Lisbon Centre Farms Lisbon, NY

Lisbon Centre Farms Lisbon, NY

“Free-range Children”

Way up north, as they put it, just five minutes from the Canadian border, the Putneys work together on their dairy farm where Leslie (Skip) and Deb raised their seven kids. Most of their kids—Naomi, Nathaniel, Joel, Jesse, Luke, and Lydia–are now involved in the family business in some way. There are 14 grandchildren, too, who have free reign over the farm and help out as they get older; a sign cautions: “Slow! Free-range children.”


Sticking Close to Home

Although Skip’s dad didn’t farm, he grew up right next to his grandparents’ farm, which he ended up taking over. The farming bug bit him early. “They always had something for me to do. That was my entertainment,” he recalls. “I loved the responsibility and the satisfaction.” His son, Joel, concurs: “The satisfaction of working with animals and being on the land, it’s very rewarding. And being around family—whether you want to be or not,” he concludes with a chuckle. Noting that most of the kids have stuck close to home, Joel jokes: “Some people don’t go very far in life.”

Different Perspective

Joel’s wife, Jordan, brought a different perspective into the family. She grew up in Baltimore, although her grandparents farm next door to the Putneys and she’d visit in the summer and for holidays. Moving full-time to Lisbon was a big change, she admits, although she loves it now. “A farmer’s day is not 9 to 5,” Jordan says, “but I appreciate knowing where our food comes and am so impressed by how hard this family and other farmers work to get good food to the big cities.” She also notes how community-minded everyone is, with family members on the local volunteer firefighting force and on the town board. “In a small town, you want to be able to help out,” she says. “You want to be a part of everything.”

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