About our Farm:
On our 140 acre farm outside of Amery, Wisconsin, we have a very scenic and diverse mixture of tillable land, pasture, woods, a pond and a stream running through it all!
Our farm is home to pasture-raised Berkshire/Duroc Heritage hogs, a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle and making a comeback in 2020, pastured chickens for meat! These animals help us to improve our soil through their manure as well as rooting and pecking the ground we have them on. They love to eat quack grass and our veggie scraps! We value this composting cycle that keeps our inputs lower, builds soil and gives the best life to these healthy animals.
On our farm there are about 70 acres of tillable land. In 2020, we will be growing about 3 acres of Certified Organic Vegetable crops. The remaining acres are in either oragnic alfalfa hay, pollinator habitat, cover crop, fallow or home to our animals.
Methods and challenges of running our farm
An important focus (and frustration) on a vegetable farm, are weeds. Our way of managing weeds includes a combination of hand tools, stale bedding, flame weeding, tractor cultivating, straw and plastic mulch. As organic farmers, it is our ultimate goal to stay on top of the weeds, but in the heat of the summer, so much growth happens every day that you can almost see them moving, reaching. As Kristen Kimball so aptly says in The Dirty Life, “Farmers toil. Nature Laughs. Farmers weep.”
As much as the weeds are a focus on farm, pests can be too. Our strategy is to use row cover (used as a barrier), timed plantings (avoiding certain pest hatching periods), companion planting, an electric fence for deer (for many crops including peas, beets, carrots and brassica) and raccoons (for the sweet corn), and most importantly keeping our transplants and seedlings happy and healthy. When a plant is stressed, it is much more prone to pest pressure and diseases. As CSA farmers, we grow over 65 crops and it can be difficult to stay tuned into every single plant all the time. So, this is harder said than done, but our weekly “walk-about” helps us prioritize and plan for the week ahead making it easier to feel connected with each crop.
We hope you can come out to the farm for a visit or to help in the fields and see what a day is like on our farm!