“Yes, it was a bummer, but it’s farming. It’s what it is.”
Ellen Knapp and her husband both come from a line of farmers. Her husband is the 8th generation on his side, and her kids are the 9th. “We live in the settler’s home”, which was built in 1772.
This past summer, Ithaca experienced its first drought since 2000. It was so severe that it was the “first time in thirty years” that Knapp Farm didn’t have a significant blueberry yield; this summer’s blueberry crop yielded 25% of their usual crop, and blueberries are Knapp Farm’s main crop.
But Ellen remained positive and resilient.
“I mean, it’s somewhat of a good outcome – the first in thirty years. And the drought did free up half of July and August, so we had about a month and a half to start a farm brewery. It’s something that we’ve wanted to do, and we wouldn’t have been able to without the circumstance.
I like to say you make lemonade out of lemons.
Yes, it was a bummer, but it’s farming. It’s what it is.”
Barely understanding just how difficult farming is, I curiously asked her why she keeps doing it.
“I have a passion for processing raw products to finished products.
I love talking to people at the market.”
Just as she was answering my question at the Cornell Farmers Market, a student came up to purchase a beautiful bunch of grapes. “See you next week”, Ellen said. It’s evident to me that she cares about building relationships with customers.
If there was one thing you’d tell the public, what would it be?
You can learn more about Knapp Farm here.