For years, David Rosso commuted daily from his home in Connecticut to New York City to work in a bustling high-rise building. Today, his commute looks a lot different – he walks to his barn to milk two Jersey cows, does chores, and heads back to work at his home office.
“My daughter comes out almost every morning to milk with me, and it’s really neat. It’s this thing that started as a small hobby and continues to grow, and our love for agriculture and the land continues to grow with it,” Rosso said.
Rosso still works full-time in corporate finance, now from East Dover, Vermont, in a hybrid model from his home office and a local office. The flexibility allowed him to add “accidental farmer” to his list of roles.
“Bringing this farm back to life is good for my soul,” Rosso shared.
In 2018, Rosso and his wife, Lindsey Brown-Rosso, both originally from Vermont, moved back to the Green Mountain State from Connecticut to restore Brown-Rosso’s great-grandparent’s family farmhouse and the 170-acre farm. Brown-Rosso, a teacher, found a job as a preschool educator in Dover.
“Everyone always says you are nuts; how do you do it? I think of it like this: Some people like to get up and work out in the morning, some people like to play golf in the morning, and I like to go milk cows,” Rosso described. “There are hard days, and there are less hard days, and we’ve really fallen in love with it. Seeing our kids grow up here is amazing, especially knowing they are the ninth generation.”
Fairview Farm was established in the late 1700s and lay abandoned for over 30 years before the Rosso family returned to breathe new life into it. They gutted and restored the house on weekends, driving up from Connecticut, until they were able to move in. Their three-year-old daughter Emerson and one-year-old son Benjamin were born after the farmhouse was restored and know no other life than one filled with animals and pastures.
“When we moved in, it didn’t seem right not to have critters, so we started with chickens, and we found beehive equipment in the attic from my wife’s grandfather, so we got bees,” Rosso said.
Today, the farm produces certified tier-one raw milk, chicken, beef, eggs, and honey.
“It’s kind of shifted from this hobby to actually being a farm. By slowly adding things, our passion for it continued to grow,” Rosso said, “and then I got really into learning about soil health, and we’re doing rotational grazing now…and focusing on bringing our pastures back to life.”
Their beef cattle come from Lindsey Brown-Rosso’s grandfather, Sonny Brown, who, at 91 years old, still operates a beef farm, logging operation, and a maple sugarhouse in East Dover.
Sonny’s late wife, Elizabeth “Rozey” Brown, grew up on Fairview Farm. Her parents were the last to farm the land. Before Rozey died in 2015, the Rossos purchased the farmhouse and the land from her brother. Since then, Sonny has been their unofficial farming mentor.
“Sonny is what got me into cows; he’s still out there on his tractor every day, he cuts trees every day…he’s hope for the future,” Rosso said.
Sonny and his great-granddaughter taping maple trees.
At Sonny’s urging, Rosso joined Vermont Farm Bureau in 2021. Rosso says Farm Bureau has been a critical resource in keeping his operation afloat and he was elected president of the Windham County chapter in 2023.
“Having connections to other local farms has been key to our success, and getting over hurdles and continuing to do this passion we have. With Farm Bureau, their passion for connecting and bringing people together drew me in,” Rosso said. “My focus for this year is making sure people know that Farm Bureau isn’t just an organization looking for a membership fee; it’s a family of people that can come together to bring their concerns, bring what’s working for them, and connect with other people in agriculture.”
Rosso says this is especially important as farming becomes increasingly challenging.
“You hear more about farms closing, people not being able to do it, people needing multiple jobs to get by,” Rosso said. “I knew I wanted to get involved and be able to connect and network with other people passionate about agriculture and come up with ways we can all support one another, especially in Windham County.”
Like most farmers, Rosso says he’s not farming to get rich. He’s happy if he covers his costs and says that it’s been rewarding to see the support from the local community as demand increases for the farm’s products.
“Anyone who has a large farm, a small farm, a hobby farm, or any kind of farm…you question it sometimes, but we couldn’t imagine doing anything different,” Rosso said. “My wife and I always say to people, we’ve been back for six years, and this is home, and this will be the place I die.”
Follow along with the journey of Fairview Farm on Instagram.