20 Under 40: New leaders, classic values

Blake P. Gendebien, 35
Twin Mill Farms, Twin Mill Lubricants, Jules of Life Foundation

Hometown: Lisbon
Professional position: Co-owner Twin Mill Farms LLC; co-owner Glow Skincare and Spa LLC, Canton; owner Twin Mill Lubricants; board member, Agri-Mark Co-op — Cabot Brand Cheese — owned by 1,200 dairy farmers in New York and New England
Family: Wife, Carmen; sons, Miles, 9, Truman, 7, and Noah 5
Education: Bachelor’s degree in agricultural systems management, minor in business, Penn State University, State College, Pa.
Community involvement: Co-founder Jules of Life Foundation; president, Lisbon Central School District board
of education
Last book read: “Another Monster at the End of This Book” by Jon Stone “I read to my boys almost every night.”

For Lisbon native Blake P. Gendebien, it was an easy decision to return to the north country to farm.

“While in Atlanta, I received a phone call from my father asking if I wanted to buy the neighboring farm in Lisbon. I asked my wife Carmen if she liked the idea and she said ‘Yes.’ The rest is history,” Mr. Gendebien said. “From that point we formed Twin Mill Farms and it kick-started an interest in more business.”

Northern New York’s excellent quality of life influenced Mr. Gendebien’s return to his hometown.

“A few years ago, St. Lawrence County was ranked third in the U.S. to start a farm. It has a lot to offer, markets for your products and fertile land at a good price. The quality of life is top notch,” he said.

The lure home also featured easy access to the St. Lawrence River, short trips to destinations such as Lake Placid and Ottawa, wonderful universities that offer cultural opportunities, and an unrivaled small public school system.

Mr. Gendebien stays connected to the community by hosting several open house events to show the public what he does, how the farm cares for its animals and how they put food on America’s table.

-Paul Mitchell
[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]

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