WHAT WE GROW, AND WHY
Our life has been guided by a search for farming methods that regenerate land and people, leading us to many directions including agroforestry, social justice, urban agriculture, intensive rotational grazing, permaculture…blah blah blah…the names are not what is important. What is important is that we seek a place at the intersection of the health of the land and the sovereign health of people, and see that some production systems and crops meet this goal.
Our farm is not a passion we pursue for profit, but rather as an expression of our values to grow good food for our family and community, to restore the ecological wealth of a landscape that has been abused for many generations, and to share the knowledge we've learned along the way so that others can find success. Each crop and production system is first a choice for the restoration of nature, including the healing of humans.
Mushrooms are one of the most powerful food medicines we have come across.
We mainly grow shiitake, oyster, and chestnut mushrooms on logs, organic straw, and sawdust mixes. We grow them out in the woods, and indoors in a low-energy mushroom house. We also wild forage and seasonally grow some special mushrooms like lions mane and king trumpets.
Mushrooms are often appreciated for their exotic nature and delicious additions to a wide range of foods, but less so for their powerful medicinal and nutritional capacity.
The mushrooms we grow are packed with antioxidants, vitamins B &D, Iron and are one of the few foods with a complete amino acid profile. Regular fresh mushroom consumption offers your body a potent “adaptogen” which supports and balances your immune system, contains anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anit-tumor, and anti-bacterial properties.
Mushrooms are also absolutely the protein source with the lightest ecological footprint. Research indicates that mushrooms emit 0.5 kg of CO2 per pound produced. Compare this rate to chicken (3.1 kg), pork (5.5 kg), Salmon (5.4 kg), and Tofu at 0.9 kg CO2 per pound. Mushrooms require just 1.8 gallons of water and 1 kilowatt hour of energy to produce.
These figures come from an industry report looking at large scale operations, but we can achieve even better efficiency on our small operation.
Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) - typically available March - November
A classic mushroom, the blue variety we grow is notably thick and hardy and is packed with a seafood-like flavor that complements almost any dish. Our favorite prep is to saute lightly over medium heat with fresh garlic and black pepper, then add to eggs/omelettes, noodle dishes, sauces, and more.
Chestnut (Pholiota Adiposa) - typically available March - November
Even after cooking, chestnuts maintain a very distinct texture, almost crunchy. They have a milk earthy flavor with notes of black pepper. These mushrooms do well in broths and miso soup, cream sauces, or added to a curry or stir fry.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) typically available June - October
Our log-grown shiitake ripen in the natural woods environment and retain a meaty and deep earthy flavor that holds shape when cooked and provides the "umame" flavor that is said to accent and highlight other flavors in many dishes.
Our ducks patrol the forests, gardens, and pasture of the farm, foraging on cover crops and dining on slugs and other bugs while providing rich, delicious eggs that are on average slightly larger than chicken eggs with a bigger and more flavorful yolk.
If someone cooked a duck egg and didn't tell you you might not notice the difference, but duck eggs are a bakers dream, adding moisture to breads, cakes, and pastries. They also make fluffy omelettes and scrambled eggs.
As compared to chicken eggs, duck eggs are said to have higher Omega 3s, nutrients and minerals, and vitamin D. If you haven't tried them before, we think you will be pleasantly surprised!
We most value the ecological role our ducks play on the farm, with egg sales helping to "pay their way" and while providing a nutrient dense food.
Our ducks get full benefits as they rotate around the farm, and we offer our ladies a full retirement package; we don't cull unproductive ducks but let them live our their lives foraging on the farm.
The best way to restore a healthy landscape on a large scale, build soil and sequester carbon is with intensive rotational grazing and silvopasture (trees in pasture). For consumers of meat, ruminant animals (cows, sheep, and goats) offer the most regenerative option, as they can convert grasses, legumes, and woody plants into proteins and, if managed well, rapidly build the carbon potential of soils.
Our sheep are part of a long term journey to rebuild the ecological wealth of the close to 40 acres that we rotate the animals through each season. We move our animals once every 1 - 2 days and feed them entirely on grass and natural forages as nature intended (no grain).
We raise heritage Katahdin sheep who boast a hardiness to cold and heat, strong parenting instincts, and disease and parasite resistant. We don't use any regular medications or dewormers in our sheep.
The idyllic life our sheep have is evident in the meat we produce, which is rich and full of flavor. In order to maintain herd health and develop genetic lines that can thrive in a changing climate, its necessary to select and cull some of our flock each season, which results in the products we sell.
In this way, the meat our customers consume nourishes all levels of life; the soil and vegetation on the land, the health of the flock, and the health of the person eating it.
Each year, our first crop is the sweet sap from our 1-acre of maple trees that we tap and boil down on a wood-fired evaporator as has been done for hundreds of years.
Join us for our annual celebration of Maple Weekend along with members of the New York Maple Producers Association the second weekend in March for tours, tastings, music, and a local farm and craft market.
Our elderberry plantings run along our waterways and protect the soil from erosion while improving water quality. This is the natural habitat of the plant and results in amazing production as well! We steam juice and pack our elderberry syrup for use in cooking or as a medicine.
Elderberry is packed with Vitamin C and many anti-oxidants. The syrup used to be staple in medicine cabinets as the go-to remedy for cold and flu season.