Sep 10, 2021Respected Vermont organic vegetable grower dies
Jonathan “Jon” E. Satz died suddenly on Aug. 25, 2021, following a long illness. He was the owner of Wood’s Market Garden in Brandon, Vermont, for the past 22 years, where he lived and farmed with his family.
He fought two different cancers in 10 years with incredible courage, never missing a day of work.
According to his obituary, Jon was born in Orange, New Jersey, on May 9, 1965. He was the son of David M. and Susan (Steiner) Satz Jr. He grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. After graduating the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jon’s early adult years were a scrapbook of colorful experiences collaged from what he happily would have described as “following the Grateful Dead and enjoying life.”
From Breckinridge, Colorado, to Oregon, with many stops in between, he settled down owning Wood’s Market Garden. To talk with Jon or be in his presence, one would never guess that he was one of the most respected farmers in New England. He wasn’t boastful or competitive.
As a colleague of Jon’s noted, “He pushed agricultural and technical envelopes in pursuit of ‘better’ without being blinded by ‘best’.” He was amazingly generous, a mentor and friend to so many. Farming and feeding the community were his calling.
In 1995, he detoured to Vershire, Vermont., to manage the farm at The Mountain School. He longed for a chance to farm for himself again, though, so he returned to western Massachusetts.
The challenges of farming on rented land later pushed him to explore other options. He became a NOFA-VT inspector of organic farms and traveled the state of Vermont meeting new farmers and certifying their land. Through his visits, his love of farming grew, along with his love of Vermont, leading him to look for a place he could call his own in the Green Mountain State. In the spring of 1998, he drove up Route 7 and stumbled upon Wood’s Market Garden in Brandon, which was for sale by owners Bob and Sally Wood. After a few minor roadblocks, he finally purchased the farm in 1999 at the age of 34.
To talk with Jon or be in his presence, one would never guess that he was one of the most respected farmers in New England. He wasn’t boastful or competitive. He was simply ever-curious about agriculture. He openly shared with others his time, knowledge, and resources. As a colleague of Jon’s noted, “He pushed agricultural and technical envelopes in pursuit of ‘better’ without being blinded by ‘best.’” He was amazingly generous, a mentor and friend to so many. Farming and feeding the community were his calling.
He is survived by his wife, Courtney (Poremski) Satz, and his two sons, Ezra and Emmett, all of Brandon Vermont, his mother Susan Satz of Verona, New Jersey, his sister Connie Satz of Burlington Vermont, and his brother, David J. Satz and wife Hallie of North Caldwell, New Jersey, his in-laws, Sonny and Shelley Poremski, his brother-in-law Thad Poremski and wife Lacey, and his sister-in-law Hilary Poremski-Beitzel and her husband, Chris.
“Uncle Jonny” is survived also by three beloved nieces, five nephews, and a great nephew. He was predeceased by his father David M. Satz Jr. As a father, Jon was affectionate, spontaneous, goofy, and tender. His pride in his boys was unending, and he was never too busy to let an important moment stop him in his tracks. Jon’s love and spirit still shine in the blue eyes of his boys.
Immediate family gathered in a celebration of Jon’s life on Sept. 4 at the farm. A public celebration will be planned for a future date when it is safer to gather in a very large group. The full obituary can be seen at https://www.rutlandherald.com/obituaries/jonathan-satz/article_0b6b5b2c-0cf8-50d8-80fe-7dfb7b94c787.html Those who wish to share remembrances or condolences may do so at caringbridge.org/visit/jonsatz where there is also a link to The Jon Satz Memorial Fund.
Jon was adamant about continuing to support his Jamaican farm workers, who were employed on the farm through a migrant worker program for nearly 65 years, collectively. They were honorary fathers and brothers to Jon, and considered Vermont their second home.
Echoing Jon’s determination to support their families, memorial contributions can be made to The Jon Satz Memorial Fund at gofundme.com/f/jon-satz-memorial, which will also be shared through the farm’s Facebook page.
Jonathan “Jon” E. Satz. Photos: Wood’s Market Garden