Monday-Friday: 7:30am-5pm
Saturday: 8am-3pm

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La Basse Cour Farm Store, Bed & Breakfast & Kortright Handworks

IMG_2192b[1][1].jpgBriefly Describe your Farm and Offerings:

La Basse Cour, the Farmyard, is a small family farm practicing natural methods in balance with nature in the beautiful western Catskills. We raise chickens for eggs, sheep and goats for fiber and a full vegetable garden, all available in our Farm Store along with food and crafts from nearby farmers and artisans. Bed & Breakfast guests stay with us year round in our 1840’s Greek Revival-style farmhouse and savor our delicious farm fresh breakfasts made with our eggs and local seasonal ingredients, visit with our friendly farm animals and enjoy 100 acres of meadow, woodland and wetland. We gladly offer farm tours too.

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Stop in our community textile studio Kortright Handworks at La Basse Cour, our newest venture. Through workshops and retreats, learn traditional methods for creating durable goods from nature's gifts. Create your own studio space, share your skills, learn from experts, and encourage others. Knit, crochet, spin, weave, dye, felt, sew, and more. Located in our Carriage House, alongside our Farm Store and Bed & Breakfast.

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How did you get into farming?

IMG_1949[1][1].jpgLarry comes from a long line of farmers. His youth was spent raising sunflowers and vegetables with his father, grandfather and uncle on their farm in Pennsylvania where he came to love the life that is soil. That love took him to Delaware Valley College and Penn State University to become a soil scientist and agronomist, then on to a teaching career at DelVal spanning 36 years and a consulting practice focused on soils and land use. I am a chemical engineer by training with industry, business and non-profit experience that helped shape my ideas about sustainability and community, including the importance of re-localizing our economy and farming in balance with nature. La Basse Cour is the embodiment of our experiences and values. In some ways is it a bit of ‘back to the future’, bringing forward the proven principles from the past, including a farm that is almost 175 years in the making, to today as a living example of adaptation and resilience and care both in agriculture and in community.

How does being a member of SFC help your farm operation, help you grow your business?

971611_4716577395721_13878349_n[1].jpgSFC understands the needs of its farmer customers and the need to change as our community changes with more tourist and second homeowners coming to our area. As an experienced farmer, Larry can get what he needs to keep making progress on any number of farm projects that are always in the works. Whether it is lime and a spreader rental for our vegetable and hay production, or fencing and hardware for gates or quality feed for our farm animals, or work clothes and shoes for himself, SFC has what we need at good quality and competitive prices. Before Larry retired from teaching, I was running the farm by myself much of the year. Being new to farming, I especially relied on the advice and experience – the wisdom – of the SFC staff. And if the solution wasn’t on the shelf, it was ordered and arrived in a few days.

The dairy case that was added several years ago by SFC helped take our egg business to the next level and more. By creating a reliable sales outlet for our egg production, by putting our product in front of many more customers than we would ever see at our farm, SFC played a big part in helping our egg business more than double in the past 4 years. For a small farm like ours, that means real growth.

sept 30 14 farm stand etc 019-sm.jpgIn addition to helping us increase our sales, SFC also helped us improve our profitability. By adding the 1000 pound feed sack to their feed offerings, SFC measurably reduced our feed cost, and our backs will surely last us into our old age by not having to handle 50 pound sacks of chicken feed anymore! Our hens are out on pasture but they need a balanced ration to supplement their diets. The feed mill at SFC – the last one in all of Delaware County – buys grains from nearby farmers so that we can all be part of keeping our economy local and supporting local farmers and producers. Buying our feed from SFC helps us live our values. And it helps our hens make some of the most delicious eggs around!

Speaking of feed, we also buy sheep ration, goat ration, cow ration and rolled oats for our farm animals that are blended by SFC at the feed mill, and our dog and cat food too. We raise our sheep and our goats for their fiber, which we turn into yarn and handmade goods in our textile studio Kortright Handworks. Battenkill Fiber Mill, north and east of Albany, processed our sheep fleeces into yarn two years ago; they told us ours was some of the best quality fleece they had ever seen, a tribute to the animal care. Yes, Larry and I take good care of our farm animals, but we never forget that what goes in as feed helps produce their soft lustrous fleece and helps us maintain our herd health too.

What’s on the horizon?

IMG_2803.jpgBeing only a few hours drive from NYC, our area is a haven for visitors and a magnet for second homeowners. We experience this through our bed&breakfast guests and the many folks that stop by our farm. SFC continues to expand its offerings to serve these customers as well as their long standing farmer customer base. One example of this creativity is the new Farmers’ Market which will begin at SFC this coming season. By offering farmers like us (with a retail aspect to our farm enterprises) visibility in front of these potential new customers, SFC is growing their business as well as their member-farmer businesses at the same time. This, like the dairy case (and soon to be new freezer case), offers a real win for both, and demonstrates that SFC is committed to the success of its members as it seeks new ways to
serve new customers, all in the spirit of buy-local. We are looking forward to being a part of the new Farmers’ Market at SFC.

What is most special to you about our area?

We decided to move here and to farm here because we were looking for a rural way of life, small towns and vast expanses of fields and forests where folks know each other by name, care for each other and lend a helping hand. I started coming here as a small child with my family many years ago; we built our cabin with local lumber and made wonderful memories that drew me back as an adult. We wanted to be part of a community, to grow healthy and delicious food for people to enjoy, to create beautiful hand crafted products, and to care for a beautiful farmstead that not only tells the history, it helps shape the future, in balance with nature. This is the same reason we shop at and are members of SFC, it has that same feel and it operates with those same kinds of ideals.

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Contact Information

La Basse Cour Farm Store, Bed & Breakfast and Kortright Handworks at La Basse Cour
Diane Frances and Larry Hepner
3228 Gun House Hill Road
South Kortright, NY 13842
www.la-basse-cour.com
labassecourfarm@gmail.com
Facebook
607-538-9707

 

By Diane Frances on February 11, 2019