Who We Are
Hello! We are Mary and Jonathan, partners and stewards of Wander Creek Farm.
We are located just outside the village of Greene in Chenango County, New York. We are 20 miles north of Binghamton, 40 miles east of Ithaca, 60 miles south of Syracuse and roughly 100 miles west of the Catskill Mountains.
Wander Creek grows on land that is part of Mary’s father’s farm, a piece we all call “The Flat.” As bottomland adjacent to Genegantslet Creek, it’s naturally bound by an ever-changing, wandering creek that flows around the farm.
Wander Creek Farm was formed out of many ideas, values-realized, the generosity of others, family roots, the gifts of friendship, shared wisdom, and a love for plants and good eating. A natural blossoming, if you will.
A Brief Introduction
Mary and Jonathan crossed paths as crew mates aboard a sailing ship in Puerto Rico. Once pointed in the same direction, and after several years living in California, their shared love for nature, working outdoors, dark leafy greens, and people, led to a clear destination: grow food for people.
Mary grew up here in Greene on this small farm in a big family. She went to Cornell where science led her to the sea, and the sea to ships. Sailing led her to environmental education, then to nonprofit work, until eventually she landed ashore to teach at a Rudolf Steiner-inspired school in California. Life beckoned her back to the family farm in 2020. Friends pointed her towards the apprenticeship at Frith where she found her farming compass.
Mary’s interested in the inherent connectedness of food and health, of both people and planet. She loves the earth and its inhabitants, like rusty colored flowers, the endlessness of the ocean, amphibians in motion, and all the precious souls she’s shared this life with. Music continues to move her like nothing else. And, she’s beyond grateful to call Jonathan her best friend.
Jonathan grew up on Long Island. Raised in a multi-cultural family with multi-cultural taste buds, he was privileged with an early appreciation of an assortment of flavors and food. A love for the outdoors and for water in all its forms drove him toward environmental stewardship. Paperback books, paired with a degree in writing, fostered his commitment to the story, reading them and creating them.
He had figured on farming much sooner in life, but life made him wait. Instead, he traveled through almost every position in the food industry and upon an assortment of ships around the country, culminating in a job as a Ship Rigger for the National Park Service in San Francisco. Through it all, he always felt drawn to the earth. His landing here, farming with Mary, is a dream realized.
The “Home” Farm
The land we grow from is nestled within Mary’s family’s farm which is tended by her father, Douglas. Mary is the fourth generation in her family to farm in Greene, preceded first by her great-grandfather Louis in the early 1920’s. Mary’s grandmother Lucille grew up close by, loved the farm, and helped out well into her later years. Mary’s father took on the farm in 1980, ran a dairy business for about 20 years, and now raises cattle. Mary’s mother worked full-time off-farm, raised five children, took them to auction, and got 75 cents a pound. Just kidding. Her wisdom and unconditional love undoubtedly carried each of us through our journeys in this place, and beyond, and back again.
Wander Creek respectfully acknowledges that the history described here is an incomplete one. The land we farm now is in the region of the ancestral lands of the Haudenosaunee, the indigenous people who farmed in the area well before we did and whose ancestors lived in these lands for thousands of years.
The Journey to Wander Creek
We return to these beautiful rolling pastures, creeks and forests committed to support the life within them, and humbled by the life-time sized efforts already committed by Mary’s dad. We are passionate about growing plants for food and medicine using practices that build and strengthen the diversity of life, human and otherwise, in a thriving ecosystem. For us, vegetable production is the entry point to farming in this way.
We were full-season apprentices at Frith Farm in southern Maine, a thriving, organic, no-till vegetable farm that served over 200 CSA families, several natural food stores, and a weekly on-farm public market. As apprentices, under the tutelage of Daniel Mays (check out his fantastic book!), we experienced full immersion into no-till vegetable production with great attention given to starting and building a farm. Our gratitude for Daniel is ongoing and endless as he remains a humble and ever-giving teacher, and has become a cherished friend.
Special shout out with immeasurable thanks to Virginia and Alessia of Sound Pine Farm, our steadfast friends and mentors, guiding lights on this path, who we couldn’t live without. tslymb.
We’ve started Wander Creek Farm empowered by our experiences and equipped with wisdom gleaned from our many, many teachers.