Owners of Clearfield Farm Are ‘Grateful To Be Here’


People / Sep. 28, 2017 9:13am EDT

By Martha Slater

Melissa Kosmaczewski and John Hirsch ride the 1969 International Cub Tractor they’ve been using on their farm in Granville. (Herald / Jerry LeBlond) Melissa Kosmaczewski and John Hirsch ride the 1969 International Cub Tractor they’ve been using on their farm in Granville. (Herald / Jerry LeBlond) The husband and wife team of John Hirsch and Melissa Kosmaczewski, who moved to the former Gene Bagley farm on Gene’s Road along Route 100 in Granville last December, are just finishing up their first summer there.

Now called Clearfield Farm, there are neat rows of vegetables and flowers growing where hay grew and cows grazed in years past.

“The only animals we have here are four cats and a dog,” John said with a grin.

They are purchasing the property through the Vermont Land Trust, but both still have full-time jobs off the farm—John at a factory in Middlesex, and Melissa as a bartender at the Pitcher Inn in Warren. She also does freelance commercial film and photography work.

Prior to their move to Vermont, the couple farmed for two years in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania on the farm owned by John’s parents.

“But, their taxes got too high and they needed to sell, so we left,” John explained. They came to Vermont in October 2015, living for a year in Montpelier, while they looked for farmland.

“We wanted to grow vegetables and flowers, but we couldn’t find anything in our budget,” Melissa said. “Then we found this place.”

They currently have 10 acres of land planted—five acres of vegetables and flowers on the side of the road next to their house, and five acres of pumpkins across Route 100. Those pumpkins will be for sale in early October, and they’re hoping people will stop by when they see the sign.

Future plans included erecting a hoop style greenhouse just south of the huge old dairy barn.

“John grew up on a farm and although I didn’t, my family always had animals and a garden,” said Melissa, who grew up in western Pennsylvania.

She met John when they were both students at Northampton County Community College, majoring in television production. They later moved to Philadelphia, where Melissa studied at Drexel University and John had a job doing oil tank removal and emergency oil spill cleanup. After two years of being on-call 24 hours a day, John started working on a farm in Bucks County to get some experience, since he’d decided he wanted to go into farming.

It was after Melissa graduated from Drexel that they moved to John’s parents’ farm in Nazareth, Penna., before coming to Vermont.

First Growing Season

“This summer was our first growing season here and it was rough converting old hayfields into fields to grow vegetables,” John said. “We had a cold, wet spring and then on July 1, about 85% of our fields were flooded in a big rainstorm, so we had to replant.”

“Ever since then, it’s been great,” Melissa noted. “We’ve been producing mesclun salad mix, and root vegetables, including carrots, turnips, and beets, and we also have those five acres of pumpkins, plus lots of sunflowers and other flowers for florists.

“We do three farmers markets each week—in Rochester, Randolph, and Waterbury—and we have a farmstand that runs on the honor system,” she added.

This winter, they hope to have a good supply of root vegetables in storage to sell to restaurants and anyone one else who’d like to buy them. Next summer, they plan to expand their growing space and the variety of vegetables they grow, adding more vegetables in the field across the road, and are currently working on getting their organic certification.

“We’re really happy and so grateful to be here,” Melissa said. “The land is very fertile and the people we’ve met have been so welcoming!”

“We’re lucky to have a great relationship with North Hollow Farm,” John added. “They’ve been very helpful and are haying the land that we own across the bridge.”

To contact Clearfield Farm, email clearfieldfarmvermont@gmail.com or call (484) 547-9892. They’re also on Facebook.

Return to top