After living in Stuyvesant, NY for more than 15 years, in 2017 we had the opportunity to purchase this beautiful land.  We jumped at the chance having known the previous three owners and the history of the farm. Immediately we set to work beating back the weeds and restoring infrastructure.   The farm sits above the Hudson River on 80+ acres of pasture and forest in the hamlet of Stuyvesant Landing. It’s been organically managed for decades and we will continue to improve the soil health as the past farmers have done by practicing responsible farming methods.

About me

photo by Deborah Suchman Zeolla
photo by Deborah Suchman Zeolla

As a kid I was fortunate to grow up in an outlying area of Staten Island, NYC, that was surrounded by 1000 acres of abandoned farm land that had been reclaimed by decades of new growth forest.  I had no idea why the woods held so much rusty old farm equipment and no clue what a silo was. To me they were just part of the woods that I explored. I’d spend hours looking for salamanders and playing in the many small brooks.   I remember the dense carpet of may flowers in spring and the day that I came upon a lone colorful turkish cap. I was fascinated. That single flower was lit up by a sunbeam that found its way through the dense canopy of tulip and beach trees, illuminating it just for me, it seemed.  I’d never seen anything like it before, and it led me to respect nature and its many surprises.  

My mom was always saving seeds and our window sills were filled with experiments of various plant cuttings taking root in all manner of containers, from detergent bottle caps to halved soda bottles.  I learned about composting from her and just thought all families did it. Then there were our neighbors, a Greek family with a compound that looked like it belonged on a Mediterranean island, with a beautiful vegetable garden and a large table covered in home cooked meals.  Mrs. Flowski, one of my mom’s gardening mentors, lived down the street and some days I got to spend time with her in her groovy garden. It was groovy because she used garish carpet remnants as mulch for her tomato plants on raised beds. I thought everyone used shag carpeting as mulch in those days!  Her vegetables were colorful, large and delicious.  

It wouldn’t be until many years later that I would get to have my own garden, but the inspiration was there from a young age to grow and save seeds.  After 20 years in office jobs, I left to pursue a more green career which led to my working with students at PS 3 in Greenwich Village, growing food together and eventually becoming involved in the founding of The Battery Urban Farm in Lower Manhattan.  There, New York public school students learned how to grow vegetables, essentially on the front lawn of Manhattan, just 300 feet from the original farm that sustained the first Dutch families that came to Manahattan.  

Around that time I began attending evening classes at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, NY Botanical Garden, as well as participating in the Hawthorne Valley New Farmers program, which eventually led to more hands-on learning, working first as a field hand at farms in Columbia County, New York.  

My beginnings were in urban farming and education, and now I am stoked to have this beautiful land to care for and grow on, and to get to know and work with the farming community in Columbia County and beyond.

Our Cistern well

Since first moving to Stuyvesant Landing almost twenty years ago, we were beguiled by the old brick cistern well on the property.  Years of neglect have lead to cracked walls and its roof caving in. It is in great need of restoration. What we’ve learned so far is that it was built just after the civil war, more than likely as a municipal project to bring water to local homes as well as to the nearby school house. With the help of knowledgeable friends with access to some high tech equipment, we learned that it holds 37,000 gallons of water and perhaps once was connected to a windmill to fill it.  We continue to learn more about this beautifully constructed cistern, built in an era when people took great pride in making things beautiful with fine materials, a far cry from today’s disposable mentality. We aim to restore it and getting it back in use full time to irrigate our fields. If you know anything about this lovely well, or have a story to tell about it, please drop us a line!