manager of livestock + seasonal crops manager | ben mackie
When you visit Blenheim Hill Farm in the Catskill Mountains, make sure to say hello to Livestock and Seasonal Crops Manager Ben Mackie who will take you on a tour of the extraordinary outdoor crops and livestock he tends. If you are lucky, he will also share an anecdote highlighting the time he taught Sir Richard Branson how to drive a tractor.
Ben is a farmer through and through. Earning a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Sterling College in Northeast Vermont in 2009, he never strayed from an agricultural focus, working on and managing farms since graduating. Ben and his wife Angela ran their own farm in Maine for two years, before moving to the Catskills where Ben now works full time on the 150-acre Blenheim Hill Farm. Owned and operated by Smörgås Chef Restaurant Group, the farm grows and produces all of the ingredients for their restaurants including vegetables, fruits, and meats. Among the many animals on the farm, Ben tends Icelandic sheep, Hereford beef cattle, free-range chickens, rabbits, heritage breed pigs, including the rare Mangalitsa breeds, as well growing everything from peppers, radishes, carrots, and squash on the sprawling gardens.
Before Blenheim Hill Farm, Ben established and managed a farm for a table-at-the-farm restaurant in New Jersey called Ninety Acres at Natirar. He brings this knowledge to his new role working with the Manhattan-based restaurants, collaborating closely with the chefs to grow specific produce for the menus, as well as introducing his own unique ingredients.