Michael Robertson started Sawkill Farm in the fall of 2010 in Upper Red Hook, NY. Named for the Saw Mill Creek that runs through the property, Sawkill Farm is situated on 65 acres of land protected by a conservation easement.
At Sawkill Farm, Robertson and his fiancé Kallie Weinkle produce organically grown vegetables, as well as humanely and pasture-raised livestock. “In our farming practices and in the growth of our operation,” notes Robertson, “we are mindful about the consequences of farming on the health and bio-diversity of our land, the quality of soil and water on our farm, and the sustainability of the operation in the long term.”
Though Robertson considered rooting his farm in places he had previously lived, including Texas and Kansas, he ultimately decided on a piece of property in the Hudson Valley. He was drawn to the parcel where Sawkill Farm is now situated due to the quality of the soil, proximity to markets and the supportive and friendly community of farmers in the region. Further, the conservation easement enabled Robertson to purchase the land well under market value.
Transparency is an integral piece of Sawkill Farm. “[We] desire to be transparent and accessible in our livestock practices, from birth to death, with our costumers and community,” notes Robertson. To that end, Sawkill Farm recently opened an on-site farm store where people can shop, explore the farm, and witness how the animals are raised. Robertson hopes that the farm store will continue to strengthen the relationship between his customers and the farm.
Sawkill Farm has a number of exciting projects planned for the near future. Robertson and Weinkle are currently in the process of building a commercial kitchen, which will allow them to produce stocks and bring butchery in-house. They also plans to construct a new mobile chicken coop, build fencing for 40-acres of pasture, and start a CSA.
As for long-term goals, Robertson and Weinkle hope to integrate most aspects of animal production, from birth to butchering, into on-site operations and to provide food for people that is healthy, delicious and wastes as little of the animal as possible. Further, they hope to continue building and maintaining relationships between customers and the farm through their weekly newsletters, visits to the farm and chatting with patrons at the NYC Greenmarkets.
“We believe that in choosing to eat meat from our farm,” explains Robertson, “people are choosing to connect with and care for the land, the animals they eat and the people that raise their food, and we want to encourage and build that relationship as much as possible.”