A Happy Achievement
Tomorrow morning I travel west from Boston home to upstate New York, where I will join three hundred or so family members and friends on Saturday in celebration of the 15oth anniversary of Brooksvale Farms, a family operation currently run by my grandfather, my two uncles, their wives (one of whom painted the beautiful new barn-sign at the top of this post), and my cousins. The land for the farm was purchased back in 1856 by my grandfather's great-grandfather William Brooks, and there have been Brooks children (and grandchildren) there ever since.
I grew up just down the road from the farm, and spent many wonderful days there throughout my childhood and beyond. Whether it was gathering maple sap in the spring and sitting up late on March nights watching it boiled down into syrup (fantastic on fresh snow, by the way), or chasing heifers from pasture to pasture, or picking potatoes in the fall, or just wandering the woods with my grandfather or cousins, there was always some fun to be had, or stories to be told, or work to be done.
It's a tough business these days, family farming. It's always been hard work (to put it mildly), but in today's world of competition from factory farms and the high costs of, well, just about everything, it's not easy to keep small farms afloat. It takes alot of blood, sweat, tears, and ingenuity, which is what makes me even prouder of the accomplishments of my family. They are the smartest, most caring, most wonderful people I have ever had the privilege to know, and I am so very glad I'll be able to spend some time with them this weekend enjoying some great food, great memories, and great company in one of the best places on earth.