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In May 2020, we fell head over heels for this former tree farm in Prattsville. As we reached the dead-end of a mountain road on a rainy spring morning, all the spaces we’d envisaged for Hengarth on paper, and more, came to life. 

This is us! 

We took the cover photo the day our offer was accepted on the farm. While Ted is a lifelong New Yorker, originally from Upstate, I first set eyes on the Catskills six years ago. I moved to NYC from Wales in 2017 for work, which is how we first met. From different backgrounds, Ted and I both found ourselves in the NY start-up tech world (me an arts graduate turned marketer and consultant, Ted a history graduate turned finance analyst and then software operator).

Our Catskills obsession really began in summer 2018. We visited every village, mountain and trail we could. Hengarth was already more than a glint in my eye by then, and as I increasingly split my time between the NYC start-up community and the Catskills, I only became more certain.

Then, of course, March 2020 came to be. We, like others fortunate enough to do so, spent our time Upstate. By April I had started looking for land, on which to build the business and sheep farm that we'd been imagining for years. Today, we live on our small-scale Catskills sheep farm we built from scratch. Ted still works full-time in tech, mostly remotely, while I run the farm. As custodians of 101 acres of forest, plus a sheep flock, llama, and a toddler, we certainly have our hands full — but wouldn't have it any other way!

Our Hengarth Journey


2017: The Idea

I’d had a dream of a sheep and fiber farm for a while; wanting a way to reconnect with the land, its natural resources and seasons, and to find a space to create experiences and events I could share with others. One rainy evening, in my one-bedroom East Village walk up, I daydreamed this into a full business plan.

When I eventually pitched it to Ted he thought I was crazy, of course. But he was equally as excited. We talked to friends about wool and sheep and cardigan brands to more than a few raised eyebrows. But it was still a pipe-dream; it didn’t have a place. Until I discovered the Catskills.

2018: The Place

2020: The Leap

After years of planning the business in my mind, it was now or never. We had the offer accepted on the Prattsville farm in late Fall of 2020. By Spring 2021, I handed in my notice and headed back to the green green grass of home to apply for a new visa dedicated to the new venture. A US visa is not an easy or quick process in the best of times, but still firmly in the midst of a global pandemic, I found myself in Wales for just over 9 months.


I spent precious time with family and old friends, enrolled in Cornell’s small farms program to soak up everything I could about keeping sheep and I even got hands-on shearing at a local farm. I also worked with two of my oldest childhood friends as they launched their amazing pick-your-own fruit farm experience and café. Meanwhile, Ted never ceased to amaze me with his ability to hold down a full-time tech job and help project manage site-work in his spare time as we built out the farm operation. I arrived back in NY at Christmastime, to a working small scale sheep farm and a ton of excitement.

2018 Place

In Wales, we have a word for a longing or essence of home - “Hiraeth”. It’s hard to describe in English as the Welsh doesn’t directly translate [and I am no fluent Welsh speaker]. One attempt to describe it in English is "a nostalgia to be where your spirit lives". Sometimes it’s used for the beauty of the Welsh landscape, and it’s the feeling I had the first time I visited the Catskills.


In the Catskills, just as in Wales, the mountains hover around 3,000 ft. Lush valleys are cut with fresh running rivers and scattered with woodland streams. Add to this the good dose of rain and unrelenting greenness in the spring and summer, and the Catskills conjured the feeling of Hiraeth to a Welsh person far from home. There was just one thing missing though: the farm.

And so here we are. We currently live in a small apartment in the corner of our historic barn, overlooking the sheep's meadow with our son, Sam. I'm now full speed ahead on getting the consultancy business up and running, and preparing the farm for next season. We can't wait to share this amazing place with guests!


More to follow.

— Jen, Founder @Hengarth

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