Johanna Gardner is the owner and operator of Trollhaugen Farm and Madame Jo’s Crêperie. A gardener, shepherd, chef, French teacher, painter, fiber artist and matriarch, she is a force to be reckoned with and a true renaissance woman.
Johanna’s grandfather, David Moulton Gardner, bought a farmhouse and the surrounding land in Newfane in 1938. Though David died shortly after purchasing the house, his wife, Nettie Imogene Gardner (née Morgan) survived to begin the generations-long work of shaping the family home. She was succeeded by her son and daughter-in-law, Earl S. Gardner and Helga Ekeberg Holmsen, who, with help from sons Paul David and Steven and daughter Johanna, would transform the farmhouse into a sophisticated bed and breakfast. It was during these years that the property earned the name Trollhaugen—haugen being a common Norwegian surname for farm homesteads, and troll being the best description of the populace of this particular homestead.
After Helga and Earl’s deaths in 1980 and 1996 respectively, Johanna, who at the time lived in South Newfane with her husband Bahman Mahdavi and their three children, took her place at Trollhaugen’s helm. In the 24 years since, she has expanded on the work of those before her to establish a fully operational sheep, pig, chicken, and duck farm, with an organic garden to boot. She has lovingly cultivated the property to maintain the health of the forest while creating open pasture on which her sheep can roam. She has worked inventively and deliberately to maintain the integrity of the farmhouse, while adapting it continuously to best suit those living inside. She has instilled in her husband, her children, and all those who have lived at Trollhaugen a profound sense of belonging and pride in the home she has worked to create.