April 26, 2015

Holiday Brook Farm

By Gina Iannitelli

When asked to describe some of the satisfactions of his farm, Jesse Robertson-Dubois’s face cracks into a semi-serious smile. “Driving the hay mower on a partially sunny day…moving the cows to new grass…and watching kids eating green beans in the field.” It is clear that the farm is truly supported by individuals of all ages, as Jesse’s young son, Morgan, bounces around the farm store porch providing words of farm wisdom to supplement his father’s.

Holiday Brook Farm managers Jesse and his wife, Desiree, are both graduates of Hampshire College, where they started off working at the campus’ Farm Center. The Robertson-Dubois couple and their three children have lived on the Dalton, MA farm since 2007 and work especially closely with the co-owner, Dicken Crane, whose family has owned the property since the 1890s. Before joining Holiday Brook Farm, which is co-owned by Dicken and his siblings Mary, Carrie, and Tim Crane, Jesse worked for the American Farmland Trust as a New England Field Representative for eight years. Though his work is now directly farm related he still has a “soft spot for land conservation” and expresses interest in such political topics as the food sovereignty laws passed in Sedgwick, ME in March of this year.

The local community has been “really supportive” says Robertson-Dubois, explaining that the farm’s goal is primarily to “provide local food for a local community. We really want to be CSA and retail oriented.” The farm’s produce CSA currently has 140 memberships, while the new and experimental meat CSA will most likely expand to more members. The farm store, which is also new, houses frozen cuts of meat available for pick-up as well as other various farm products. Holiday Brook’s livestock and produce consist of grass-fed beef and lamb, pasture-raised pigs, and a variety of vegetables grown with the farm’s famous “black gold” compost. “I feed my kids the same things I feed my customers!” says Jesse, emphasizing the pride the farm members feel toward their products, which also include hay, firewood, and maple syrup.

The mutual affection between Holiday Brook Farm and the local Dalton community is part of a strong relationship supported by a family of farm workers dedicated to the land of the central Berkshires. Robertson-Dubois sums up his feelings: “The world is a beautiful, productive place and being a part of that is awesome.”