewood Farm. She plays a critical role in the financial management, decision making and planning aspects of the farm. She also helps out at many of the busier market days.
In addition to her help with the farm, she has a more than full-time job as executive director of the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission. This is a non-profit organization which accredits land conservation groups across the nation.
Tammara grew up outside of Albany,NY and also attended SUNY-ESF, where she met Chris. After graduation they both moved to New Hampshire and were married shortly afterwards.