Ararat Farms, the brainchild of Dr. Garo Armen was purchased by him and his family in July, 2010. Ararat Farms was once known to the locals as Kelmscott Farms, but was renamed Ararat Farms after Mount Ararat, a sacred mountain for the Armenian people, rising in the center of the Armenian Highland at its highest peak. According to the Bible, it is traditionally considered the landing place of Noah's Ark.
The family’s vision for Ararat Farms sits at the juncture between their interest in sustainable agriculture and its connection to healthy eating.
Dr. Armen, who is of Armenian descent, was born on January 31, 1953, in Turkey. He moved to New York in 1970, and by 1979, he received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the City University of New York. In 1994, Dr. Armen co-founded the biotechnology company, Agenus Inc. (formerly Antigenics). The company is a leader in developing therapeutic vaccines and vaccine adjuvants for the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases.
Dr. Armen and Dr. Alice Saraydarian pursue their philanthropic activities with the Children of Armenia Fund (www.coafkids.org), which they cofounded in 2003. Together they also provide leadership and vision to all aspects of the farm activities.
In 2010, Dr. Armen and his family started following the dietary philosophy espoused by Dr. T. Colin Campbell in his book The China Study, which focuses on eating a whole foods plant-based diet. Dr. Campbell contends that reducing or even eliminating all animal-based products from ones diet has numerous health benefits, including the prevention and even reversal of cancers and heart disease. The family’s vision for Ararat Farms is to create a socially responsible and sustainable business entity that would produce healthful, nutritious, and plant-based foods to help people eat healthy and improve their quality of life.
Jed Beach and Emilia Carbone joined Ararat Farms in July 2010 as the farm managers. They are excited to play a central role in growing top quality produce, and to be able to experiment and innovate with new methods of low-impact soil management. They are strong proponents of the methods of farming known as "nutrient dense agriculture," which links healthy soil to healthy food. As Dr. Arden Andersen puts it, "Revitalize the health of the soils and the crops will be revitalized. As a consequence, they will become nutritionally healthful for consumers.”
Together Dr. Armen, Dr. Saraydarian, Emilia and Jed are excited and committed to building a farm that sustainably produces the healthiest, most flavorful food possible.