We’re excited to publish a new Farmer Profile of an inspiring beginning farmer every few weeks on the NYFC blog to help showcase the breadth and vision of the next generation of agricultural leaders. This one is from Rose Robson of Robson’s Farm LLC of North Hanover, NJ.
And she couldn’t have been more wrong.
Seven years ago on Monday my Mom called me at college to tell me my Dad had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Three weeks later to the day my Grandpop, who had been long battling cancer also passed. So, that left us completely stunned an unable to carry on such a huge operation that involved selling to on a wholesale and retail level.
However, letting the farm go never sat well with me. I felt a constant internal nagging. It just didn’t seem right to let something so special go.
It took my 3 years, 4 jobs, and living in 3 states to convince my Mom I was serious. Forget being a medical device rep. I want to be a farmer. Last year was our first year back in production and it felt amazing. For the first time in my adult life I felt fulfilled, purposeful, and settled.
I inherited an 11 acre peach orchard, a pond, and 28 acres for growing whatever I felt good about or at least what thought someone else would buy. Since the peach orchard is nearing the end of its life we removed 7.5 acres of trees and kept 3.5 acres which is much more manageable.
I am saving a portion to replant peaches in 2 years and on the rest of the 11 acres, I am planting apples and quince trees this spring. Then when the new peaches are ready I’ll take out the old and restore that side of the orchard. I (and my Mom helps) attend 4 tailgate markets each week and offer a Buying Club. The Buying Club allows members to order the fruit and vegetables that we have available online and have it delivered to their CrossFit gym, yoga studio, home or work. Members can choose set boxes ($20 or $25) or they build their own box.
The direction I would like to go in is…doing it all. I want to be a one stop shop with: produce, eggs, chicken, beef, and dairy. Yes, dairy. My county, Burlington County, is a dairy graveyard. Everywhere you drive there are abandon dairy barns, including the one my Grandpop used to milk 25 cows by hand, twice a day. I want to bring dairy back to Burlington County and produce value added products from the milk.
I love vegetable production but my heart will always be with animals. I was a 4-Her for many years and raised market lambs and competitively horseback road. On the road to not only being a one stop shop, but also in the interest of having the joy of raising animals we are purchasing chicks in a few weeks for egg production. All animal production will be done on a piece of land about 8 miles from the 40 acres of vegetable production.
Also on the docket for this year will be to become a Certified Master Food Preserver and teach on farm canning classes. I am excited and hopeful about the future of farming. The only way to ensure my passion and way of living is to spread that hopefulness and excitement to others. I hope to achieve that through the on farm canning classes.