Looking Back

In 1982, our parents, Christopher and Marilyn Dolby, founded CopenHaven Farms Nursery on the same site we farm today. When they started out, they were just a couple of idealistic kids with a desire to develop a connection to the land, and do something meaningful with their lives, together. This was their dream. They were always very clear that they didn't want any of us four kids to feel pressure to take the reins one day. And while it wasn't necessarily built by us, they didn't shy away from putting us to work. Whether we were of actual use or not, well, the verdict's still out.

 Christopher Dolby (Dad), circa 1983, mounding rootstock beds with sawdust to encourage healthy root growth.

Christopher Dolby (Dad), circa 1983, mounding rootstock beds with sawdust to encourage healthy root growth.

After a youth spent pining for the perceived conveniences, tidiness and riches of suburbia, many of us kids couldn't wait for our first off farm adventure. Eventually, we all did move away and pursue other things.

 From left to right: Donevan, Veronica, Cameron, and Laleña (me) 

From left to right: Donevan, Veronica, Cameron, and Laleña (me) 

And, one by one, we all came back. Which, I think they predicted. Whether for a short-lived retreat to center ourselves in mid-life when the reality of being a grown up was hitting home in an unpleasant way,  or for paid work when things weren't going as planned in our careers, or when we had a child and needed the flexibility and support that a family business can provide. We were all lucky to have a place to land.

 Veronica and Dad root pruning with sheep shearers. Track suits make great toddler work wear!

Veronica and Dad root pruning with sheep shearers. Track suits make great toddler work wear!

Did my sister and I, who were at times each other's child nemesis, ever imagine that we would one day find ourselves all grown up and quite happily working together on the farm on a regular basis? Yet, here we are, working alongside mom and dad to move a 36 year old business into its next phase.

 Laleña mowing the headlands. Note pedal block crafted by Dad to enable me to operate heavy machinery at a young age, like any farm kid worth her salt.

Laleña mowing the headlands. Note pedal block crafted by Dad to enable me to operate heavy machinery at a young age, like any farm kid worth her salt.

So, with Father's Day just around the bend, we are feeling grateful to our dad (to both of our parents actually, who make the best team ever!) for CopenHaven Farms Nursery. We are honored to steward this place, this business, and this way of life for years to come. 

 The whole crew! From left to right: Laleña, Christopher, Donevan, Veronica, Marilyn, and Cameron.

The whole crew! From left to right: Laleña, Christopher, Donevan, Veronica, Marilyn, and Cameron.