In New Lebanon, New York, roughly 2.5 hours north of New York City and 2 hours west of Boston, is the tiny family farm known as Shadowbrook Farm. The Benson Family, which was founded in 1953, has been involved in many facets of farm life, including crop farming and the cultivation of dairy, cattle, poultry, and swine.
Shadowbrook Farm, which is situated on the edge of the Berkshires, has hundreds of acres of pastures and hay fields where the most well-cared-for herd of cattle roam on a daily basis. Along with the beef herd, pasture-raised broiler chickens and laying hens utilize the expansive environment to find the variety of bugs, seeds, and greens that make up their diet. To give a bit more variation to our farm, a small drove of pigs just joined our farmland.
Purpose of the Shadowbrook Farm
Animals raised on a large scale in the United States are housed in crowded feedlots, fed grain-based diets subsidized by the government that contain antibiotics, and given growth hormone implants to artificially boost weight gain. Shadowbrook Farm is using a different strategy to give its clients the greatest quality farm products available and is committed to improving the meat that American consumers eat, even if this is incredibly profitable for “big business farming.”
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Shadowbrook Farm is committed to real, sustainable farming practices that promote the welfare of our animals and the consumption of premium, naturally-raised meats. Our cattle are raised on an abundance of pasture with constant access to new grass and legumes, which enables us to achieve this. Our pigs have almost 3,000 times more pasture space than the normal pig confinement, and our hens and turkeys enjoy a completely free range existence.
Go ahead and treat yourself to a memorable supper of our beef, chicken, turkey, pork, or eggs and taste the world of difference. The difference in quality is undeniable.
Shadowbrook Farm History
The name “Shadow Brook” was given to a tiny creek that runs to the west and south of the mansion site by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1844, Samuel Gray Ward made a land acquisition on the Baldhead slopes and constructed a home close to the future location of Shadowbrook. Oakwood is the name of Ward’s home.
Stokes bought the property plus land to the south and north in 1892 to form a 1,500-acre estate (610 ha). The Oakwood structure was destroyed except for its east wing, and Stokes built his mansion on a cliff 30 feet (9 meters) lower and 100 yards (90 meters) west. The $500,000 edifice, completed in 1893, featured English Tudor stonework and timbering. Pointed south. The south-facing main house saw Stockbridge Bowl, West Stockbridge Mountain, Rattlesnake Hill, Monument Mountain, and Mount Everett.
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The Stokes family lived in the valley below in timbered farm houses until the 1950s. In 1898, Anson Stokes left the home and went to Darien, Connecticut, when a riding accident injured his leg. The estate was mostly abandoned until Spencer P. Shotter of New Orleans bought it in 1905 and left in 1912. In 1916, a Vanderbilt widow rented the property. Shotter’s debtors sold the estate to Andrew Carnegie for $300,000 the same year.
At the time, Carnegie had acquired what was thought to be the second-largest private mansion in the country. The home was one of the Berkshires’ most notable representations of the gilded age. In 1919, Carnegie passed away in Shadowbrook. Three years later, the Society of Jesus purchased the estate to use as a novitiate for the training of Jesuit priests.
Shadowbrook Farm Days after fire
On March 9, 1956, four of Shadowbrook’s 150 residents perished in a fire that also completely destroyed the community’s main house. Later, the incident’s injuries caused the deaths of another two locals. The building’s successor had already been planned architecturally before the fire due to the expense of maintaining it and other practical issues. Senior Jesuit residents at the time questioned these plans, with one calling the new structure “a gigantic mediocrity.”
The proprietors of Shadow Brook Farm and Dutch Girl Creamery were back at work on Tuesday afternoon, one day after their factory and storefront were damaged in an early-morning fire that also destroyed cheese goods worth an estimated $80,000 in total.
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