At age four, Emma knew she wanted to be a chef. By 13, she was working at a restaurant in her hometown of Albany, NY. Her love of food led her to the Culinary Institute of America, and by 2008, she had opened Sorella, her own Italian eatery in New York City. After six wildly successful years as co-owner and executive chef, Emma was in need of change. She took respite in the paradise of Oahu where she spent time writing the Sorella cookbook. It was there that she discovered a passion for wellness and the idea of food as medicine. It is this concept, along with her inherent love of food, that inspired her to embark on a new life venture: farming. She has found life as a grower to be incredibly grounding and has experienced a whole new appreciation for food, along with the joy and gratitude that comes from working with the land.

“Farming is one of the most rewarding and also one of the most difficult jobs I have ever experienced. It has continually pushed me and John beyond our limits, both emotionally and physically. But our love for each other, food, and the land is what sustains us. Our farming life and personal life have become richer and more meaningful each day.”

Raised on a large farm in rural Ohio, John has always loved being outside and working with his hands. The notion that food has the power to bring people together struck him at a very young age. Growing up, he found himself more interested in the Food Network than MTV, and as a teenager he got a job working in the kitchen of a local country club. It was there that he was encouraged to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, John found himself working at restaurants back home in Ohio, in New York City, Nantucket, and Hawaii. After several years working in New York City, he realized that the city life wasn’t for him. Memories of growing up on a farm were rekindled as he sought a deeper connection to the land. He felt the desire to grow some of the beautiful produce he’d been working with for so many years. As a grower, he’s happiest when he can work outdoors and experience the distinct magic that each season brings.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to grow these magnificent and time-tested seeds in a chemical-free environment. Here on the farm, we understand that it all starts with good soil. We hope that the mindfulness of our practices shines through in the taste of our produce and adds value to people’s perception of vegetables.”

Lola has never seen a veggie she didn't like—except basil. Originally from Manhattan, this nine-year-old pup is the official Forts Ferry Farm taste-tester. She loves snuggles, hunting squirrels, and eating. If she had opposable thumbs she'd absolutely be a chef.