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Real Art Party
Roxbury Farm, First CSA To Deliver To NYC, Celebrates 25 Years
Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. Many of us have grown attached to our individual CSAs. But when a CSA membership group in New York City charters a bus to drive them two-plus hours up to the farm itself, you know the connection is something special. On Saturday, Sept. 10, Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook welcomed 300 of its CSA members from New York, Westchester County, the Capital District and Columbia County to its 25th season celebration, potlucking encouraged. Roxbury Farm is exceptional in many ways: it was the first CSA to deliver to Manhattan, starting with 30 members in 1991. The 23-week membership has since grown to 1,100. Recognized not only as one of the earliest CSAs, Roxbury Farm has influenced thousands of farmers throughout the world with its biodynamic practices, which it has freely shared on its website. By putting its farming methods manuals online, Roxbury has served as an “open source farm” for farmers just starting out.
Founded by Jean-Paul Courtens in 1990 and now inhabiting land that was President Martin Van Buren’s farm, the 400-acre Roxbury Farm is still managed by the Courtens family. But clearly, the farm is held close to the hearts of the members who came to celebrate the CSA and express appreciation for the farmers. (Overhead: Discussions among members about their prep plans for the peppers, corn and other items in their CSA shares.) After a proper recounting of the farm’s history by Courtens and others, the guests were invited to take a self-guided farm tour, pick flowers, split garlic for fall planting, and experience a bit of ag activity in the fields. Of its success, Courtens said, “We didn’t do it alone. It’s because of all of you that we are here today.” [Above, the original family: Johannes Courtens, Nick Courtens, xx Courtens, Jean-Paul Courtens and his wife, Jody Bolluyt.]
Roxbury Farm is part of the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, on land the former president farmed.
Guests sprinkled the fields with Biodynamic Preparation 500, then sowed a cover crop mixture of oats and pea seeds.
Roxbury Farm owners Jody Bolluyt and Jean-Paul Courtens lead the way in the application of the Biodynamic Preparation 500, a mix of water with cow manure that’s been placed in a cow’s horn and buried in the earth for the winter; it is used to treat the soil prior to planting.
Members peel and split garlic bulbs for planting in October; It takes a CSA village to raise a child.