Located on 65 scenic acres in the Hudson Valley of New York State, Phillies Bridge Farm Project is a not-for-profit working farm with a mission to promote local sustainable agriculture, to provide CSA shareholders with abundant organically grown vegetables and herbs, to share part of the harvest with people in need, and to educate people of all ages about the sources of healthy food and the study of nature.
Phillies Bridge Farm includes six acres of vegetable fields, an herb garden, a delightful children’s Discovery Garden, 45 acres of woodlands and wetlands, rolling pastures, and views of the Shawangunk Ridge. A Nature Trail extends in a 1½ mile loop from the big barn through woods and wetlands around to a view of the farm and the house from the top of the hill called “Sheep’s Nose.” Come learn, grow, and share with us!
Phillies Bridge Farm Project’s mission is to develop and demonstrate sustainable agriculture; educate the community about food justice and the sources of healthy food; and provide access to sustainably grown produce for local community members, with a focus on food-insecure households.
We are currently reviewing the following information, which is lacking in sources and certainly missing important historical context. We are leaving the original text here as we do this research, as a reminder that our historical understanding of this land has not always been a priority.
In 1677 the land was purchased from the Lenape by Huguenot settlers as they expanded from their original village settlements in New Paltz. Purchased by Jan LeFevre, son of one of the twelve Huguenot families, the farm was in the LeFevre family for seven generations. Beginning to farm the land in 1742, Abraham and Andries LeFefvre used Rosendale lime to neutralize the acidic soil, planted clover to increase nitrogen levels, and employed crop rotation to increase their yields. These innovative techniques were revolutionary at the time.
The current farmhouse was constructed in 1850 on the stone foundation of the original 1745 house. The farmhouse and acreage would change hands several times before James Jr. and Mary Ottaway purchased the land in 1984. During their 12-year stay on the farm, the Ottaways were approached by Mohonk Consultations to create a demonstration farm that would focus on organic techniques and community education. With the vision and initiative of Dan Guenther, Helen Vukasin, Gayil Greene, and the Working Group on Family Farms, the farm was leased for five years from the Ottaways to create the Phillies Bridge Farm Project, which became a not-for-profit organization in 1999. The Ottaways were excited to see the success of the first not-for-profit Community Supported Agriculture farm in this area, farm-based education for schools, and a summer day camp. In 2002 the Ottaways donated the farm to the Phillies Bridge Farm Project with a conservation easement placed on the land. The Easement, held by the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, permanently protects the environmental, scenic, agricultural and natural values on the 65+ acres.
Phillies Bridge Farm Project’s stewardship of the farm and its historic buildings supports its Mission to demonstrate and promote local agriculture that is ecologically sound, community oriented, and economically viable. These goals are achieved through education, internships, research, the operation of a working farm, and donation of fresh produce to those in need through Ulster County service agencies.
The volunteer Board of Directors works actively to seek funding and provide resources to sustain and expand the Farm Project’s education and service programs, and works to engage the community in promoting local farms and sustainable agriculture.
Where Does the Name “Phillies” Come From?
Built in 1840, a covered bridge crossed over the Wallkill River to take materials to the home of Phillip Hasbrouck. Phillip had a distillery and people brought materials to him. Over time, Phillie’s Bridge fell into disrepair during a storm, eventually causing the Town of Gardiner to say it was a danger to river traffic. In August 1948 the town had it burned down.
From the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. Photos by Erma DeWitt.