Just got this email from Lisa Schwartz, the owner of Rainbeau Ridge in Bedford Hills:
“December 28, 2010
For eight seasons, Rainbeau Ridge has worked hard to restore farming on property that once housed a gentleman’s farm almost one hundred years ago. From the outset we were committed to contributing to the community by creating a model of sustainable farming in the suburbs-by growing and producing local, organic produce, eggs and cheese and inspiring others to do the same.
We are proud to have grown into a multi-faceted, educational enterprise that so many have embraced. Our fully subscribed children’s programs, adult cooking classes, delicious produce, award winning cheese, open farm days, special events, books and on-line resources have reached deep into the community and touched people nation-wide, a testimony to the tremendous value of our content and products.
But it’s precisely the farm’s success that is forcing us into an uncomfortable position. State and federal regulations, as administered by the Westchester County Department of Health, require that we implement a water purification and monitoring system. (This requirement is triggered after public access to a facility exceeds certain threshold measures, not because there has been any issue with the quality or safety of our water.) To implement the system would necessitate that we make a major capital investment and perform a daily monitoring program, creating a financial and personnel burden which would overwhelm our small farm.
Because our mission remains so important to us and to our customers, we are committed to moving forward but to do so and at the same time comply with regulatory requirements will entail retooling our public access to the farm.
For the 2011 season, we will offer the following programs:
Spring children’s programs (registration to begin January 11th)
Fall children’s programs
Public Access limited to Sheep Shearing and Fall Fest (watch for dates)
In Lisa’s Kitchen (cooking classes) will continue to emphasize seasonal ingredients that we grow on farm
Our goat cheese business is anticipated to increase in both volume and access as we increase productivity and look to expand into new farmer’s markets in the region. Produce will be continue to be grown on the farm but the precise form in which it gets distributed is still a work in progress.
Importantly, we are working to strengthen relationships with institutions in the community as we explore partnerships and ways to take Rainbeau Ridge off-site to schools and elsewhere as we respond to growing requests for our Accessible AgricultureTM and educational programs.
Just as the growth to date has evolved organically, we fully expect new ways of providing quality programs to evolve as well. We will use technology to bring the farm to an even broader base of customers. Our improved BarnCam system will allow you to be a part of the spring’s birthing season (beginning in February). Website links and an expanded video series will have you growing alongside of us as we raise produce from A to Z, tap our maple trees and tend our bees.
Join our journey and live the dream…
Wishing you peace, health and happiness in the coming year.
-Lisa & Karen
P.S. We encourage you to read the longer version of this announcement, which is available on our web-site here.
We’d love to hear from you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or at 914-234-2197. To reach Isaac about the garden, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rainbeau Ridge | 49 David’s Way | Bedford Hills | NY | 10507