Surviving the Family Farm

By Keith Davis

IC grads are not only keeping their family farms alive; they’re helping them thrive at a time when American farming may seem like a relic of a bygone era.

While most people think of the Big Apple when they hear New York, they may not know that New York State is the country’s second largest grower of apples. It’s also America’s second largest wine-producing state and fourth largest cheese maker. Despite census figures showing that only two percent of Americans make their living by farming the land these days, orchards, vineyards, and farms in the Empire State are not things of the past.

One of those orchards belongs to Bruce Salinger ’72, a third-generation farmer, and his wife, Maureen. Among recent IC alumni, two 2010 grads, Leverett Saltonstall and Pete Messmer, will assume ownership of a vineyard and a goat farm from their parents. Why did these three alumni leave their family farms for four years to study at South Hill and then go back to blossoms and grapevines and goat’s milk? Read on to find out.

Pete Messmer '10
cheesemaker, Lively Run Goat Dairy

Leverett "Lev" Saltonstall '10
New York City Market Manager, King Ferry Winery

Bruce Salinger '72
Co-owner and operator, Salinger's Orchard