In Depth: Earthborn Garden

We chatted with Anne Banks, the farmer and owner of Earthborn Garden in Hillsdale. So fascinating!

Asked why she does farming, Anne quickly answered “It keeps me in good shape!” But she went on to explain “I love the plants and my work. I love my property, wildflowers, and I love making food.”

Anne was well known locally for working with horses as part of her farm. Here is the story: “When I first started out, I had donkeys. But they were unwilling to work. In 1988 I bought a horse, Eglantine, and I taught her how to use farm tools.”. She notes that if you take good care of the horse, give it the right food, limit the working hours, it’s a good life for a horse that provides valuable exercise. Plus, “having a horse produces manure which adds to the cycle of fertility!”. Eglantine retired at 33, and her daughter Rosalie retired at 28.

Anne Banks uses organic farming practices, which she says helps preserve the ecosystem. She and her ex-husband Ted Dobson were very early adopters of organic farming as well as the farm-to-table model. She tells us that it was quite popular in California, where they lived, but not yet in the Northeast as of 1983. They began selling to local restaurants such as Old Mill, Aubergine, Alium, and Wheatleigh.  Clearly, the approach was well received.

Asked about her favorite produce to grow, she listed head lettuce, multi colored carrots, as well as her heirloom tomatoes that are from seeds that she remarkably obtained in 1982.  Anne enjoys working with her son, Ben, enjoying her horse, cat & dog, and playing guitar & mandolin.