Ten Minutes With Jonathan Kirschner
Jonathan Kirschner’s childhood involved dogs, soccer, and hanging out at Lubin’s, a men’s and boy’s apparel store started in Yonkers by his grandfather, now located in Scarsdale and run by his father. After attending Walkabout, an alternative high school, Kirschner started to think more “about the earth and how we live on it.”
Post college, and following brief stints in the financial and recycling worlds, he became an apprentice farmer and got hooked.
How did you end up at Ambler and get the name “Farmer Jonathan”? After working as an assistant at a Connecticut farm for a couple of years, I leased some land in Cornwall and started my own venture. While it was a phenomenal learning experience and was where I met my wife Lesley and we started our family, it was not financially sustainable. Luckily, the Ambler position opened up and we’ve been here for three years. Kevin Meehan, the Ambler Farm program manager, started calling me “Farmer Jonathan” and the name just stuck.
What’s the best part of your job? Talking with all the people who come to the farm for a walk, or with their dogs, or to shop at the farm stand. I love it when people come often enough that they can see the daily changes in the farm and appreciate how it ebbs and flows over the year.
How much produce does the farm generate and where does it go? Last year we produced over ten thousand pounds from roughly two-thirds of an acre. We grow a wide variety of crops, which are sold at the farm on Saturdays June through October, and on Wednesdays in season at the Wilton farmers market. We also sell to local restaurants, and we donate to a soup kitchen and to the Wilton food pantry. In addition, we produce a lot of transplants from our greenhouse, which are available––starting in mid-April––for people who have their own gardens.
Describe the voucher program. We created the voucher program as a way to provide people in need with greater access to fresh produce. Vouchers are distributed by Wilton Social Services and can be redeemed at the farm stand or the farmers market. The program starts again at the beginning of market season.
What vegetable did you dislike as a child? I don’t remember ever wanting to eat Brussels sprouts or beets when I was a kid but I enjoy them now, especially roasted.
What’s your idea of a perfect vacation? Family, food, and fun. I have a lot of relatives in Florida, and like to visit. We also enjoy camping, and I look forward to taking the kids on a backpacking trip when they’re older.
What should people to know about Ambler Farm? It’s their farm, and it’s there for everyone to enjoy. Of course I’m biased, but I believe the sunsets are phenomenal, the programs are excellent, the events are spectacular, and the food is worth changing your Saturday schedule for. We hope people will come back again and again.
What’s your life philosophy? Work hard, live simply, be kind, and be open to change.