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Markristo Farm
Address: 2891 State Rt 23 Hillsdale, NY, 12529
Email Address: markristo@fairpoint.net
Phone: 518-325-4261
About Us
Back in 1988, Martin had just returned to the states after a year in the Philippines with the Peace Corps, followed by a trip around the world (the long way home!) and Christa was again in the country after a tour through South Germany with an international opera company, singing in Mozart’s opera, Die Zauberflöte. One of our first dates was digging in the soil planting 3 acres of bare root blueberry bushes! In fact, right before we met, Martin’s plan was to start a pick your own operation and it was only because blueberries need 3-5 years to mature, that we started planting vegetables, for want of something to do in the mean time!

It was then that we cultivated the dream of creating a farm that could support both of us (and our future family) without any need for off farm income. The fact that we chose to work the land organically/sustainably was simply a part of the values with which we were both raised, but we had our work cut out for us to become a viable operation. Luckily our market seemed ready made as we are located in the Berkshires, home to many fine restaurants, and a discerning population, and we were well received in our first sales attempts. But to earn our living we needed to increase our production capabilities and quickly focused on mechanization – we wanted to be in control of the whole picture and not have to rely on hired labor while we ourselves were still learning the ropes. We tried to work smart, not just hard, so we purchased equipment that supported efficient systems of production for the #1 crops in demand, clearly (then and now), ‘greens!’ – big greens, baby greens – mesclun greens, braising greens, mustard greens, chard, spinach, kale, etc.; anything that’s likely to suffer the rigors of a long shipment. As a local grower we got everyone’s attention where freshness was concerned! So every year we mechanized where we could, from seeders to cultivators, from transplanters to a giant commercial greens washer, and before too long we were getting a lot done fast! …which of course left us with all this extra time to grow everything else, like tons of tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, beets, carrots, fennel, green beans (7 acres of them!....yes, we have a mechanical harvester) eggplants, turnips, winter squash, culinary herbs, etc., etc, after all, we wanted to eat everything, so we had to grow it. However, quality of life crept into the decision of just how much we could sanely do and so we’ve prioritized; the crops we grow most efficiently (in terms of time and labor cost) get sold in great quantity to all our customers, whereas those crops that take the most time to do, we reserve for our farmers' market customers.
Practices
In keeping with our interest in a local food system and a healthy environment we are long time board members of the non profit organization, Berkshire Grown, whose efforts include the direct support of farmers and their markets as well as educating the public towards more informed food choices. As a successful small farm operation we have experienced first hand the positive effects of Berkshire Grown’s efforts.