A lot has changed in the quarter-century since Shelley started Whistling Train Farm. She had always wished she’d grown up on a farm. When she was ten years old she started begging her parents to let her keep farm animals. Discouraged from pursuing a farm career by school counselors, and after deciding against veterinary school, she worked towards a degree in graphic arts. Her passion for farming rose to the surface again in 1996 after touring a CSA farm, and she was hooked.
She started farming next door to the current home of the farm, and farmed together with Mike Verdi for 20 years. WTF grew to 25 acres, with a 5-person crew, providing produce for 9 months of the year to a 200-member CSA, restaurant sales, and three farmers markets. Now Shelley has downsized to a modest 4-5 acres with the help of two part-time employees.
Their two children, Della and Cosmo were active farmhands when young, but now they are 16 and 18, heading to college, busy with their own lives and dreams.