One of the first horse drawn harvesters on our farm
Bench View Farms has 5 generations of roots that go deep into the soil of the Rockland Valley. It's heritage can be traced all the way back to the late 1800's. At the time irrigated land was the only means by which wheat would grow in the area; the process of dry-land farming wheat was unheard of. In 1898 two brothers set off on a new venture to bring dry-land wheat to the Valley. Two acres were carved out for which fall wheat and Senora Spring wheat was planted.
In the fall of 1899 the first dry-land wheat was harvested from Rockland Valley.
Many other firsts came about from the Bench View legacy. In the early 1900's
the first wheat binder made it's way into the Valley (similar to this). It was soon
discovered that this was not the most efficient way to harvest dry-land wheat
so they purchased a header for wheat harvesting. Shortly after a steam powered
tractor and then a gasoline powered combine was implemented, again, first for
It's this hard work and willingness to adapt and integrate new technology that
made it possible for our farm to succeed and advance into the 21st century and
Growth...and the future
The first self-propelled harvester on our farm
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Time passes, new families come and go but the farm still stands doing
what it does best...grow. Fast forward to the later half of the 20th century we've grown to over 3000 acres throughout the Rockland Valley; this was a success. We're still here and moving forward. What more can you ask for?
Y2k passes without a hitch (and it's a good thing we're a farm and not a technology company). Although we passed into the 2000's smoothly we've soon to find out we're not immune to every deceiving snake that lurks in the dark. Tragedy strikes with a low blow, bringing us to our knees. With strategic thievery the farm almost goes under losing everything but a hand full of acres and a few buildings. It's as if it were a live reenactment of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (at least without the bad guy growing a heart 3 sizes to big). They took the land, they took all the machinery and just like how the Grinch "even took the roast beast" they came and took every piece of scrap metal from the land - just to add a little salt in the wound.
We were down for the count. Where do we go from here? Do we give up, sell what's left - count our losses? How can we keep going or make a living selling wheat from such a small amount of land?
Many might have run off with their tail between their legs, but we thought, we've come this far - we can't just quit now.
So, like a phoenix rises from the ashes Bench View Farms is back up and flying and flying higher than ever before. Branching out in many new endeavors such as raising cattle, growing ancient grains, gaining USDA Organic certifications and providing you all with the oh so scrumptious Annabelle's Crunchers! Who knows what we'll do next. I'm sure there's a few more things up our sleeves.
In the end what have we learned? We've been able to succeed because our ancestors have taught us to adapt, think outside of the box and to not be scared of trying new things. Through the years we've experience the good and the bad, the prosperous and destitute but the most important thing to remember is that we are still here...and we're not going anywhere! (seriously, someone has to make the crunchers)
We appreciate your continued support for our farm and families through purchasing our products. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
+Harvester pictures from Rockland Valley History book
Rockland Centennial Committee
One of the original homestead homes on the bench- ~1908
And, yes, we still live in it.