Agriculture - A Move Back to Commercial Farming



A Move Back to Commercial Farming

In the 1920s, a middle-aged New York City couple became the proud new owners of Montgomery Place. John Ross Delafield and Violetta White Delafield loved the outdoors and knew how to make use of the estate for healthy recreation, gardening pursuits, and nature study.

But like the Livingstons and Bartons in the 19th century, the Delafields were no farmers, and they used the property as a country house secondary to their home in Manhattan.  At first they looked to farm managers and gardeners to simply keep the orchards and vegetable gardens running. They enjoyed having access to fresh foods produced from the good Dutchess County soil. But gradually, John Ross Delafield took a lively interest in the commercial potential of the property, and over the next few decades he experimented with some of the trends in Hudson Valley agriculture.

Orchard workers at Montgomery Place. Gelatin silver print, c. 1945. Bard College, Montgomery Place Collection.

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