Corbin Hill Farm was established to supply fruits and vegetables to areas of New York City that have very limited access to fresh produce. After seeing the severity of the problem in South Bronx and learning of the drastic rise in diet-related diseases there, Dennis Derryck decided to take action. He gathered a group of passionate investors (72 percent of the equity came from African Americans and Latinos and 50 percent from women), assembled an advisory board, and purchased a 95-acre farm in Schoharie County with the intention of growing enough produce to feed the South Bronx.
Soon after the purchase in 2009, Dennis discovered that existing Schoharie farmers were interested in participating and were already growing enough produce to supply Corbin Hill’s program. A natural partnership was formed between downstate consumers and upstate producers and by June, 2010, beautiful Schoharie County fruits and vegetables were being delivered to New York City.
The fertile land on Corbin Hill in the heart of Schoharie County has been farmed for over 200 years. Purchased by Samuel Brown in 1802 and named “Old Brown Homestead,” the property served as the family home for the Brown family until the 1980s. They operated a dairy farm on the land for nearly 100 years, with hundreds of cows, but the rise of factory farms hastened the decline of family-owned dairy operations and the Browns closed the farm and eventually sold the property.
The farmstead was immortalized in two folk art paintings by the artist Fritz Vogt, which both hang in the Fennimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The original farmhouse dates to 1805. Some of the original rubble foundation and hand-hewed poplar tree foundation is still evident in the basement. A classic post and beam chestnut wood-framed barn was built in the 1800s and 100 years later, converted to a shelter for cattle, typical of dairy farms, with the first floor housing the cows and the second floor used for hay storage.
Dennis Derryck purchased the property in 2009, intending the farm to eventually belong to shareholders in New York City, thus providing urban communities with complete food sovereignty. At the moment, Corbin Hill Road Farm is cultivating around an acre of organic produce that supplies a portion of the Farm Share, with plans to expand in the coming seasons, particularly focusing on berries, which are too costly to purchase from other farms. We are developing a small “kitchen garden” to demonstrate how a small space can be used to produce herbs, edible flowers, and veggies. In the future, the farm will serve as a learning laboratory that unites upstate and downstate youth through hands-on farming education. Let us know if you’d like to visit – we are open by appointment.