Many of my best memories of the farm include my grandmother. She was the guiding matriarch of the family, running the dairy operation with my uncles and father by her side for more than three decades after my grandfather passed away in an on-farm accident. For our family, my grandmother’s kitchen table was a gathering place for the community; her legendary mid-day spread had every visitor—from veterinarian to milk truck driver—scheduling their visit during their lunch hour. The table was also a workstation where I would spend summer afternoons helping her prepare bagged lunches to bring out to my dad and uncles working through dusk chopping corn and hay.
My grandmother’s kitchen table was also the site of difficult decisions about the future of the family business. It was where, in recent years, my family decided to face economic pressure by selling several hundred acres to developers who built an elite soccer camp. Now, instead of supporting three families full-time and one part-time, only one uncle remains full-time on the farm raising heifers to keep the remaining 440 acres running.
Will Origin Hops at Goodmanor Farm be able to save the whole operation? Sadly, it is unlikely. However, we plan to keep as much as we can. But perhaps more importantly, the hope is to instill the sense of community, of selflessness, of the importance of hard work and getting one’s hands dirty, and of a family coming together that were the unspoken lessons around my grandmother’s kitchen table.