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When you sit with Betsey and ask about Ryder Farm's history, she will tell you about idyllic visits from Long Island to Ryder Farm (which has been in the family since 1795) for annual Fourth of July family reunions and meetings of the shareholders. During this time, the farm was grazing dairy cows. But when Betsey Ryder arrived to live on the farm, upon graduation from college, it had fallen fallow and was about to start up as an organic farm, under the direction of her elder cousin, Hall. His dream was to re-establish the property as a fully operational organic farm, which he did, and which Betsey now runs.
 
Though Ryder Farm practiced organic methods in the growing of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit in 1978—a pioneering prospect at the time, it was through the USDA’s National Organic Program that it became Certified Organic in 2003.

Since 1978, Ryder Farm has developed into a creative center of activity where the soil and the spirit alike are nurtured. Each year, a new cohort of interns arrives to learn the craft of organic farming alongside local, hired help—creating a unique experience every season. 

In 1989, John Ryder arrived with training as a dairy farmer near his hometown of Antwerp, NY. He is jack-of-all-trades who constructs buildings, fixes tractors—you name it—on the farm. An indispensable and valuable member of the farm’s corps operations team, Ryder couldn’t do it without John. 

Fuad Aziz, the Field Manager at Ryder Farm, arrived in 1992. He has his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Bangladesh and completed an apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz—the only such program in the US at the time, which is now known as the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

The farm’s characteristic blend of hard work, creativity, and open-mindedness has led to the recent partnership between Ryder Farm and SPACE at Ryder Farm--a non-profit organization, directed by Emily Simoness, that serves as a retreat center for artists where they can develop their works in process.

Ryder Farm has come a long way since Eleazer and Mary Ryder first arrived in an ox-cart with three children and a veritable Noah’s Ark. One of Betsey Ryder’s favorites quotes about her great, great, great grandparents’ legacy:
 
The olden days were not all work, neither are the present days all play….Yes, this old home has seen a great deal of living. It has brought the blessings of happiness and contentment with it. Everything there seems to speak of years of peaceful living and as if they will be the same forever and a day. --The Old Farmhouse by Caroline Bean

You are encouraged to learn more about Ryder Farm by perusing the website, watching videos, visiting us at market, or interning. We would love to hear from you. The video below shares more about saving Ryder Farm and its wonderful history.
 

400 Starr Ridge Road Brewster, NY 10509 | ryderfarmorganic@aol.com | 845-279-4161 | facebook