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Stories: Alix Becker of Farmstead Hudson Valley

Stories: Alix Becker of Farmstead Hudson Valley

Alix Becker is a design and branding specialist, turned farmer, now living in the Hudson Valley. Native to San Francisco, Alix traded in her West Coast roots to settle in bucolic Columbia County, NY where she's finding new life and inspiration. We met Alix while exhibiting at our first Field + Supply and knew immediately that we wanted to connect. What a treat it's been to spend time with Alix. Her journey reveals the magic of following instinct, being open to change and possibility, and how tending to the land on a small scale can bring purpose, meaning, and help develop a deep sense of community. Be forewarned, read this story and you might just want to pick up and move to the country (if you haven't already done so!).


Beanstory:  What made you decide to relocate to the Hudson Valley?

Alix Becker: My husband David, who is an artist, and I met and lived in NYC for many years before moving to California to raise our children near our families in California. We always loved the Hudson Valley, having visited extensively over those years of living in the City. Its history as an artistic and agricultural community gives the Hudson Valley such a unique sense of place. 

At some point, California became untenable and we began looking east for an exit strategy. That was in 2010. Over the course of the next 20 years, we purchased a couple of historic farms with a vision of restoring them. The first in Stuyvesant is now our farm and the second is our home in Stockport. Finally, in the middle of Covid, having fallen even more in love with the place over the course of extensive renovations, and finding that our vision of a bi-coastal life was all of a sudden not possible, we moved here full time to dedicate ourselves to life in Columbia Country.


B: And there are so many spots to choose from in the Hudson Valley. Why Columbia County specifically?

AB: Stuyvesant, NY is an agricultural community located in Columbia County on the banks of the Hudson River. Its wide open agricultural lands and good growing soils provided a great foundation for our farming vision and we had a great friend here who we would visit from time to time whose style and hospitality seduced us into loving this particular spot. I remember spending one Thanksgiving at his house and walking the beautiful country road with my daughter and saying to her - this is where we are going to buy a farm. It was so exciting. It just felt right. Like coming home.

B: Do you miss California?

AB: I don't really have time to miss California. Farming is a full time job and there’s a never ending list of things on my to do list. Columbia County has captured my heart and imagination and offers so much possibility. We have only just begun to really get to know this place and its people and our farm has so much potential. 

I love the California of my childhood, which was so sweet. I can still smell and feel the dry air of summer there. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. But I’ve found a new place for my heart to land here in Columbia County and I can only look forward to what we are creating here through our hard work and love of this place.

B: Tell us about your home in Stockport.  It’s one of the oldest in the area, right?

AB: Our home in Stockport is the oldest in Columbia County, a Dutch stone Colonial built in 1654. It’s called The Staats House and it was originally the home of a Dutch doctor named Dr. Abraham Staats. There are also 2 farmhouses on our property in Stuyvesant that date back to the late 18th century. We’ve made them all liveable and renovated 2 barns but our attention today is toward cultivating the land with intent and care.

B: Why do you think it’s important to support small farms?

AB: Farmers connect people with the land.


B: Given you were new to this area, what advice would you give to someone trying to build community?

AB: Start a farm! When we moved here in 2020, I knew very few people. Then I started my farm. I met everyone that year at The Kinderhook Farmers Market. Of course that’s not something everyone can do.


B: What career path or personal journey led you to where you are now?

AB: I ran my own design and branding agency in California. But, I come from an agricultural family in Napa. It was always the land that brought me home, from wherever I happened to be in the world. And I learned a lot of what I know about farming from our family business in California. When it finally became possible, I knew I wanted to express my values of land stewardship here on our land.


B: And what are your values about farming? 

AB: Do no harm. Respect the land. Leave it better than you found it. Express what’s unique about the place and the year.

B: What do you love about good food?

AB: I am not a foodie but I love coming around the table with friends and family. The joy of good food and good conversation. Laughter. Being together. A great bottle of wine. Time and place.


B: What advice would you give your younger self?

AB: Follow your passion and don’t be intimidated. Patriarchy is bullshit.

B: Do you have any daily rituals that you practice?

AB: They all go out the window in favor of the rhythm and daily needs of the farm but I do like to try and read for at least one hour in the morning. 


B: What crop have you not yet grown that you really want to grow? Why? 

AB: I am only 3 years into this so there are a lot of crops I’d like to grow. I think the bigger question for me is what grows best in this particular location and climate and why. Farming is a long game and we’re in a time of experimentation. We’re learning what grows well and what our customers want. For instance, I am particularly excited about fava beans right now. They have a fleeting season but are so delicious. And I’d love to experiment with dried beans! Remind me of this when it comes time for 2025 planting!

Follow the link to learn more about Farmstead Hudson Valley. Thank you, Alix! 

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