Chuck grew up far from the land and wandered around in exile until 1995 when, fleeing a desk job in Boston, he apprenticed for a year at Caretaker Farm in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Caretaker was one of the first organic farms and one of the first CSAs in the U.S., and by the time the harvest was over, Chuck was smitten. In 1999, Chuck and his wife Sue purchased Sunrise Farm, and in 2000, he started Sunrise Farm CSA with his brother Bruce (who has since gone on to start Picadilly Farm in Winchester, New Hampshire, with his wife Jenny.)
In 2012, Chuck dropped the last of his other day jobs and took up farming at Sunrise full-time. Since then, the CSA has expanded to 200 members and the farm produces chicken, lamb, maple syrup, honey, and firewood and lumber. In 2015, Chuck and Sue purchased an additional property near Sunrise to continue growing the farm and brought in Jennica Stetler and Sayer Palmer as partners.
Though Sunrise continues to grow and thrive, Chuck has maintained a variety of other interests, including as a freelancer for Northern Woodlands magazine in Corinth, Vermont; as a freelancer for the Valley News in Lebanon, New Hampshire; as the editor of The Outside Story: local writers explore the nature of New Hampshire and Vermont (Northern Woodlands, 2007); and the author of Living With Sheep (Lyons Press, 2005) and Living with Pigs (Lyons Press, 2008.) On the side, Chuck is an advisor to Valley Food & Farm.
Jennica spent her summers in college working close to home on Goose Creek Farm in St George, Vermont. There she learned to indulge in warm melons in the field and endless tomato sandwiches. She went on to run her own small CSA in West Bolton, manage two vegetable farms in Chittenden county, and get her hands dirty on many other farms while learning the trade. Jennica is consistently honored by the lessons on farming and life that she has received from the revolving crew of people she has worked next to over the years. Following a sojourn to Oregon, she looked up from seeding a flat of broccoli to find herself in the beautiful Upper Valley of Vermont where she plans to stay. At Sunrise, Jennica is the head vegetable farmer, responsible for both the summer CSA operation and the winter greens production.
Alex grew up in the Upper Valley, where he developed a strong appreciation for the outdoors. After moving out to California and graduating from UC Santa Cruz, he worked as a vendor for a local Santa Cruz bakery at various Bay Area farmers' markets, eventually moving onto a Market Manager position for the Pacific Farmers' Market Association. The years spent chatting with farmers planted a seed of interest, which finally grew into fruition a few years later upon his return to New Hampshire, where he began working as a farm hand, first at Tracie's Community Farm in Fitzwilliam, NH, then at Picadilly Farm in winchester NH. Eventually he decided to move back to the Upper Valley and has been working at Sunrise Farm for the past year.
Sayer was raised on a small homestead in St. Albans, Vermont, with Hereford cows, big brown goats, vegetable gardens, and a beekeeper for a father. This may sound idyllic but for her it was everyday life and largely ignored in favor of studying violin and viola. Sayer left Vermont for school, travel, and adventure, and eventually found herself working in the music library at Juilliard. In response to a stationary desk job, she dabbled in urban agriculture. Carrots sprouted under grow lights on her dresser. Subway commutes were spent knitting and reading about sheep. Raw milk was purchased on the black market to be turned into cheese in her kitchen. Finally, after 10 years away, Sayer decided to move back to Vermont. She spent a season at Jericho Settlers’ Farm and then managed a 250-ewe sheep farm in Corinth, VT. Now settled at Sunrise, Sayer oversees the livestock.
Chris grew up on Long Island, but went to college in western Massachusetts where he started working summers at Square Roots Farm in Lanesborough, MA, to raise vegetables, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. After graduating he worked on various other mixed vegetable/livestock farms and eventually moved to Vermont to manage a flock of sheep at Tamarack Vermont Sheep Farm. Now at Sunrise, Chris is happy to be growing vegetables again.