Though Kilpatrick Family Farm is now one of the largest vendors at Saratoga Farmers’ Market, it has only been in existence as a business for about the last decade. The farm was just a seedling until 1999, when the family escaped suburban Massachusetts for a rural home in upstate New York. The new setting allowed the family’s passion for fresh produce to take root, and their garden in Middle Granville (Washington County) proved to be the birthing ground for the farm.
That garden flourished quickly and their crop soon outgrew their square of land. From some early experiences at the Glens Falls Farmers’ Market in 2004, Michael Kilpatrick, now 26, and his brother Philip, a year older, realized that their hobby had the potential to become a business. Almost 10 years later, it’s clear that they were right.
“The entire section that we farmed at first, this year…is now Brussels sprouts, so that shows the scale we’re at now,” Michael says. As for their success: “We didn’t really expect it. I really wasn’t planning on going into that as a vocation, but as the years progressed, I enjoyed it,” he recalls. “It’s two full-time jobs,” he adds with a chuckle.
Indeed it is. Today, the Kilpatrick Family Farm manages over 500 acres of land, vending at three markets a week and offering the community one of the only year-round CSA systems in the area. In addition to vegetables, the farm also produces small fruit (like strawberries) and livestock. The farm prides itself on being Certified Naturally Grown, but Michael says they like to call themselves “beyond organic.”
“We follow the organic standards and all take the New York Farmers’ Pledge,” he explains, adding that the farm pays special attention to the integrity of its practice—from soil health to soup kitchen donations, fair wages to farmer education.
This summer, Michael says customers can look forward to a “ton of tomatoes,” including July heirloom and rainbow cherry, both of which are grown in the ground in high-tunnels, as opposed to in pots in hot houses, resulting in superior flavors. The farm will also offer broccoli and green beans all summer, as well as a full assortment of greens including kale, bok choy, arugula, radishes, all season long. “Those are not easy crops to grow in the summer because they don’t like the heat,” Michael says, “But it’s definitely worth the effort for the customers to have a reliable source all year.”
This article was written by Katie Doyle, a summer intern at Saratoga Farmers’ Market. A resident of Saratoga Springs, Katie will be a senior in the fall at Boston University, where she is majoring in English and journalism.
Swiss Chard Pasta
(Items marked with * can be found at Saratoga Farmers’ Market)
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 large cloves garlic*, coarsely chopped (or use garlic scapes*)
1 large onion* or leek* chopped, white part and 5 inches of pale green coarsely chopped
4 large ripe tomatoes*, coarsely chopped, juices saved
3 Tbsp. fresh oregano*, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 lb. farfalle pasta (bow ties)
1 large bunch green Swiss chard*
Heat the olive oil in a large deep saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and leek. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks have released some of their liquids.
Stir in the tomatoes and the oregano. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and have broken up.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and the Swiss chard. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pasta is just tender. Drain.
After the tomatoes have cooked, add the drained pasta and the Swiss chard to the sauce. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are well blended. Pour into a serving bowl. Serve with additional pepper on top if desired.