Even back in the 1940s, people left the city for the fresh country air and a different pace of life. So it was with Joachim Beneke, a German immigrant who had grown up on a farm in the old country before he ended up owning a delicatessen in Brooklyn. Today, Joachim’s grandson, Ken, follows in the family tradition running the dairy farm the Benekes have owned since 1943 in the Hudson Valley.
A few years back, the Benekes went back into the grocery business when they opened The Farm Store at Willow Brook to help diversify their income. The charming store with its standing seam roof was designed and built by Ken and a longtime friend. In addition to Cabot cheese, of course, they stock a diverse assortment of locally grown and crafted foods and other products from their own sweet corn to Christmas trees. At the peak of the season, the tables are piled high with baskets of sun-ripened tomatoes and the freezer filled with cuts of farm pork and beef.
Although their focus is still dairy farming, the Benekes also sell some breeding stock and, with the addition of an industrial sized hay baler, Ken has added a business making car-sized bales of hay for other farmers in the area.