New Beginnings

New Beginnings

A Couple’s Journey to Cultivate a New Lifestyle

A two-story barn overlooks a sunkissed field of tall grass and singing crickets. The open field inspires an open mind. Alpacas graze and chickens wander through vibrant, thick grass and wildflowers. Soothing incense and meditative music submerge the mind into a world of letting go. 

Visitors to White Rainbow Farm can expect this atmosphere of clarity during yoga classes at the barn studio, Adi Yoga. This rustic studio marked the start of a new journey that came with the farm’s rebirth in February 2021. 

To any traditional farmer, the land may look overgrown and untended. But to Jess and Yuri Bouharevich, who became the new owners in 2021, this is a crucial part of regenerative farming, which takes a holistic approach to agriculture. At its core, this conservation-based agriculture strives to work in harmony with the land to make it flourish instead of taking from it and offering nothing in return.

Their new farm in Peru, New York, was reinvented on a whim by the young couple looking to escape the bustling city life of Houston, Texas.

Yuri, from Montreal, was on track to pursue a professional hockey career, but realized later that he didn’t want to continue down that path. 

“I made the decision to quit hockey and get a head start on my lifelong career, which was going to be some sort of capacity in real estate. I really believe in tangible assets because you’re never getting rid of land,” Yuri said.

Now working in real estate, he is in the process of converting hotels into Airbnbs in Lake Placid, Point Au Roche and Wilmington.

Jess graduated from college in her home state of Ohio and was feeling too comfortable in her day-to-day life, living in an area close to her small hometown. There she danced professionally, taught middle school art and coached the high school volleyball team. When her college best friend, who worked as a graphic designer, got the chance to work in Shanghai, Jess was thrilled to tag along. She knew that if she didn’t take the chance then, she would never leave.

“It opened my eyes to the world in a way that I couldn’t get living in Ohio, doing everything I was comfortable doing. So I had to get really uncomfortable, and I had to lose myself to find myself.”

While in Shanghai, she discovered yoga, which soon led her to Amsterdam, where she trained to be a yoga instructor. However, she began to feel disconnected from home. After a couple years, she joined her brother in Texas. There she met Yuri and became a full-time yoga instructor and mom. 

With the birth of their daughter, they decided it was time to relocate and build a life together as a family.

“We wanted to be breathing in fresh air and (have an) easy walk to trees and water,” Yuri said. “It all started when we came here.”

According to Jess, before she and her husband became the owners, the farm followed industrial agricultural practices, which included pesticides and traditional tilling. She praises the previous owners on having their practice down to a science, but she emphasizes the importance of practicing an organic way of living. 

“We are not that good at what they did. But what we are good at doing is seeing the beauty in the way nature does it without us overdoing it,” Jess said. “What’s so beautiful is that we’re already given so much just by being where we are on the planet.”

A part of this process is allowing plants to grow untouched, known as a fallow season. The first step is to till all of the weeds and growth back into the land. Then the winter snow will cover the soil, allowing the plants to decompose back into the earth.

The regenerative farming-style is here to stay, but the couple makes an effort to vary their crop focus each season. In spring 2023, they will focus on growing flowers. The fields will be sprinkled with patches of sunflowers and native flora, while also encouraging the growth of wildflowers. They are also hoping to plant milkweed and transform their greenhouses into monarch butterfly hatcheries.

Ripening pears, plums, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, persimmons and strawberries can be found scattered throughout the property.

After attempting to sell crops through a Community Supported Agriculture program, the couple realized the amount of work required was too much. Their financial struggles meant the Bouharevichs could no  longer employee a farm team, and they decided to cancel the CSA. But this allowed the couple to focus closely on what else they wanted to offer the community.

The ambitious duo soon realized this setback was actually just what they needed.

“It was absolutely a blessing in disguise because it really encouraged my husband and I to get clear on what and how we want to farm,” Jess said.

Their passion for personal development has helped guide them through this journey. Jess ventured on a 10-day silent meditation retreat that brought clarity to her life goals. Together the couple participated in numerous workshops that taught them techniques on how to coach other people and be coached themselves. The couple had the opportunity to create a safe space for individuals around the ages of 16-24 to just talk about life, which inspired the couple to design similar workshops of their own. All these experiences helped create a vision of what they wanted to bring to White Rainbow Farm.

“We could really be the spot for the community to come and do healing and connecting and just being present for people,” Jess said. “Especially after COVID and just the ways of the world; where do you find that?”

This unification was the basis for creating their 42 acre oasis. The yoga studio came with the farm, but Jess reshaped it as her own and made it a priority to give the other instructors their own creative freedom. The studio instructors tailor each donation-based class to their style and to the participants’ skill level. Even beginners in an aerial yoga class can expect to be swinging on their silk hammocks and hanging upside down by the end of the session.

The Bouharevichs are adamant about utilizing sustainable methods to make their farm flourish. This comes in the form of pumping river water to water the fields and greenhouses. Ideally, they would also like to install solar panels and they dream of having their own wind turbine.

“Our goal is to get completely off grid,” Jess said.

They are also considering growing hemp. Jess admires the quickly advancing concept of hempcrete, which is a bio-composite made of hemp and lime, used to create an alternative construction material about one-seventh the weight of conventional concrete.

The Bouharevichs also hope to provide event space. They are working with the town to receive permission to host weddings. Their flowers are seen as an asset at such occasions, and they see the potential of brewing gluten-free and non-alcoholic beverages to be more inclusive in that type of setting.

“It’s an ever evolving process of how we’re going to help the community out here in some sort of way,” Yuri said.

Giving back and helping those in the community has remained their core value during the reinvention of the farm Jess and Yuri continue to develop. Visitors can escape their busy lives through mindfulness-based yoga and nourish their bodies with fresh, local produce at the White Rainbow Farm.

Story by Natalie St. Denis

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