Featured, Local News

New family at the helm of Wood’s Market

By Katy Savage

Wood’s Market Garden in Brandon has new owners after more than 20 years. 

Dan and Elyse Wulfkuhle bought the 165-acre organic farm stand in December and have been making it their own ever since. Woods opened for the season May 6. 

“It’s a lot,” said Dan, who recently moved to the area with his wife and children, ages 2 and 3. “It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time and here we are.” 

This is their first time owning their own farm, though Dan has decades of experience. 

Dan, 35, started farming when he was 17. He worked on Small Axe Farm in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom for Heidi Choate, who then taught at his high school in Littleton, New Hampshire. He still considers Choate a mentor. “They weren’t hardly commercial at that point, now they’re killing it,” Dan said. “They planted the seed and it grew from there.”

Dan went on to study plant and soil science at the University of Massachusetts, where he met Elyse.  

The Wulfkuhles, who are both originally from Massachusetts, moved to Washington state shortly thereafter, where Dan spent 10 years working on a commercial farm in the Olympic Peninsula area and Elyse worked in natural resources conservation.

“In some ways moving here felt like coming back home but also felt like leaving home,” Dan said. “We had a strong community.”

Dan and Elyse were looking to own their own farm and got connected to Woods Market through a friend. 

The popular market on Wood Lane in Brandon is part of a farm that produces certified organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers with a large CSA and wholesale market. The farm dates back to the early 1900s when the Wood family first

started farming there. Bob and Sally Wood opened the farmstand in the 1970s. It had been in the Wood family for over a century until Bob and Sally sold it to Jon Satz in 2000.  

Satz, his wife Courtney, and their two sons, owned and operated the farm and market until 2021, when Satz died suddenly of cancer, just a year after he was diagnosed. 

“Jon’s courage never wavered, even with a terminal diagnosis, and he continued to work through the end of our 2021 farm stand season, making a CSA delivery on the last morning of his life,” his wife Courtney wrote on the website. 

Courtney Satz started looking for new owners in 2022 and got connected to the Wulfkuhles through a friend of her husband’s. 

“We started the process of transitioning the farm last April during our first meeting,” Courtney said. “They are kind, humble and energetic. As difficult as the process of selling has been for me emotionally, it feels great to have the Wulfkuhle family as a part of our circle now. They will do a great job, and make the business their own. I’m looking forward to shopping at the farm stand. I’m rooting for them 1000%”

Courtney said the farm was part of her everyday life. “My children and I miss everything,” she said. “The farm was more than just the market. It was our home, our everyday breath, sweat, tears and our dreams. No one goes into farming thinking it will be easy. Anyone who farms or runs a small business that is weather dependent in a state where you get just a few months of summer knows what challenges there might be. The good thing is, it’s also an extremely rewarding lifestyle, if you can find the time to sit and soak it in. 

After a winter of planning, Dan and Elyse were busy the days leading up to the opening. 

“The farm stand business is quite new to us,” Dan said. “There’s still things that need to happen in the next 36 hours. All the products look fantastic.It’s just a lot of behind the scenes stuff to get ready.”

Dan said Jon Satz’s commitment and the Wood family legacy of the farm will live on.

“It means everything,” Dan said. “It will take us time to learn how to fill those shoes. It’s definitely nice to follow in somebody’s good graces.”

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