The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 78
THIS SPRINGS FARM
Coast On (Above left)
One Lambstock rider kicks
back and relaxes on a
Farm Love (Above right)
One of Rogers's sheep
dogs cools off in a water
78 | JULY/AUGUST 2017
But in Spring of 2015, three events changed Rogers's
life. That March, he decided to take his father, a lifelong
Red Sox fan, to Spring Training in Florida for his 80th
"My father was in a wheelchair, and it was difficult for
him to get around," Rogers recounts. "I had this realization about mobility, that once you lose it, it really affects
your life." While the ball games, the Florida sun and the
time spent with his father were memorable, watching his
father struggle getting to his seat at the games gave Craig
something of an hourglass to watch-time was passing,
he realized, and maybe he was on the lighter side of it.
A few weeks later, at the Charleston Food and Wine
Festival, while running the Lambs & Clams event with
Rappahanock Oysters and enjoying the raucous event,
Rogers discovered a cyst on his neck. The pain was debilitating, and after visiting the emergency room to have
it drained, he recalls that "the doctor admonished me for
not telling him that I was a severe diabetic."
Rogers couldn't have told the doctor. He didn't even
know that he was diabetic.
Finally, on May 4, the eve of the James Beard Awards
ceremony in Chicago, Rogers, along with everyone else
in the food world, was shocked to hear of the passing of
Josh Ozersky, a good friend and Lambstock attendee.
Only 47 years old, Ozersky was already one of the greats
of food writing-as an author of numerous books, the
founder of New York Magazine's food blog, Grub Hub,
and an editor-at-large of Esquire. He'd earned a James
Beard award of his own and was known for living large-
he'd founded the meat-centric festival, Meatopia, after
all-and his death, a seizure that led to drowning in a
shower, silenced the community.
For Rogers, all of this meant something needed to
change, and change fast.
WHILE ROGERS HAD ALWAYS enjoyed, "good
food, drink, and travel," his original career was that of
an academic. With a PhD in mechanical engineering, he
spent most of his career as a professor and administrator.
After retiring from academia, he then went on to head a
microelectronics firm and, later, serve as an intellectual
property consultant-careers he downplays for fear their
mention might downgrade his farmer cred. Indeed, it's
rare to find a thrice-retired "smart guy" rounding up
sheep with the help of a couple of beloved border collies,
but it is his true love.
But retirement didn't sit well with Rogers, even when
he decided in 2002 to buy a farm in Patrick County.
Nestled in rolling and stereotypical verdant hills, Border
Springs Farm looks like a scene from a nursery rhyme.
Border collies run the fence behind the Rogerses' house,
turkeys gaggle in a pen a few hundred yards away, and,
off in the distance, practically melting into the drinkable
blue sky, fluffy white sheep dot the hills. Just try to visit
the farm and not fall in love-it's impossible.
Back in those early days, Rogers had no intention of
becoming a full-fledged shepherd. Border collies were his