Rob and Laurie Todd married in 1982 and began farming in Lansing, New York. Gradually acquiring machinery, they rented land and worked 550 acres between their produce farm and cash-crop acreage. In 1994, the Todds purchased a 250-acre farm on Fenner Road in Lansing, currently with 10 acres of their own intensive fruit and vegetable production, and the rest rented out to a neighboring farmer.
Todd's Melon Foundation features ten different kinds of melons, including a "true" cantaloupe called French Charentais which was mentioned in the gourmet magazine Saveur in 1998. In addition to different varieties of watermelons and cantaloupes, they raise orange honeydews and canary melons.
Jam is a new product line, made from their own fruit: strawberries, raspberries (both summer and fall types), peaches and apricots. At the Ithaca Farmer's Market, they also sell vegetables: peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, peppers, onions, and eggplants. Their teenage son Samuel (almost 18) had his own small stand, adjacent to theirs, at the farmer's market for years.
Like most successful farmers, Rob and Laurie Todd give their managers, employees and family members a lot of credit and thanks. Laurie is especially grateful to her manager Pat Bowman, her "gardening mentor" Slim Bunk, and Rob's parents, Tom and Elsie Todd. "We would not be able to do this without the help of others."
The Melon Foundation is located in the "lake plain" region in northern Tompkins County, an area with a rich agricultural history. In years past, the farm on Fenner Road raised hay and beef cows, as well as many crops typical of the area: corn, wheat, soybeans and barley. A barn built in the late 19th century remains in working order.
Last updated March 16, 2018