Our family has been building a relationship with the land called Foxhollow for more than 65 years. The first family stewards of Foxhollow tended to a splendid array of flower gardens and watched over a small flock of white doves. A tenant farmer managed a small dairy, haying operation and apple orchard. It was a special treat to drive “way out in the country” to visit Aunt Margaret and Uncle Dave. We were fed country ham and beaten biscuits and were allowed to hang over the fence to feed the cows large clumps of hay. The land was loved.
In 1972 my mother, Mary Shands, moved us all out to the farm. My two siblings and I drank raw milk from the dairy, ate fresh vegetables grown by the farmer she employed and best of all… we were introduced to the glory of the woods at Foxhollow. Walking the woods was a balm for our family. It became the preferred cure for teenage meltdowns and the rough ride of our early twenties. Once her children were all launched, my mother merged her passion for health and wellness with the land by transforming some of the old farm houses into a health spa and B&B. By 1992 she had built an alternative medical clinic next to the old dairy barn and converted the milking parlor into a yoga studio. Foxhollow became a respite for the chronically ill and a retreat for those who needed to spend time in nature. Mother was the better for it and the land was loved by many.
In 2005, my brother, sister, and I moved into the position of stewardship for Foxhollow. It was our turn to converge our unique passions and intentions with this 1300 acre piece of the earth. All three of us were lovingly influenced by our grandmother, Jane Norton. She was a life long student of the work of Rudolf Steiner who was a spiritual teacher and scientist from Austria in the early 1900’s. Each one of us pursued our own unique relationship to Steiner’s philosophy (known as anthroposophy) which forms the foundation of biodynamic agriculture. Our united decision to understand and use biodynamic methods on our land was a natural next step.
I can say with confidence that biodynamics has been nourishing for the land and for those who farm, eat from, and visit Foxhollow Farm. My daughter, Maggie Keith, has been working by my side since 2006. It is changing her as it is changing me and my hope is that the land is as grateful as we are to be in this profound relationship.
Janey Newton, 3rd generation steward of Foxhollow Farm.