On 73.5 acres in Franklin, New York, Delaware County, the Brandt family, Doug and Laurie with their 5 young adult children and spouses joined together to purchase a home, 2 barns on open rolling hills and fields, what was once a cattle farm. Part vacation and relaxation, Finch Fields, LLC is now home to a small vineyard of hybrid grape vines and a nice variety of 40 plus apple trees in their small orchard and throughout the property. Growing fruits and variety of vegetables on the land that is fertile ground for hundreds of hardwood trees, other fruit trees and deep untouched woods and hiking paths.  Each member of the family is fully committed to this endeavor.  Doug has shared some insights:

During our first Spring in 2022 we planted approximately 160 hybrid grape vines, tilling and preparing a lower portion of the property to enjoy, without chemicals and purely organic processes. Max, our eldest son, a full time English teacher in Newark NJ, manages that project. The rest of us make weekend trips to help with pruning, taking down dead trees, build fencing, digging trenches for better water flow, upgrading paths for hiking, trimming fields, repairing existing rock walls, building new ones surrounding gardens and tending to the property in general. Each family member gravitates to things they enjoy doing or they just sit and enjoy a cold one. 

We refer to our land and property as Finch Fields, and we acknowledge we are NOT “farmers,” in that sense of farming for a living, and feel we honor the farmers of the past by carefully and thoughtfully tending the beautiful land throughout such a magical place. There is 5 small ponds and some small creeks on the property carrying water down the mountain as the property is approximately 1,500 ft. above sea-level. All of our kids, Hannah and her husband Josh, along with Georgie and Ruthie, Max and his partner Marissa and little Laurence, Walt and his partner Brittany, Eva and Jack, are all the family members who make Finch Fields what it is. Extended family and friends, plus great local farmer neighbors have come up on the mountain on weekends when they can to lend a hand (and advice) as we share meals, and beverages around the fire pit.

We hope soon to be bottling the Finch Field Vineyard wines, pressing and bottling the Finch Field Orchard apples, as we did last Fall, and continuing to enjoy the bounty nature provides. We never fail to be humbled by and respect farming and farmers in general. The work never really stops; however, we all have regular jobs in the greater metropolitan area outside of Finch Fields, and that allows us to enjoy this place that much more. First and foremost, it’s a place to enjoy the gifts of the natural environment and Mother Nature. 

Finch Fields LLC is truly a loving community in the best sense of that word. Laurie and I continue our regular jobs. Laurie for NBC/Entertainment and I as a Career Developer for Youth Justice Network in NYC, serving at-risk youth re-entering society and criminal justice reform. We still reside in New Jersey in the home where we raised our 5 children. One day we hope to have at-risk youth up to stay, enjoy and experience upstate life at Finch Fields.