By Himanee Gupta
Bursts of tiny pink, white, and blue hepatica wildflowers signify spring.
For Arthur Kraamwinkel and Melanie Seserman, spring is their farm, Hepatica Farm, a new Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendor. Kraamwinkel and Seserman are in their 50s; the farm is a vision they plan to build in what they call their “third spring” – after earlier careers, after children became adults.
They raise chickens and turkeys on land in Greenwich protected by a conservation easement. The chicken meat they bring each week to market is certified organic, as are the grains the birds eat and the pastures where they roam. The turkey they’ll offer during the holiday season is being produced in a similar way.
This is only the beginning.
“We are trying to make a biodynamic farm,” Seserman says. “In a biodynamic farm, everything is harmonious. So you don’t just have one product.”
“Right now, we have chickens because chickens are a way that you can bring money into your farm and start to build infrastructure.”
As the infrastructure is built, they plan to raise pigs, then cows, and perhaps goats as well as sheep.
The cows eat grass, and the milk from the cows with the fat skimmed off feeds the pigs. Manure from all animals helps nourish the fields, making way for beneficial flowers, grasses, bees, butterflies, and other living beings to thrive.
“It’s about more than raising all these different animals for meat to make money,” Seserman says. “We have a vision. It’s a little ecosystem we’re creating.”
As we talked, Kraamwinkel drove us up the hills to where the chickens and turkeys are pastured. We stepped over low electrified fencing and greeted the birds.
“Why, hello,” Seserman exclaimed. The chickens clucked in excitement.
The birds reside in several large, airy, open coops. They run about, feast on organic grains and water, and forage in lush grasses below them.
Each day Kraamwinkel hitches each coop to a tractor and moves them to fresh grass. This practice gives them clean grasses daily and helps the full pasture get the beneficial effects of foraging.
The couple sells their meat at farmers’ markets and small farm stores. They also make it available to those who are food insecure through Capital Roots and the Saratoga Farmers’ Market contributions to the Franklin Community Center and Comfort Food Community.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.