free ranging chickens

Sage Hen Farm

free ranging chickens

Lodi, NY

Hewes Crab blossom





chickens on paradeSage Hen Farm in Lodi, NY, is in heart of the Finger Lakes, between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. We moved to Lodi in 2001, but the land has been farmed since the early 19th century. We take our role as caretakers seriously, using ecologically responsible, low-impact practices to grow veggies, fruits, culinary herbs, and flowers from A to Z, with 80 strains of garlic being our small claim to fame. We raise free-range chickens and ducks for eggs and tend a diverse orchard. Our focus is on heirloom and uncommon varieties that you won’t find in the grocery store and many area farms. We love to help educate people about the wealth of cultivated and wild edible plants we tend, and their long shared history with people and the environment.

When we started to farm our land more seriously in 2007, we had a long daily commute to full-time jobs so we began modestly. We’ve been “retired” from our careers (librarian and conservationist/science editor) for a few years, but the farm is still small-scale: just two old geezers. Our aim is diversity, not bulk production; because our sales are modest, we have not pursued organic certification. However, we use no herbicides, synthetic pesticides, or GMOs; do minimal tilling, use mulch and living groundcovers; and buy organic seeds and plants whenever possible. To conserve healthy soil and water and provide habitat for wildlife, including birds, amphibians, and insects that are in decline, we leave much of the farm uncultivated. To us, these measures are simply the right thing to do. We’re members of Seed Savers Exchange and NOFA-NY (Northeast Organic Farmers Association).

bountyFrom May through October, you can find us on Wednesdays, 4-7 pm, at the sweet and lively Trumansburg Farmers Market. We are the most senior of the vendors except for sweet-as-honey Duane Waid, who is in his 90s, and Margaret is the senior member of the Market Board. We support access to healthy food for all, welcoming FMNP and SNAP customers at the Market and donating to food pantries. We make some deliveries in the Trumansburg and Ithaca areas on request, or can arrange for pickup at the farm. We’re not set up currently for online sales and shipping.

We are Margaret Shepard and John Henderson. Our farm is at 2343 Parmenter Road, Lodi, NY 14860 (three miles south of Lodi and nine miles northwest of Trumansburg). You can contact Margaret at [margaretbshepard @] and John at [jhenderson @]. You can find pictures, news, and other information about the farm on Facebook. FaceBook


eggs on displayWe raise free-ranging chickens for eggs in a rainbow assortment of colors and sizes. Each dozen we sell will include a mix of green/blue, white or cream, and light to dark brown eggs. The size and diversity of the flock varies, but has ranged from 60 to more than 100 birds. We've had as many as 20 different breeds at the same time. We also have a much smaller flock of ducks and a few turkeys.

applesIn our orchard are more than 200 fruit trees and almost that many varieties of apple, apricot, peach, pear, cherry, and plums. We have more apple trees than all the other fruit trees combined. We have concentrated on varieties that are cold hardy, have been venerated in past generations, and have regional significance. One of our favorite times of the year is October, when we can host cider-pressing parties.

garlicsMargaret’s specialty is garlic. We offer more than 80 strains, both hardnecks (porcelains, purple stripes, rocamboles, turbans, Asiatics, and creoles) and softnecks (artichokes and silverskins). At our farmers’ market, people often exclaim “I didn't know there so many kinds of garlic!” and then ask “What’s your favorite?

The variety of vegetables that we grow will change from one season to another, but salad greens, a wild variety of cherry tomatoes, culinary herbs, corn, and potatoes have been pretty constant. 

MargaretWe are on a hiaitus from keeping honeybees. We have found that our fruit trees and other crops have plenty of pollinators without them. We kept bees for more than a decade and found their activity fascinating. Tasting our own honey was quite rewarding, but the challenges and frustrations of trying to keep colonies alive became too heartbreaking.


This page written by Margaret Shepard and John R. Henderson and maintained by John R. Henderson.
Last modified: March 18, 2024