Wild Thymes Farm
Exceptional Specialty Foods
In 1961, returning to New York City from a weekend in Vermont, my husband, Fred, and I found ourselves driving on a beautiful quiet country road in the northwest corner of the Hudson Valley. We drove upon an early 19th century colonial, clapboard farmhouse surrounded by rolling hills, creeks, a pond, big red barns and a spectacular view of the mountains.
We bought the farm (it took some convincing because the farm was not actually for sale at the time) and added 400 acres, horses, cows, sheep and chickens. In 1970, after ten years as weekenders, Fred and I, in search of a lifestyle change, packed up our three children, gave up our careers (Fred was a film producer and I was a fashion designer) and moved from Manhattan to live full time at the farm.
In the 1980’s, with my children in college, I developed a plan for a food business I had dreamed about for many years. A self taught cook, my life on the farm had nurtured my creativity in the kitchen. After a 28-year hiatus I went back to designing. This time I introduced a line of 25 different herb and fruit vinegars, including such exotic flavors as opal basil, hot pepper and blueberry. Using my homegrown herbs, I bottled them by hand in the colonial saltbox that Fred and I restored down the road from the main house. We began selling them at Farmer’s Markets and Craft Fairs. It was a wonderful experience. Fred and I really enjoyed meeting and getting firsthand feedback from our customers. It wasn’t long before my products were “discovered” and I was pursued by some of the nations premier retailers including Whole Foods, Crate & Barrel, Wild Oats, Williams-Sonoma, and Grace’s Marketplace to name a few. My products, marketed under the Wild Thymes label, developed into one of the hottest new businesses of the late 80’s and early 90’s. I believe that my experience in the fashion industry helped me understand the importance of quality, packaging and marketing.
In the mid 1990’s, our success encouraged dozens of competing products. It was time to expand the business. As someone who has always tried to be a pioneer and a trendsetter, I took time off, and traveled extensively throughout the world with my eldest daughter, Ann. We returned to the farm with inspiration and great new ideas and came to the realization that we would be a great team to launch a new food line. We were both creative cooks, I had the manufacturing experience and Ann had the marketing and sales experience necessary to build the business to the next level.
We decided the time was right, so Ann and her husband, Neil, joined the business. Like Fred and I before them, they had enjoyed very successful careers but wanted to make a lifestyle change. Ann had spent more than a decade in New York as a marketing executive in television and sports. Neil had worked for the State Department and in international publishing. We brought all of our talents together and teamed up to establish a truly “family-owned and run” business. I am responsible for new product development, manufacturing, shipping, accounting and managing our staff of local employees and Fred oversees operations. In addition to working on recipe development, Ann directs in-house sales and sales/marketing support programs and the company’s PR effort, and with the business up and running, Neil is pursuing his own business.