After deep reflection, we have decided to cancel all gatherings at La Basse Cour, including farm stays, farm tours,
events, and workshops until there is more certainty about Covid 19.

Our eggs and yarn are for sale in our milk house, and our vegetables in season on our farm stand.
Please practice social distancing and wear your mask if you come to the farm. You may read our Covid 19 Safety Plan for more information.

We will be none the less busy, tending the land and animals entrusted to our care.
See what we're up to by following us on Facebooksubscribing to our newsletter, and reading our blog posts.
You are in our thoughts and we look forward to sharing many joyful events at La Basse Cour.

Our Farm's Story


Located in the ancestral land of the Haudenosaunee people at the headwaters of the Delaware River, what we now lovingly call La Basse Cour holds the memories of a time of transition away from the idea of living in harmony with nature, first to English rule, then the formation of America. This region lived through what is known as King George’s War, the French and Indian War which was an extension of the war between England and France that was happening simultaneously in Europe, and the Revolutionary War. British Indian Agent William Johnson exemplified the mixed loyalties typical of the time. On the one hand he worked on behalf of the British and against the French to wrestle the land from the native people throughout central New York, on the other, he was accepted and  trusted by the Mohawk people, participating in ritual ceremonies and marrying Molly Brant. Her brother Joseph Brant is well known for his conflicted role as Chief, eventually and sadly, presiding over the assimilation of his people into white culture even as he fought to preserve their dignity. Brant was sent to a school in Connecticut as a young man where he met the future Colonel John Harper, eventual founder of Harpersfield in 1789, the town within which La Basse Cour resides, from a land patent from the British king granted in 1768. Thanks to their school day friendship, stories are recorded of Brant warning Harper of planned British-Indian attacks so that he and his family could escape to safer ground.  History is more complex, more nuanced than we are often taught, with survival largely the result of unexpected alliances.

Soon after, the migration west began, and many people came to this region from what was becoming a very crowded Connecticut. The British left their mark on many things, including the idea of land ownership by individuals so anathema to native people, so the deed for the farm records the many people who have lived on this land as the patent was sold off in bits and pieces. What we now call La Basse Cour, was settled in the mid 1800's as a diversified family farm. The first recording lists Samuel Craig who sold 205 acres to David Dixon in 1833. The next mentions Moses Kilpatrick and his wife Mary Ann who sold 100 acres in 1853 to Orrin Hanford. Charles and Eliza Hanford must have inherited the land from Orrin, as they are listed as the sellers to David and Elizabeth Dixon in 1866. The Hanfords built the farmhouse in 1853, and signed and dated the plastor in the parlor!

The entire 372 acres was assembled by the Dixons and eventually sold to Herman and Florence Bouton in 1914. The Boutons sold the farm to brothers Paul and Grant White in 1935. The White family owned the tract until 1985 when all but 32.5 acres was leased and then sold to Einar Eklund after the farm shifted from dairy to sheep. The remaining parcel, including the farmhouse and all the outbuildings, was sold to Gary Cordial and Deborah Alton in 1991. For a short while it was a gentleman's farm; the farmhouse was lovingly restored and the land was used to graze beautiful Belgian draft horses. We purchased it from Deborah in 1996. Many of the original outbuildings remain today, including the hen house, sap house, ice house, dairy barn and carriage house for the horses that once powered the plows. Now we are restoring barns and outbuildings, raising chickens for eggs, vegetables, and sheep and goats for fiber, dreaming of the day when this farm comes full circle - a diversified family farm once again.

And over 150 years later, the Hanford family legacy continues not only here on our farm, also at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, where you can see the lumber and feed mills powered by a water wheel on the mill pond just as it was when this area was settled.

field-work.jpgOur Way of Being

La Basse Cour is a diversified family farm in balance with nature. Founded by the Hanford family in the mid 1800’s, this farm was operated by horse-power and relied on natural methods of production. Land was cleared for pastures for grazing the livestock who returned rich manure for fertilizer. Timber was used to build the house, the barns and the outbuildings, and a woodlot was managed for a constant supply of firewood for heat and for cooking. A no-name creek that flows into the West Branch of the Delaware River runs through the farm and at one time provided power for a grain mill, ice for refrigeration, and water for the farm animals. A gravity-fed spring provided clean water to the barn and for the family. A horse-drawn wagon took the family into town for worship and for supplies they didn’t produce for themselves on the farm. It was a life in harmony with its surroundings, its natural resources and their cycles.

field notes michael kudish july2017 page1-round.pngOver the years, the original 300+ acres were sub-divided and sold as our region continues to change. We have been fortunate to add back a parcel, including a wetland filled with native plants and wildlife which also acts as a buffer for snowmelt and heavy rains. We are working toward our goal of being self-sustaining for hay and grain for our farm animals and wood for our woodstoves, with an additional parcel of meadow and woods. These parcels have been walked with Michael Kudish, our very own Catskills Forest Historian, and namesake of the Michael Kudish Natural History Preserve and cataloged for your exploration and enjoyment as well.

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Much has changed in the 150+ years since the farm was founded, yet we strive to restore that harmony within today’s context as we raise our produce and farm animals, and host farm stays, farm tours, workshops and events for your enjoyment. Our personal values coupled with our chosen location in this beautiful, environmentally sensitive area of the Catskill Watershed motivates us each day to seek ways to minimize our impact and work to regenerate the natural resources we are so fortunate to live among.

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We invite our visitors and guests to share in this ongoing labor of love.

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Stay among our animal friends, bask in their love and nearly irresistible charm! Our farm animals are not just a source of eggs and fiber. They are a source of joy for us and for our guests, as well as wonderful manure for our compost. 

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Join us for sheering days and help prepare our fleeces for spinning and dyeing as you get to know our friendly flock of sheep and herd of goats.

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Watch the fields or participate as the crops are planted, grown, harvested and prepared for market! A variety of vegetables, grains, legumes and hay are rotated in our garden to maintain soil health and increase nutrient density.

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 Our compost operation is an essential part of how we farm. One of the reasons we have farm animals is for their manure, which we compost along with their bedding to add as a rich organic source to our soil. We even compost the waste material from our fleeces when we prepare them for the mill or to wash and spin  ourselves!

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We welcome farm tours any time of the year even if you are just passing through!

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Art Inspired by Our Farm

Fond Memories





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Big Ear

victoria lamb


mercury cat















Blue Bead






Mr. Purr-ty Cat Catamouse Cattin’ Around Cat

















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Dancer & Dan McCarthy, Catskill Natural Horse







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