Meet Your Friendly Farmers 2
2. What are some of your biggest challenges and how do you approach them? 1. The weather! Flexibility and innovation are the only ways to deal with crazy weather issues. 2. Patience. The farm had been abandoned for many years and the fields rented out to conventional growers, so just cleanup, repair, and conversion requires a good amount of time. 3. Figuring everything out. Sure, there are many resources available, but nobody knows our exact situation. In this case, we are both actually quite happy we didn’t grow up on a farm because we didn’t bring any bad habits along with us. 4. Processing. It took a while to find a butcher that knew how to process things without adding the weird stuff (MSG, nitrates/ites, unpronounceable ingredients), that would deal with a small farmer, had time, was inspected, had nice packaging, and was anywhere remotely near us. Northstar Bison, LLC in Conrath, Wisconsin, has been truly wonderful.
3. What unique offerings or specialties do you bring to the area? Together Farms is one of the few farms in the area that produces meat without weird stuff added, that is animal welfare approved AND certified naturally grown. Our animals are truly pastured, and the ones that can be (beef, lamb) are 100 percent grass fed.
4. Are you a CSA (can people become members of the farm), and where can people buy your products? Yes! Coordinate with your friends or co-workers and we will come to you directly for a drop! You can also get our products on the farm (5 percent discount), at Just Local Foods in Eau Claire, or at farmers markets (listed at www.togetherfarms.com). We are looking to expand into restaurants as well!
5. Can people visit your farm? If so, when? We would love to have you anytime! Come to our annual customer appreciation pig roast (October 5, 2013)! The pig is roasted on a bed of coals for many hours and is amazingly delicious. Save-the-dates coming out soon!
Future Plans: Our biggest plan summed up in one word: permaculture. For more information on this, look up Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard.
We also hope to build both a yurt to provide on-farm experiences and an industrial-sized kitchen so that we can produce spectacular meal kits to help busy families still sit down and eat well together.
Current favorite quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller
1. How and when did you get involved in farming? I was raised in the city but spent my summers and as much time as possible on my grandparents farm. After purchasing my own land, I played with raising beef cattle and understanding genetics and overall farm dynamics. I enrolled in the Farm Business Program at CVTC in Eau Claire and learned much more about farming and overall farm business and refined things with the beef and chickens we currently have. In 2009 I started raising non-refrigeration crawlers using a bucket system.
2. What are some of your biggest challenges and how do you approach them? The worms have been a challenge, and that is the one thing that keeps us on our toes. The cattle and chickens are pretty cut-and-dried but also need management. Planting crops is also something to keep us on our toes. Mother Nature is our one variable that is always a challenge with the crops because of our sandy soil. Being diverse is the only thing that keeps things on the up and up.
3. What unique offerings or specialties do you bring to the area? The crawlers produce organic fertilizer called worm castings. The worm castings produce a more fibrous root, which turns the plant into a very healthy plant that will produce more foliage, fruit, vegetable, or just a healthy plant. There is no odor, so it can be used in your home as well. We sell the worms for composting, food for pets, and fishing bait. With the beef and chickens they are sold as free-range grass feed and finished! We are building a greenhouse this year and going to offer vegetables well into fall; when everyone else does not have crops we will. We have also expanded our offerings to include certified organic dairy manure, organic leaf compost, beef manure, mulch, and a complete line of landscaping and lawn care. All our products raised on the farm are considered all natural or free-range, grass fed.
4. Are you a CSA (can people become members of the farm), and where can people buy your products? We are not a CSA. Our products can be purchased here at the farm. We are looking at the Menomonie farmers market as a possible additional resource to utilize for the 2013 season as well.
5. Can people visit your farm? If so, when? Yes, we encourage people to come out and see the farm. We want the world to understand where food comes from and encourage young people to get involved in growing food. The future is an open book and many chapters need to be written for our business. Visits are by appointment at this time.
Whitetail Organics E7986 770th Ave., Colfax, WI (715) 962-3202 www.whitetailorganics.com
MoonRise Farms CSA
2. What are some of your biggest challenges and how do you approach them? Weeds and pests are two things that come to mind right away. We are primarily on our own, so there is a lot of ground to cover literally, and it is very easy to be overwhelmed at all the things that need to be done. I realize now that lists are a VERY good thing. They help me be more efficient throughout the day and allow me to follow through on tasks. I can get obsessive on checking for pests and weeding everywhere I step, so this strategy has been very helpful.
3. What unique offerings or specialties do you bring to the area? Right now, good ol’ fashioned youth and passion. We are relatively young and are just getting our feet wet, but we are all about growing fresh, local, and nutritious food for the people in our community. I love delivering their boxes! It truly gives me such joy to share the gift of healthy food every week with the families who have chosen to support us.
4. Are you a CSA (can people become members of the farm), and where can people buy your products? Yes, this year we are an eleven-member CSA. In the future we hope to bring on more members and possibly sell at the farmers markets.
5. Can people visit your farm? If so, when? They certainly can. A quick phone call would be helpful, though, because I do not live at the farm. You can call 715-505-6094 to set up a time.
MoonRise Farms CSA 715-578-6803
Do you support local agriculture (market farms and/or CSA)? We’d love to hear from you and ask you a few questions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org