If you go to Abingdon Square Green Market on Saturdays, you’ve probably visited the Muddy Farm booth on the east side of the square. The produce at Muddy Farm is stunning, plainly organic, and consciously locavore. You may already know that you usually have to arriveearly before the eggs sell out—and no wonder—they’re the most fabulous eggs I ever tasted—all different sizes and colors, depending on who’s laid them.
Presiding over this agricultural splendor is a personable young man, David Seigel, the owner and proprietor of Muddy Farm. Something about his shy but twinkly demeanor intrigued me, solast summer, I campaigned to be included on his weekly mailing list. Finally, David complied, and lo and behold, I discovered a full-blown irreverent, absurdist writer in our midst. Here are just a few lead-ins from his weekly Friday emails that eventually also include a list of the weekly produce:[October 5, 2012]
“I have good news and bad news. First the bad news: I’m probably not going to write anything funny in this email because I haven’t binged on sugar recently, and I spent the last 6 days at a 12 hour/day workshop called, “Improving Your Social Intelligence.” In that workshop, I learned that I should avoid the act of writing words in any medium that cannot be secured with lock and key and shoved under the bed.
“NONE OF THE ABOVE IS TRUE, including the part about sugar…”[August 16, 2013]
“People have been inquiring as to the recent lack of humor in my emails. There’s a story. It involves the People’s Republic of Muddy Farm losing an epic moral struggle with a McDonald’s in New Jersey and the downfall of organic agriculture….”
These entries go on, riffs of free association and good-natured satire that could have easily qualified to be aVillage Voicebyline column in the old days. David loves to gently poke funat himself and us, his loyal customers.
I felt like I’d stumbled on an emblematic star of the back-to-the-land movement. I was totally intrigued. Dare I say it? This farmer is sophisticated—no other word for it—and could easily be mistaken for an urbane, Williamsburg kind of a guy. What makes someone with a similar background to mine, yours and mine, walk away from all that—the cubicles, the high rents, noise and dirty dirt (as opposed to mud)—but also from our provincial conviction that all of it matters? How did he get the courage to jump out of his matrix and become a farmer?
While the central mystery has yet to be solved, I have managed to learn that David grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (no surprise—his humor is very Second City). While still in college, he followed a girlfriend to upstate New York in 1993.
“Basically, I needed a summer job and thought organic farming would be cool…. The patience and benevolence of the owner/farmer [that summer] is definitely a big part of why I’m still farming. I didn’t know what I was doing and often took naps just outside one of his fields, only to realize, after I awoke, that I’d been napping in poison ivy…”
Today, it’s obvious that David knows what he’s doing, as evidenced by his marvelous seasonal produce—available at Abingdon Square Green Market year-round! He and his farming partner, Jessica, grow on about eight acres. About half of the land is in Accord and the other half is in Kerhonkson, located between the Catskill and Shawangunk Mountains. They have 300 happy, happy free-range chickens, who supply those great eggs I mentioned earlier. Muddy Farm—locavore shopping at its best—and right on our doorstep. (And don’t forget to ask to be put on the mailing list.)