Leaving Frog Bottom

Posted by Lisa on November 14, 2012
autumn, Frog Bottom Farm recommends, Richmond, the family, the farm

Big news tonight. After many many months of number crunching, brainstorming, research, heartache, hope, and deliberation, we have decided to leave Frog Bottom. Ali has accepted a farm manager position at Keith’s Farm, a certified organic vegetable operation about 65 miles west of New York City. He and the crew will tend to vegetables on about the same acreage as we do here at Frog Bottom and sell them at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC.

We considered all kinds of changes in hopes of keeping our farm: more pigs, more chickens, a bigger CSA, a smaller CSA and more markets, renting land for beef cattle, even starting a micro-dairy. But in the end, the smaller changes to our model didn’t seem big enough, and the bigger changes seemed too risky. Our vision for our family has always been to earn a living wage from full time farming, without supplementing with off-farm income, and we just couldn’t find a way to do that here.

This was a very, very difficult decision for us to make. When we bought our farm, we certainly intended to be here for the long haul. It probably goes without saying that we love this land – its gentle hills, the Eastern red cedars and black locusts and sycamores and wild persimmons of our windbreaks, the tiny south creek and the bigger west creek, the hawks and woodpeckers and cardinals that keep watch as we hoe carrots, plants beets, pick cucumbers, squoosh potato beetles, wash eggs, scratch a pig snout, wipe sweat from our eyes.

We also love this part of Virginia. With its warm summers and mild winters, it has a fantastic climate for growing vegetables. It is strange indeed to think of a summer without homegrown okra or a fall without homegrown sweet potatoes – things that don’t grow well up north. But we’ll adjust to that, we hope – we hear we’ll be able to grow greens all year long in New York, and at least half this farm family is excited about parsnips.

What is stranger and much sadder to think about is farming without y’all. It has been our honor and delight to get to know our market customers and colleagues and our CSA hosts and members over the last four years. You taught us how to make a mean caponata, and you joined us for a crazy pickling party when the cucumbers threatened to take us over last year, and you made us pickled eggs and hot sauce. You told your friends about us. You wrote about us on your blogs, and you invited us on your radio programs, and you shared our food with your neighbors. You welcomed us into your schools, your churches, your driveways, your front yards. You watched us grow from an earnest family of two to a young family of three. Every Wednesday and every Saturday, you made us love our work all over again.

There are some really wonderful things happening around local, seasonal foods in Central Virginia. Please support them as much as you are able.

A few more details, and then some photos from what has been one of the most pleasant, stunning falls in our recent memory.

We’re here through the winter — at least through March, and probably into April. Come find us every other Wednesday 4pm-7pm at the Farmers Market at St. Stephen’s, every other Saturday 10-noon at the South of the James winter market at the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, and at the special pre-Thanksgiving Carytown holiday market this Sunday, November 18, from 11 to 3. We anticipate having carrots, sweet potatoes, several kinds of greens, occasional other vegetables, pork, and eggs. We’ll have all the exact dates up on our farmers market page soon.

For sustainably grown produce from small family farms in the Richmond area, we recommend without reservation our friends at Tomten Farm, Crumptown Farm, and Broadfork Farm.

Finally, if you’re ever in New York City on a Saturday between late May and Christmas, please come on over to Union Square and say hi to Ali. It will make his day.






I really really REALLY love kabocha squash.





12 Comments to Leaving Frog Bottom

  • your family and farm will be missed here in Virginia. Thank you for growing such wonderful food for us and helping us discover veggies we didn’t know we could love! blessings to you as you prepare for your move.

  • To the From Bottom Farm Team:
    Thank you for sharing your love of good food and healthy, wholesome living with our area. I have enjoyed discovering different foods and sharing them with my family and friends. Because of you my favorite green (something I used to NEVER eat) is swiss chard.
    You will be truly missed!

  • Hello there from Portugal!

    We’ve followed your blog for almost 2 or 3 years now, and you’ve really inspired us into starting our own little farm. Your project is very similar to what we aim to do here so the news of your leaving Frog Bottom Farm left us feeling really really sad… Still, wish you the best of luck to your new project! We will miss your stories and pics of your daily life in the farm. We love your pigs.

    Telmo and Filipa


  • All the best in this transition. Sorry. I look forward to your insights and brilliant photography from New York next year. Thanks for doing good work in this world.

  • This news makes me so sad–we’ve really loved getting to know you over the last three years, and sharing in your family’s produce. It looks like you won’t be that far away from my CT folks, so maybe we’ll get to see you at some point up there, but in the meantime we’ll look forward to a few more months of seeing you at this or that market. We’ll miss you!

  • This is sad to hear. As another small farm up north I have followed your blog posts over the past two years and enjoyed reading of your adventures and great recipes. Thanks for sharing. It must have been a difficult decision but I wish you the best of luck in NY.

  • What BEUATIFUL winter squash this year! When we visit, we may bring one back.

    And wonderful pictures of the farm, too!

  • So sad that you are leaving. We will miss your beautiful eggs and the best arugula I have ever tasted! Good luck in this new phase of your lives. Lisa, I hope you continue your blogs – they are so entertaining and informative. I never would have gotten my kids to eat beets (in a chocolate beet cake) without you!

  • So very sorry to see you go — we’ve enjoyed your vegetables immensely. But it sounds as though you’ve found a great new opportunity, and we look forward to seeing you at the Union Square market. (I’m in New York more reliably than in Richmond.)

  • You are always a glass half full person and I know you will make the best of your new life up north. My best wishes go with you. When windows doors close, windows open, I really believe it with all my heart.