A fresh start on the farm

A fresh start on the farm
A fresh start on the farm   

Jon and Robin McConaughy didn't exactly set out to be farmers. Jon worked in finance and Robin was a head-hunter. They married in 1998, had 2 sons, and after living in Philadelphia and New York, decided in 2002 to move back to the Princeton, NJ area where they'd both grown up. "We were just looking for more space," said Jon.

Around the same time, the couple read an excerpt from Michael Pollan's book, "The Omnivore's Dilemna," which chronicled the treatment of cattle in the American food system, including the rampant use of hormones and antibiotics. They made an immediate lifestyle change, purchasing only organic and free-range products for their family. They also planned to grow some of their own food when they moved into their new home. "We wanted to know - and to show our kids - where our food comes from," explained Robin.

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Trading the daily grind for the greenhouse: Robin and Jon McConaughy tend to plants at their Hopewell, NJ farm.
Source: Jerry Frasier
Trading the daily grind for the greenhouse: Robin and Jon McConaughy tend to plants at their Hopewell, NJ farm.

In 2004, they incorporated Double Brook Farm with just a few animals. Among friends and neighbors, there was enormous demand for the meat from their first cow. So they bought a herd of cattle, and started selling 'shares' of their local, grass-fed beef. They subsequently added sheep, pigs, chickens and turkeys to the farm.

In 2013 they opened Brick Farm Market, where they sell their own produce and meat, as well as other locally-produced goods. By then, both had left their jobs to work on the farm full-time.

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Later this summer, they will open Brick Farm Tavern, a farm-to-table restaurant located adjacent to the farm. For visitors to their farm, market or restaurant, the objective is the same, says Jon: "Rather than have somebody tell you how it was raised or where it was raised, you could see how it was raised."