By David Durrett – a current intern at GreenStar Food Co+op, David Durrett is a lifelong resident of Ithaca as well as a graduate of Ithaca College. He is a freelance reporter whose work has also appeared in Tompkins Weekly and The Ithaca Voice, among other publications. 

Rolling Acres Farm, an organic farm under the management of John Stoltzfus, doesn’t just seek to preserve the land, but also to regenerate it and restore it to its previous state.

John grew up on a dairy farm, during which time he was responsible for raising and tending to organically fed dairy cows on rented property. In 2017, he sold his cows and bought a homestead in Interlaken, which became known as Rolling Acres Farm, and began planting crops there the following spring.

Rolling Acres Farm, located in Interlaken, NY sells apples, peaches, cherries, blueberries and pears. as well tomatoes, cantaloupe, winter squash, butternut squash, several varieties of potatoes, peppers, and other vegetables.

Rolling Acres Farm practices regenerative agriculture, hoping to not only preserve the environment, but also restore soil nutrients.

“It’s looking at it more as a whole instead of looking at it as a part,” John said. “You can farm organic vegetables for several decades just by buying your input and using the conventional model. If you’re doing that, you’re not really regaining soil health and regenerating the soil and ecosystem as when you bring in livestock.”

While John believes sustainable agriculture is good, sometimes, it is not enough, since over the past few decades, the quality of farmland and the quality of the food grown from it have both declined.

“Sustainable is OK, but my question is, ‘what are we trying to sustain?’” John said.

John has known about GreenStar Food for a long time, and appreciates being able to sell to the Co-op.

Editor’s Note: Rolling Acres Farm is part of Finger Lakes Farm Fresh, a collaboration of farmers bringing high quality organic vegetables to families all over the Finger Lakes region.

“Every year our growth in sales with GreenStar has gone up, so that’s great,” John said.

John finds marketing the business to be the most challenging part of running Rolling Acres Farms.

“I just probably don’t spend enough time on that part,” John said. “I’d much rather be out in the fields.”

His work in the fields is well worth the effort. John often hears from satisfied customers that his produce is the best-tasting and highest-quality that they’ve ever had. You can find produce from Rolling Acres Farm this summer and fall at GreenStar Food Co+op.