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Long Island - A very special place we get to call home.

An Hour at Browder's

On a whim, I decided to drive out to Browder’s Birds Poultry Farm in Mattituck. I had heard about them on social media and in local papers, but truthfully had little expectation of what I would find when I arrived.

What I did know is that I’ve never passed Browder’s in all my years traversing the fork. It wasn’t located on either of the two main roads that dissect the Nofo east to west, or any of the prominent cuts north to south. Huh. I’d have to map this place out, which is a rarity for me out here on the narrow peninsula.

After plugging in the address I sat back to enjoy the ride. I like traveling to new places. But halfway into the trip I thought surely my GPS has misfired, taking me through the windiest roads I’ve ever encountered on the North Fork. For a short time I actually completely lost my bearings, and if you left me there on foot I don’t think I would have made it to civilization before dark.

But alas, around a bend atop a hill, was a small welcome sign, Browder’s Birds. I had made it.

It was one of those driveways, however, where uncertainty pervades. Is this the entrance? Am I wandering down someone’s private drive? I let the car progress forward while I contemplated the awkward and precarious situation I was creating. As I crept in, however, I could see the farm laid out before me. I was indeed in the right spot. Whew.

The scene before me was nothing less than breathtaking. It helped that the day was clear and bright – the deep blue backdrop of a sky was everything I’d been longing for since my winter depression began in January. The farm was much larger than I ever imagined. The pasture was vast enough that my eyes couldn’t take me to its finish line. An enviously charming house sat to my left at the edge of the property, set just high enough to take in the view all around. I imagined this was the owner’s home, and I found out later that I was correct. There were no boundaries to be seen – no fence, no divider - between roaming barn animals, house residents, and wandering patrons. Everything and everyone melded together here. I thought it both alluring and odd at the same time.

As my eyes scanned the landscape I soon realized this was much more than a poultry farm. Much more. A small farmhouse hut housed a modest market with goods for sale – apparel made of wool (from the resident sheep), eggs, pasture-raised chicken, homemade chicken pot pies, and more. There were, of course, chickens, but there were also cows, geese, ducks, sheep, lambs, and a resident pooch who keeps everyone in line.

I wandered freely about the property, the animals going about their business unfazed at my staring and picture taking. They were gorgeous moments – fresh air, open space, bucolic charm, chickens circling my legs in a haphazard effort to eat and roam.

Holly and Chris Browder were warm and welcoming – it’s obvious they love what they do. They met over 15 years ago on Shelter Island, both living and working in NYC. They decided to give up urban living and moved out east to begin their adventure in agriculture. They never looked back.

Their story fascinated me, their lifestyle consumed my imagination. I had found my calling. I wanted to be a farmer. As I drove away toward home I dreamt of a fantastic new life on a sprawling farm, collecting eggs each morning, feeding livestock by afternoon, working the land until dusk, and sinking into a beckoning sofa by night. But on the half hour drive home the vision faded from memory one traffic light at a time. My cell phone rang, my to-do list seeped back into memory, and reality came a knocking. Maybe in another lifetime.

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