New Town Farms
History and Hospitality
ABOUT NEW TOWN FARMS
New Town Farms is a small family farm in Waxhaw, North Carolina established in 1990 by Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg and their 8 children. The farm focuses on the craft of growing vegetables, and has diversified to include pastured poultry, pastured laying hens, and heritage breed, free range hogs. The farm began marketing wholesale to area health food stores in 1990. At that time the awareness and market for organic vegetables was limited. Looking for a way to direct market our food we started New Town Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in 1991.
THE MATTHEWS COMMUNITY FARMERS' MARKET
In 1991 Sammy along with Matthews resident Kevin Carpenter founded ‘The Matthews Community Farmers' Market’ with help from Charlie Thompson from The NC Council of Churches Seeds of Hope Farmers Market Project, and David Blackley of Renfrow Hardware. The Matthews Community Farmers' market was the first "producer only" farmers' market in the Charlotte region. Sammy served as president for the first thirteen years and has served on the board of directors for over 30 years. Through the efforts of amazing market managers, many farmers, chefs, and volunteers, the market has become a valued part of the community, fulfilling its mission to encourage farming in the area, and strengthen the community of Matthews. It was voted #1 market in NC in 2022 2023 by The American Farmland Trust. New Town Farms maintains it's only retail outlet at The Matthews Community Farmers' Market.
We began selling to area restaurants in the mid 90’s, working with Charlotte chefs who had an appreciation for locally grown organic food. These chefs have been integral in educating people about agricultural issues through their craft. Working with these talented and committed chefs has been a source of inspiration and lifelong friendships.
New Town Farms became certified Organic by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association-CFSA in 1992 and remained certified organic for many years thereafter. Sammy became an accredited IOIA inspector (Independent Organic Inspectors Association) for CFSA in 1995 inspecting many farms in North and South Carolina until 2003 when the Organic program became federally regulated. New Town Farms remained certified for several years under the USDA Organic program. We have since dropped our certification due to the high expense in relation to its marketing value in our direct local sales. We still support the USDA Organic program and believe it remains the next best thing to a direct relationship with a local farmer. We continue to grow our food in accordance with the National Organic Standard.
From its inception we always envisioned a hospitality component for the farm. We got our formal start in 2006 when we held our first on-farm dinner featuring 6 local chefs and 6 local farmers as a fundraiser for The Carolina Farm Stewardship. Many more dinners started featuring local chefs and highlighting other local farms. These dinners were a natural outgrowth of working with chefs in our region who saw the culinary value of good local product, and our mission to help educate people on the origins of their food and the importance of local agriculture. Believing that many of our agricultural, environmental, food, and health woes stem from our dislocation from the land and the work of farming, it has been part of our purpose to educate as a part of helping to heal this divide, and to help make small farms in our community viable and valuable components.
Good agriculture has a flavor, and early on at New Town Farms we saw great value in a plate of well farmed, well prepared local food as one of the best educational windows back to matters of land, soil, animal husbandry, and health.
As Wendell Berry famously said, "eating is an agriculture act". When people make enlightened food choices it has agricultural implications that work to better care for the gift of this land that sustains us all. And what more pleasurable way to make these connections than to enjoy a well farmed meal, artfully prepared, and enjoyed with friends on the land from which the food was brought forth.
Over the years we have continued to highlight the taste of good local agriculture combined with the region’s culinary talents to showcase and celebrate the blessings of good food and the importance of local farms. The beauty of good agriculture and inspired culinary arts coming together in a peaceful natural setting is one of the great gifts of this life. It can bring people together, give them joy, restoration, hope, and a taste of the heavenly.