American Masala Farm brings forward the traditions of its heritage as an early nineteenth century farm.  Nestled on nearly seventy acres of rolling green fields, bordered by sharp, forested hills, the farmhouse sits alongside nine out-buildings: a guesthouse, main barn, ram barn, nursery barn, chicken coop, corn crib/granary, workshop, smokehouse, and well house.  There are several spring-fed ponds and an often briskly meandering trout stream, coveted for its bounty of brook and brown trout, that runs the length of the property.  This is not fantasy, this really is the land where we make our home.  The verdant valley that makes the Champlain valley watershed - thriving between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondack’s of New York State.



Though recent history would dictate that we raise dairy cattle, we are breaking from tradition.  There is no shortage of life on the farm as we have sought to populate the land with heritage breeds of sheep, chickens, geese, ducks, alpacas, pigs, and other livestock.  In our dedication to our mission, we are following the recommendations of the American Livestock Breed Conservancy (ALBC) for help in finding the breeds that are in the greatest need for preservation.



When Charlie and I visited our dear friend and colleague Angela Miller’s Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont many years ago, we were instantly captivated by the  beauty of the countryside, the innate simple strength of the people, the history reflected gloriously through the architecture - as it made you float from past to present, almost seamlessly.  The farmhouse was an easy sell for us.  The mustard yellow color of turmeric, auspicious in India, is not for everyone - but had us transfixed at first sight.  The green grass and fields, the blue heron catching fish in the  pond, and the many charming out-buildings, all spoke of a once-upon-a-time lifestyle that could and would be our future.



Charlie and I chose to name the farm after our company, since it embraces both our native lands and the families that have enriched us in two nations.  Masala is the Hindi word for spice – not only the spice we add to food, but, in a larger sense, the spice of life.  It’s the excitement of stimulating conversations, the enjoyment of shared laughter, the warmth of a house filled with family, friends, and pets.  It is a celebration of community!           



Since we both savor the pleasure of of the many guests visiting the farm, our kitchen has always taken center stage.  Redesigned to fit our modern needs, it has entertained our family, neighbors, business associates, dignitaries, friends (and their friends), charity gatherings, and more - and through that, has constantly brought new friends into our lives.  It has delighted us with the exchange of food and conversations that are only possible around great food at the table, or in the kitchen.



Our doggies Asha and Luca, could not be happier!  They too enjoy the open surroundings and the endless discoveries that the farm affords them - from stretching out in the grass for a long summer nap to tunneling through the snow banks in winter, each season brings them and us new joy.



The farm is not just one in name, but in function too - with an abundance of organically grown vegetables and fruits, and naturally raised meat, eggs, milk, honey, and fiber.  With nearly seventy acres, there is ample land devoted to pasture for livestock while providing fields for producing corn and alfalfa to support a local dairy farm and a managed forest program to yield fruit crop, maple syrup, and timber.  While working to restore an age-old apple orchard and give shape to existing wild berry patches, we have planted scores of northern hardy and native flora.  Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and elderberries; espalier apples, crabapples, pears, mulberries, quince, and kiwi; profusely sweet clethra, hydrangeas, viburnums, magnolias, and lilacs; and from the first spring crocuses and tulips, to the summertime hibiscus and lavender, and to the last blaze of autumnal goldenrod and wildflowers - color and scent surround our life and keep butterflies and honeybees hard at work throughout most of the year.



Geoffrey, our big old wethered buck goat, is handsome as can be, and charms everyone who lays eyes on him.  A welcoming gift from our afore mentioned friend Angela, his white and tan coat, large size and compassionate gaze are a testament to the magic that innocence alone can bring.  Along side him look to find Jaguar and Clara, the elders of our ever expanding herd of Huacaya alpacas with their soft and dense fiber.  Guests of all ages favor our ever majestic Llama “Antonio Banderas”.  On looooong-term loan from our friend Kimberly Davidson of Big Red Alpacas, Antonio is a show stopper and heart warmer for sure.  Look for him roaming the back pasture, rolling in the field, munching on apple trees, surrounded by our geese, ducks, and bantam chickens - or simply waiting for a scratch on the back and a Honeycrisp apple from your hand!



While Charlie adores his gaggle of American Buff and Tufted Roman geese and the Cayuga and Buff ducks, it is the roughly one hundred chickens that are my love and sanity.  I can never have enough time or photos with them.  They have great personalities, are very independent without being aloof, and are great performers - especially when they see us (or our guests) with a camera.  While the roosters can be seen walking the stone walls or foraging along side the sheep, the hens live happily in their state-of-the-art chicken coop and grazing yards, enjoying the sun that filters through the skylight and the breeze that flows through the windows in warm days.



Often idyllic, at times laborious, the farm serves as a place of peace and respite from the bustle of city life.  Driving through Washington County on the way home from lands far and near sets the mood revealing seasons marked with beauty and distinction.  Arriving home to the animals baying and crowing, the greeting of our canine kiddos, and walking past the scent of herbs at the entry to the mud-room and kitchen bring us instantly to a relaxed and comfortable place, a mindful sense... And a burning question - What to cook, with whom to share?    


We welcome your interest in our farm and would encourage you to explore further...and perhaps stop by if in our neighborhood!

 

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