Alex Olchowski feels at home in Lebanon Springs. He’s been living there around ten years on 250 acres of his family’s land. Alex has always enjoyed gardening, farm work, and beer, so when the Farm Brewing Law passed in 2012 he started researching hops production. Spring Hill Hops is now in its fourth summer and sells to a willing market of local brewers. Alex hires some part-time help to keep up with the demands of the season, but mostly spends five months working the farm on his own.
Alex’s life has become seasonal, with an intensive period of farming in the warmer months and the rest of the year free to write. He’s been writing for twenty years now—everything from novels to screenplays, short stories, and poems. Alex has written four novels in the last ten years. He designs, produces, and sells the books himself.
“That’s the overall vision of what I want my the rest of my life to be,” Alex said, “this creative lifestyle where the hops farming funds my fall and winter writing life.” Alex began his studies at Bowdoin College but ended up pursuing writing and religious studies at Marlboro College in Vermont.
He sees a strong connection between his writing and his desire to make a living off the land, and has been inspired by writers such as Wendell Berry. “Writing and a relationship to the land go together for me,” he said. “I’ve always had a garden—I need that grounding in addition to the writing. It kind of balances the two.”
For more on Alex’s books and reading philosophy, visit the Slow Book Movement.