ALL ABOUT US
Martin and Christa Stosiek started Markristo Farm in 1988 on the land where Martin was raised. Martin had recently returned to the states after a year in the Philippines with the Peace Corps followed by a trip around the world (the long way home!) and Christa (8 ½ years younger) was again in the country after a tour through South Germany with an international opera company singing in Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte. One of our first dates was digging in the soil planting 3 acres of bare root blueberry bushes! In fact, right before we met, Martin’s plan was to start a pick your own operation and it was only because blueberries take 3-5 years to mature that we started planting vegetables, for want of something to do in the mean time! And only because that first planting grew gloriously into a bumper crop (more than we could eat or give away) did we start pedaling them in town to some of the fine restaurants near by. Imagine our delight when we met with enthusiasm and orders! As the farm grew we quite naturally divided up the tasks at hand according to our strengths; we worked together in the field, but Christa assumed much of the office work, from seed ordering to billing and customer relations, managed the cut flowers and took charge of quality control in the packing shed. Martin ran all the equipment and managed the vegetable production in the field from seeding to harvest and made most of the deliveries.
In 1996 our daughter Sarah was born (on November 16) followed by Rachael 3 years later (also on Nov. 16!). Our youngest, Matthias, was born in 2003 on Dec. 1st (thank goodness!). The joys of family life blossomed as we lived the ideals of never having to leave our children to go off to work, but having those inquisitive little beings grow and explore their worlds beside us in the fields all day. We have many anthroposophical ties and the children are raised in as natural a way as possible; in harmony with the seasons and without any media (no television or radio and no movies).
Horses have found their way into our hearts and onto our farm and much of the children's free time is spent with them. Sarah, in particular shows a deep love and talent for classical dressage and horsemanship in general.
Naturally, Christa had to pull back on the day to day fieldwork, but has remained in charge of the greenhouses and cutting flowers as well as maintaining the seed orders and running the farmers’ market. We have taken on some hired help in addition to the apprentices which come to us each year, to alleviate some of the pressures of a busy season and give us more time to fucus on 'teaching'.
In keeping with our interest in a local food system and a healthy environment we are long time board members of the non profit organization, Berkshire Grown (www.berkshiregrown.org), whose efforts include the direct support of farmers and their markets as well as educating the public generally towards more informed food choices. As a successful small farm operation we have experienced first hand the positive effects of Berkshire Grown’s efforts.
For us, farming is not just a job, it’s a way of life- inextricably entwined in our personal and family values and we are ever grateful to be ‘sowing these seeds’; the rewards are many fold.