Jimi Tutor and Kristen Klenow cut their teeth farming in unused space, the land and markets that weren’t being utilized by other farmers. In the years before they had their own farm, they leased unwanted land from vegetable CSA farmers, using it to grow flowers and raise meat birds. So when the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire matched them with a previous dairy farm, they saw the 135 acres of scrubby pasture and woodlot not for its weaknesses but for its potential.  

"There's obviously many examples of old farms that get slow-motion destroyed. There's old equipment and hazardous waste and - you know - just junk everywhere and the barn has collapsed.” But Jimi gives the prior owners plenty of credit – they took “exceptionally good care of the farm.”  

“[The Carlsen’s] had owned it for about 100 years, and they knew they were going to end up selling it. There was nobody in their family who was continuing to farm - and it hadn't been farmed for decades... So they reached out to the land trust because they knew they wanted to conserve it before they sold it if at all possible, to make sure it wasn't developed...and so that's how we got involved."
Chickens in a mobile coop at Clyde Farm

Straddling this line – selling an asset as large and meaningful as a family dairy farm while keeping it accessible to future farmers - was, as Jimi puts it, “incredibly generous and special.” Now, as they grow roots in the small town of Farmington, Jimi and Kristen are “picking up all these little stories” about the former stewards.  

It’s town lore that Mr. Carlsen only missed one milking during his entire life on the farm to attend his high school reunion. “That means he definitely did miss some funerals here and there...and weddings...some births or relative's major life events,” jokes Jimi. But it’s clear that it is a cherished place in the community.

“Proudly Pragmatic”

Clyde Farm is named for the couple’s dog and his joie de vivre (Jimi reminisces that he was “just one of those dogs that needed a lot of space”). The Farm raises pastured meat animals, eggs, and offers a flower CSA. But since moving to their permanent home in Farmington, NH Jimi and Kristen have also added a 13- week vegetable CSA and expanded their animal herd to include beef, alongside their broiler chickens, turkeys and lambs. They use soil-first farming practices, rotational grazing, and their land and animals are all USDA organic certified.  

Clyde at his namesake farm

In building Clyde Farm, the couple purchased equipment along the way as necessary. Even after minimizing equipment use and buying second-hand, these purchases came with a lingering cost.  

“It was with whatever loans we could piece together,” says Jimi, including using credit cards, dealer loans and unsecured personal loans.  

Farmers are often scrappy and independent self-starters; it is what makes them good at what they do. Jimi and Kristen are no different, but by joining forces with Walden Mutual they were able to consolidate their pile of ragtag loans into a single payment and secure financing for some additional equipment. One example, their skid-steer is now an omnipresent part of the chore routines and a workhorse on pasture reclamation projects - enabling the conversion of some low-quality woodland back into pig fields, sheep pasture, and ultimately the cow fields of 150 years ago.

Jimi and Kristen are both driven to make a lasting ecological impact. Their website is a manifesto to their dedication to remineralization and carbon sequestration. They describe themselves as “proudly pragmatic” – with a few exceptions to make the world a more beautiful place.  

The flowers on the farm are not a big piece of their income, but they attract both pollinators and humans. During the COVID pandemic, Kristen and her sister, Erin, collaborated on flower posts called Flower Nerd Friday to share historical and practical flower facts on Instagram. Similarly, the couple keeps a single milk cow for their family, though Jimi jokes that the milk from their cow is “like a million dollars a gallon” between milking, straining, cleaning, cooling, and husbandry on a small scale. Yet the result is “high quality and romantic.”  

A weekly flower CSA share

In the spring of 2022, Jimi and Kristen welcomed their daughter, Lua, into the world.  

"We are hoping that we can establish a farm and business that when Lua is thinking about what she would like to do as an adult... that it's a viable option,” says Jimi. “Which is super rare (unfortunately) for farm kids...they either really love it but there's not really any financial way they could ever do it, or it was such an unhealthy business that they're like 'no way'...the farm ruined my childhood because it was just so stressful on Mom and Dad."

Yet Lua helps direct their days towards their ultimate goal, a farm that is sustainable in all ways: to the land, the humans working the land, and their bank accounts.  

"We believe in our hearts that it's definitely possible,” says Jimi. “It's not going to be easy at all, but we can make it work, have a family, and be mentally and physically healthy while doing it."

Kristen with a flower harvest

Photos courtesy of Clyde Farm