Holiday Brook Farm is located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. It currently encompasses some 1300 acres of open fields, forest and pasture. As you drive along Rt.9 coming from Northampton to Pittsfield, the farm stretches out on both sides of the road as you come down the hill from Windsor into Dalton. We also manage the Musante Farm which is across the way from the main farm and encompasses another couple hundred acres as well as some hayfields that belong to friends and neighbors. We work just as hard to improve and maintain these acres as we do our own since we firmly believe in leaving the landscape healthier than we found it.
In 2008, the farm applied for and got a Farm Viability Grant to help with the expansion and diversification of some of the farm’s ventures. Our new timber-framed livestock barn and a separate farm-store should be completed in spring of 2011 and improved fencing is in process. The pastured pork operation has grown to include four sows, the grass-fed beef herd of Belted Galloway x Highland breeding stock is happily eating grass around the farm as are the grass-fed flock of Clun & Romney cross sheep whom are growing delicious lamb and gorgeous wool which will turn into yarns & fleeces for sale in 2011.
The farmers are always being asked about how the farm got its name, and while there is a long and complicated history behind the farm and its land(the details of which, for you history buffs are intricately laid out on our website at www.holidayfarm.com/history) the short answer is that in 1899 the part of the farm where the new livestock barn now stands there used to be a farmhouse owned by Miss Mary Crane. Miss Crane used to bring underpriviledged children from New York City to ‘holiday’ for six weeks in the rural Berkshire countryside in a sort of precursor to today’s Fresh Air Fund. Upon her marriage, Mary sold the farm to her brother Federick G. Crane. Today the farm is still owned and operated by the descendents of Frederick Crane.
In 2008 it was decided that the name of the farm would be changed to Holiday Brook (the stream that flows through its heart) in order to emphasize the connection between the farm and the natural landscape it encompasses.
The farm is owned by four siblings- Dicken, Carrie, Mary & Tim Crane who were born and raised on the farm, and Dicken continues to work full-time in league with Desiree & Jesse Roberston-DuBois who were hired as farm managers in 2007 to synergize the farm’s existing operations and diversify into new ventures. This diversification of the farm included adding pastured and grass-fed meats and expanding the vegetable operation to include a 145 member CSA & farm-store to the farm’s long term businesses of making hay, ‘black gold’ compost, maple syrup & firewood.
Faces of the Farm:
Dicken Crane, head honcho
Jesse & Desiree Robertson-DuBois, managers
Gib, Morgan & Elspeth, farm kids