We (Martin and Christa) started Markristo Farm in 1988 on the land where Martin was raised. Martin had recently 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! And only because that first planting grew gloriously into a bumper crop (more than we could eat or give away) did we start pedaling them in town to some of the fine restaurants near by. Imagine our delight when we met with enthusiasm and orders! As the farm has grown we quite naturally divided up the tasks at hand according to our strengths; Christa oversees much of the seed ordering and crop planning, managing the cut flowers and running the farmers' markets, while Martin manages all the equipment and field production of vegetables, from seeding to harvest, as well as making most of our deliveries.
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 (www.berkshiregrown.org), 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.
As our children grew up (Sarah, Rachael and Matthias), the joys of farm life blossomed as we lived the ideals of never leaving them to go off to work. They learned much through the hands on approach of farming, and are now our best team players on our farm and at our markets.
Of course, as they matured, their interests expanded, and thus horses found their way into our hearts and onto our farm. Both girls are now capable dressage riders, and have developed a vocational interest in training and showing, as well as the therapeutic aspects of horsemanship.
In 2014, we purchased the rundown, but beautiful horse-farm, called BridleWood, just around the corner from us, and so together with our children, we now have plenty to do in the winter as well, renovating the property and creating an oasis in support of the human/equine connection. For more info and updates on BridleWood see: www.bridlewood-dressage.com and www.facebook.com/BridleWoodDressage
Farming is certainly not just a job to us, it is a way of life- inextricably entwined in our personal and family values and we are ever grateful to be ‘sowing these seeds’; the rewards are many fold!