We chose to start farming because of our passionate feelings about agricultural and our food system. Our combined experience comes from working as farm apprentices and a lot of trial and error. We consider ourselves to be 1st generation farmers. We definitely have farmers in our family histories, but we did not grow up on farms ourselves. We grow our crops on three different parcels of land in Neenah and each parcel presents different challenges and opportunties. Soil type, microclimate, rainfall and presence of disease, insects and weeds determine how we manage each property.
The most common question we get from customers is, "Are you organic?" The simple answer is no, but the answer is really not that simple! Although we are not "certified organic", our growing philosophy and cultural practices work with ecological systems and not against them. We incorporate many of the priciples of organic farming, while recognizing that well researched use of man-made controls can have their place in a sustainable model of farming. We use the term "sustainably grown" which we hope differentiates us from strictly conventional methods. Sustainable agriculture is defined as agriculture that is profitable, environmentally sound and beneficial to the community.
Our methods include crop rotation, cover crops, planting disease resistant varieties, mechanical cultivation, hand weeding, use of biological fertilizer and field scouting to identify pest problems. Many of the vegetables we grow are heirloom varieties and we never use genetically engineered (GE) seed. For our strawberries and raspberries, we use the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). If pesticides are incorporated into our management system, they are selected on the basis of least toxicity and are applied in a manner that minimizes or eliminates contact with the fruit.
Farming on the scale that we do allows us to provide locally grown fruits and vegetables to thousands of people each season. Almost all of our produce is sold at our farmstands and at farmers markets, meaning that it is consumed within 50 miles of where it was grown. The act of feeding our community is something we take tremendous pride in and is ultimately the reason why we do what we do. In addition to our retail sales we sell to restaurants and local school districts and donate excess produce to the St. Joe's Food Program in Menasha.
As issues of food and farming find their way into the media, talk shows, films and even reality television, we as consumers are faced with a lot of decisions about what food to eat. These decisions are not black and white. As growers, our decisions are not black and white either. We hope that our farm will allow you to connect with where your food comes from, offer the joy of good food and empower you to make decisions that help create positive change. We welcome your interest and questions about our farm and farming practices.