Chris and Holly Browder met in the summer of 2006 at Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island during a weekend retreat with the Nature Conservancy. Prior to their meeting, both were active in the local/organic food movement and together became involved with a CSA on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The idea of sustainable farming interested both of them as well as the pastured livestock model so eloquently described in the Omnivore’s Dilemma written by Michael Pollan. Chris, a former banker for nearly 20 years, was seeking a profession about which he could be passionate. While they both found the concept of sustainable farming intriguing, the dream of becoming small farmers was nearly impossible, right? The small farmer in America is dying or already dead, or so the story goes. Through a lot of research and discussions, they 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 they could understand. Perhaps this was worth a try after all! In the spring of 2009, Chris became an apprentice at Garden of Eve Organic Farm in Riverhead, NY. He’s been told that he wasn’t the oldest apprentice ever, but he hasn’t met anyone older in that position. While at Garden of Eve, he raised, processed and sold broiler chickens on pasture with excellent results. Ted Lee, co-author of the Lee Brother’s Southern Cookbook, was their first customer. Holly and Chris decided to launch a pastured poultry business for the 2010 season and signed a lease with the Peconic Land Trust for a 5 acre parcel of preserved farmland in Southold. The dream has now been launched and we hope it leads to a good place for us and most importantly, for our new customers. At the close of 2012, we purchased our new 16-acre farm and home in Mattituck!
Holly is a member of the Long Island Farm Bureau Board of Directors, served as Vice President of the Greenport Farmers’ Market Board, helped start the Riverhead Indoor Farmers Market launched in February of 2014, and is the self-appointed “Social Chair” for small farmers on the East End. 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.
Chris, a native of North Carolina, has lived in New York for over 20 years. He’s a former Bank of America corporate and investment banker, but prefers the life of a farmer including getting dirty every day, sleeping like a rock at night, planning and more planning and meeting lots of great people. In Januray of 2014 he was elected to the Board of Directors of NOFA-NY serves as Treasurer.
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