farms in an industrializing landscape
where the cost of labor was high and available land was scarce and expensive. Vern
grubinger is the northeast coordinator
for the federally funded sustainable
agriculture research and education
program. He says that, by the 1980s,
those pressures made for an attentive
audience when heralds began calling for
a new way of farming, one that would
enrich the soil instead of exhausting it.
“i’d put it this way: the closer my back
gets to the wall, the bigger my ears get,”
grubinger says. “the northeast has been
Left: Frederick Merwarth strolls through the Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in Seneca Lake, N. Y. Right: The vineyard’s steel tanks contain nothing but grape juice fermented naturally by wild yeasts in the surrounding air.
is throwing at you.
We work with the
aware of their position in a move-
ment—one that’s out to transform
food production into something that
sustains rather than destroys the long-
term health of the environment.
at 29, david Zaback has put 15 acres of
prime new Jersey real estate into the pro-
duction of certified organic vegetables.
on a wet evening in late november,
Zaback is looking over the tree-lined
fields of Z food farm on the outskirts of
the wealthy community of lawrenceville,
n.J. the week before, Zaback brought
kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, chard, scallions,
looking for alternatives for a long time,
and growers have been forced to think
outside the box.”
community-supported agriculture (csa)
programs, in which households sign up
with a local farm for a share of the harvest,
have taken off in the past decade.
The Need for Sustainability
a quest for the highest quality con-
tinues to drive the next generation of
farmers, but they also are increasingly
courtesy of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard; Westp Halen pHotograpHy
parsley, fennel, escarole and a half-dozen
other vegetables to three farmers mar-
kets, where he sells 95 percent of his haul.