Our Farm's Story

original-farm.pngLa 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 operate our farm store, studio, and bed & breakfast 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.

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 irresistable 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.

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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We have "guest" paddocks and run-in sheds available for your horse when you stay with us in our Bed & Breakfast.

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Art Inspired by Our Farm

Fond Memories

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Dancer & Dan McCarthy, Catskill Natural Horse

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Scooter

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Paulie

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Bennie

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Annabelle

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Jaxx

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Molly

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Max

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Gracie

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Holly

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Princess