Stephentown, NY, Rensselaer County
Open Tillable Acres
Wooded (or other) Acres
Condition & Current Use
The property is an established diversified farm business with established berry plantings, 1 heated greenhouse, 4 high tunnels, and an established farm store with a walk in cooler and display coolers. We have a full line of vegetable farm equipment, an irrigation pond, irrigation equipment, and worker housing. We have been scaling back over the last 3 years to provide more time for the other things in life that we like and want to do, such as travel, hiking, biking, skiing, etc. We have one of the highest yielding blueberry plantings in the Eastern U.S. and we are the first farm in the country, perhaps the Western Hemisphere, to beat the invasive insect pest, Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), without spraying by using exclusion netting. We have a complete set up to cover our blueberry planting to prevent SWD from infesting our crop and are the national leaders in using this technology, teaching other growers throughout the country how to use it. We also have one netted high tunnel with fall raspberries so that we have been able to prevent SWD infestation in our fall raspberries. The operation is well known and well respected through multiple marketing channels - farm store, Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, our Free Choice Farm Share program, and restaurants in the Berkshires. The soils are in great shape with good organic matter levels and a good balance of fertility. Dale-Ila is a frequent speaker at grower conferences from Maine to Minnesota.
Farm History & Past Use
We started the farm from a worn out corn field on a farm that had no improvements. We purchased the farmland from an older couple that would never make any capital investments. We have grown the farm into a thriving business with a popular farm store, popular booth at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, and are highly respected by the best chefs in the Berkshires. We have invested heavily in infrastructure and protected culture. While we are small scale, we are one of the most innovative berry farms in the country.
We are open to creative arrangements. We would like to find someone that has the background, management skills, marketing skills, personality, and work ethic to continue the thriving business that we built over the last 25 years. We expect someone with these attributes would want to start with a 3-5 year lease, with an opt-out for either party for specific reasons after the first year if it's not the right fit. Specific reasons may include misrepresentation of experience and/or skills, delayed payments, lack of communication, or not following terms of the lease. For the right people, in the long term, we would be looking at having a long term lease with first option to buy. We are interested in finding younger farmers that recognize the value of using a mediator and outside expertise from the beginning to develop a written lease and business plan that works for all parties involved.
Price for Lease Per Acre
Are you willing to mentor a new or beginning farmer?
Do you require a farmer who qualifies for agricultural assessment?
Livestock / Crops Description
Small grains and sweet corn are currently grown on the property by a neighboring farmer. We are open to a lessee growing almost anything. A strong market exists through the farm store for eggs, chicken, pork, and beef in addition to vegetables, berries, and tree fruits.
A full line of vegetable equipment - chisel plow, Perfecta, rotovator, raised bed mulch layer, flat bed mulch layer, water wheel transplanter, mulch lifter, stone burier, strawberry cultivator, strawberry transplanter, 85 hp Case tractor with creeper gear, 42 hp Kubota, Farmall Cub with cultivation equipment.
We have a one third acre pond with electric irrigation pump and back up gas irrigation pump. Underground lines lead to 3 hydrants to supply 2 inch drip irrigation main lines. We also have a drilled well that supplies our high tunnels with 4 out of 5 tunnels having their own hydrants. Irrigation pipe for overhead irrigation is also available to lease or purchase.
Barns for Equipment/Storage
We have a 4 bay barn with a loft over 2 bays and 4 bay shed attached to the north side of the barn. The irrigation pumps are under a shed. Two other small storage structures exist for storage of tools and one for supplies for the farm store.
The worker housing is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath trailer. We would have to get permission from the Land Trust that monitors our conserved property to allow non-workers to live in it. There is also a house on a five acre parcel in the middle of the property that is in the process of being renovated. We are renovating it to make it possible for a lessee to rent it and live at the farm.
Additional Property Information
We have no pre-conceived notions about how people would be farming. We are known for our no-spray and low spray cropping systems but we do not want to put any constraints on future owners.
Is the Property Conserved
Current Land Zoning
Is the property located in a NY Agricultural District?
Can the public be on the property as a part of the farm business?
Additional Information About This Property
This is a great opportunity for people with experience in production and marketing to take over a highly successful operation and grow it to the next level. There are plenty of ways to expand the current good markets that we have established, and plenty of land to increase production and provide a great rotation with cover cropping. Since we have a neighboring farm renting a large number of acres, we would prefer that someone start with a small acreage operation. We never produced on more than 10 acres at one time and built a thriving business by staying small. For a possible future sale, the land can be subdivided into agriculturally sustainable parcels.