Closing of the Brookside Berry Farm May, 2013
The Brookside Berry Farm has closed and will not have a season this year. Reality has crept into my fantasy of farming forever.
Because of events in my personal life, I have lost my passion for farming. Since I no longer live at the farm, what once was a very pleasant life style, has, for me, turned into a job to which I have to commute.
I made the decision in July of 2010 to stop farming. However, with great assistance from my step son, Blaiz Beale, I extended operations through June of 2012. Now, it is time for my second retirement.
My first retirement was in 2000 after 31 years of teaching high school biology in Westbury, NY. Now, after 10 years of farming, I am looking forward to living life like the wife and kids. I have been watching them, and I am envious. I have never been a member of the leisure class, but I will give it my best shot.
My heartfelt thanks to all who have picked at my farm, be they tourists passing by or a local person who “needs” 200 pounds of strawberries for smoothies and jam for the winter. I had no idea that people would travel as far as they have and be so dedicated to picking organic strawberries. I also wish to thank a host of people who encouraged and assisted me, and help celebrate my “success”. Particularly the folks that helped with all the hand weeding that had to be done during the months of September, October, and November.
In 2002, I bought the Brookside Berry Farm and prepared to raise organic strawberries. Improvements to the land include 4000 feet of drain tile, 1500 feet of underground irrigation, a 2000 feet of gravel drive, and a 48 x 90 foot building for equipment storage and work area. The farm has been organic for the last 8 years. The Brookside Berry Farm has been a huge part of my life. For the most part, life during the “strawberry years” has been very good.
There have been times when when I very much enjoyed the solitude of farming. That solitude has turned into a loneliness that leaves me wanting for a more social activity. I have no idea what that may be. I have my ear to the ground.
My apologies to anyone I may have left in a “strawberry lurch”. I know for some people in the area that strawberries are an important part of their diet and that they depend on the Brookside Berry Farm for this fruit.
I remain committed to organic food whether it be the growing or consumption. It is the only safe and sustainable production system and the only safe system for the consumer. It is unfortunate that agribiz does not understand that.
Once again, thanks to all who have, in anyway, been a part of the Brookside Berry Farm.
David Dahle May 2013
- I wish to publicly thank Nicole Ramos for working the tent during the picking season for the last three years. Nicole’s people skills and attention to detail have made her invaluable to the farm. If you had a pleasant picking experience at the Brookside Berry Farm, it was probably because Nicole knew where you should pick. She has graduated from SUNY Alfred and has plans to start an elementary school teaching career. A little know fact about Nicole- for her golf game, she shoots in the 90‘s. I wish her the best. - David