Town of Milton, NY – Saratoga PLAN has permanently protected Middle Line Farm, 25 acres of farmland in the Town of Milton. The conservation of this fertile land means it will be forever available for farming and is protected from conversion to non-farm uses.
The Smassanow family is thrilled that their land will forever play an agricultural role in Saratoga County. “We started looking into preservation of the farm a few years ago. Our son David and daughter Lauri both liked the idea of the farm never becoming a sub-division,” said Eric Smassanow. “Saratoga Plan was a wonderful guide in making the project work, even with COVID!”
In 1981, the Smassanow family purchased farmland on Middle Line Road. As Eric, Noelle, David and Lauri grew different crops and raised certain animals, a business plan was formed. The homestead, coupled with a wide range of help from the community, evolved into Middle Line Farm. The farm now raises chickens, turkeys, beef steers, pigs, layer hens and ducks, and grows vegetables, small fruits and berries and flowers.
“It was through this process that we discovered a market of folks that wanted good quality food,” Smassanow said. To fill that need, the co-op Meat and Potatoes, with the motto “We know where our food comes from,” was introduced to the area.
The co-op requires each member to work on the farm. “For example, a carpenter fixes a barn, a mechanic helps keep the tractor going, and most of the members are part of the chicken and turkey harvest,” Smassanow explained. After a morning of work, the members all sit down to a great meal.
Over the years, close friendships have formed over harvesting potatoes or plucking a chicken. “At this point many of the children, in some cases grandchildren, share in the work,” Smassanow said. Because of the co-op’s popularity and loyal members, there is a waiting list to join.
The Smassanow’s also designed their farmland to make the most of the natural features and productive soils. For instance, trees dot the property and woodlands flank its perimeters to provide shade for the animals, timber for on-farm use, as well as for the natural services that they provide, like soil stabilization and habitat for birds and other critters.
“We are grateful for the work of Saratoga PLAN, Ballston Country Club, our co-op members, and the general community for their support and cooperation that has made this project a reality,” said Smassanow.
This project was funded by a Saratoga County Open Space and Farmland Protection Grant and by a significant contribution from the Smassanow Family.
PLAN has helped conserve over 7,000 acres of land in Saratoga County. PLAN helps landowners conserve farmland, woodlands and natural habitats, and connects people to nature through an extensive trail network, including 12 public nature preserves open for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and nature study. Saratoga PLAN helps communities create plans that balance growth with conservation to sustain the Saratoga Region as a great place to live, work, visit, play and farm. PLAN facilitates community-based conservation by partnering with municipalities to help them accomplish their community’s conservation goals.