Working farms have become the new country retreat of choice for fashionistas, artists and singers looking to reconnect with the earth.
Food Art: Anne Kennedy & Peter Nadin
Art & Food Entrepreneurs
"Our farm isn't about being nostalgic, it's about looking forward," says Anne Kennedy, co-founder of the art and photography agency Art + Commerce. Kennedy and her husband, artist Peter Nadin, started Old Field Farm/Art and Agriculture in Cornwallville, New York, 20 years ago. Today, the 160-acre property has a ceramic and painting studio; goats, chickens, ducks and pigs; gardens and beehives; and a forest full of mushrooms. "We're trying to use what we grow in different ways," says Nadin. Among their latest projects: providing a heritage hog to Manhattan chef April Bloomfield, using wax from bees in paintings and selling things like mushrooms and pancetta at NYC's new Jeffrey's Grocery and New Amsterdam Market.© Victor Schrager/ victorschrager.com
Food Art Members of Art and Agriculture's buying club receive honey from the farm's bees and jam. Food comes in jars and vessels made by resident ceramicists.© Victor Schrager/ victorschrager.com
Farm-to-Painting "We raise cashmere goats on the farm, and I use their wool in my paintings," says Peter Nadin of Art and Agriculture. "I use the cashmere to act as a representation of the goat in the landscape. The goats also clear the woods, so we can use the space to raise chickens and pigs."
Food Art: Jason Mraz
Singer/Songwriter© Sharon Caplan Cohen, reprint courtesy of Purely Delicious® Magazine
"Both of my grandfathers had kitchen gardens, and my dad leased his land to a local farmer, who rotated corn and soy. But I never thought I'd be doing that," says Mraz, who became a pop-music phenom with his single "I'm Yours." In 2004, he bought a house in San Diego County, California, that happened to have five-and-a-half acres of Hass and Reed avocado trees. Now he sells to local markets and is taking steps to become certified organic and diversify his crops. "The goal is to be able to produce 365 days of food for my family, and hook up with local CSAs and spread the love."
"I grew up on the East Coast and never even tasted an avocado until I was 21, when I moved to California. Now, I eat avocado in every meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert."
Food Art: John Patrick
Fashion Designer© Emma Andrea
"People have forgotten what makes them truly happy," says the designer of the label John Patrick Organic. "When I'm at my farm, what's most important is my garden, my table and eating." On his land in Germantown, New York, he grows corn, potatoes and herbs and participates in a CSA; next year, he'll raise heritage hogs.
Food Art: George Malkemus
President, Manolo BlahnikPrizewinners Melanie and Veronica (brown). Photo © Cybil Fisher.
In the fashion world, Malkemus is known for stilettos. In the farming world, he and partner Anthony Yurgaitis are famed for their prize-winning cows at Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut: "In 2004, we had an uprecedented two wins at the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin."
Food Art: Frédéric Fekkai
Celebrity Hairstylist© Marc Hom
When the hairdresser to the stars has had enough of Manhattan, he heads to Beaver Brook Farm. The 350-acre retreat in Millbrook, New York, has French donkeys, a garden and an orchard. Fekkai cooks to unwind: "I make pot-au-feu [a French stew] with meat from our cows."