This day, after 160 years working the land in our nook of the world, Goodmanor Farm will pass through the hands of my family.
The change is bittersweet. The summer sunrise may no longer seem as brilliant. The run past the fields on a frosty morning might grow to lack in luster. In part, I fear that for my generation and for my (future) children’s generation, all that will remain of what once was Goodmanor Farm is a nostalgic feeling, a fading memory that all at once brings a smile and a tightness to one’s heart.
My immediate family’s livelihood has never rested fully on the farm; I admit I stand peering in from the outside. This opportunity to sell 440 acres of field and forest came at a time when my uncles are still young enough to enjoy retirement, or at least a few days off during the week. Having grown into the farm life, they were abruptly given full responsibility when my grandfather lost his life in an on-farm accident. Even if living into old age, dairy farming is debilitating work. I am thankful that they now have a chance to explore.
It is time for the Goodman’s next great adventure. But, like any family’s story, that journey is built on the values cultivated over time and history and generations.
For me, Goodmanor Farm is not just where my story began but is truly the heart beating to keep me going each day. It’s where I learned the value of hard work and where I learned that it’s ok to get your hands dirty. It’s where I understood that you make sacrifices for your family, no matter the consequences. At the farm’s kitchen table, the focal point of the business, my grandmother showed me how to make the perfect sandwich to send out to my dad and uncles working endless days in the field.
I learned patience. Holidays were inevitably interrupted, waiting for Dad to return from morning milkings before opening gifts from Santa, Fourth of July plans cancelled in order to get hay in before the next rain. I came to understand the wonders and sorrows of the world were wrapped up in dark nights that would bleed into dark mornings as my uncles or my father tended to a cow and her newborn calf. Sometimes, mother or child would be lost but mostly all was well, the curiosity and innocence of the ages wrapped up in the wobbly first steps of the small calf.
I believe the story of Goodmanor Farm is not over. Thanks to the generous support by family and friends of Origin Hops (yes, your swag is coming), a small piece of paradise will remain in the Goodman family. But it’s more than that. Our history is as much present in the now and future as it rests in the past. It is time for us all on Goodman Road to find our next great adventure. I am grateful that I can take along the lessons and the love shared by generations of Goodmans before me on the windy road ahead.
I have barely scratched the surface of the value of Goodmanor Farm, the struggles and sacrifices and joys and celebrations. There are many more stories to be told, and those will come soon enough. But this week is about holding history close to heart and remembering that it’s not just the land, but the people that make a place a home.