Heirlooms, Flowers, & Heritage Breeds

There are multiple different ways to farm in regards to what each farm offers and the farming methods that are used, including endless combinations of what can be grown and raised on a farm. Ultimately each farm has to go in the direction they feel is right for them and what they want to offer the community. We have always been drawn to the more specialty & heirloom route as there are a lot of varieties we enjoy eating and sharing with others that are nearly impossible to find grown locally using sustainable or regenerative organic methods. There are also many common fruits and vegetables that can be found as an heirloom variety, full of flavor, which we enjoy growing and sharing for those who prefer simple classic vegetables as well. We have always had an appreciation for growing and providing things that aren't already available locally which is why we like heirloom varieties and heritage breeds so much.

We enjoy growing varieties from around the world and have had great success both in the fields and in our kitchen, preparing these varieties into delicious meals to be shared with family and friends. We want to be able to share the harvests, knowledge, and experience with others on how to grow, prepare, and preserve items from our farm to your table. From extending the harvest on flavorful hot peppers grown in climates that are very different than ours, to using those same peppers in authentic Thai dishes from my family heritage is one example of how we strive to connect our harvests with your own cooking and home preparation. We have multiple ways we want to help educate the community on self-sustainability and food independence. This means adapting our farming model to how we will execute and reach these goals in a way that works best for us and the farm, and how we can better serve our local community with specific products and services.

Along with a passion for heirlooms and worldly flavors, comes a love for growing flowers that is rooted in family experience and history. My mom has been growing flowers for years, she is a well seasoned and experienced ornamental gardener. Her collection is saturated in both variety and beauty, having been a grower and collector of flowers since 1975, spanning over 43 years. One of our goals from the beginning was embedding and progressing that history onto our farm as well. To advance into the role of a farmer-florist, is something I have been looking forward to since transitioning onto this land we are now farming on. Collecting and growing a diverse selection of both common and hard to find annual + perennial varieties and native plants, along with focusing on greenhouse production and tropical varieties are all a part of our current and future plans.

Sam's grandfather was a chicken farmer in Massachusetts dating back decades as well, and that is a history we will continue to honor on our farm. Collectively we have already been raising heritage breed chickens for years, and will keep expanding our practices in this area along with our breed selection. This is an important aspect of our practices, as we have always been drawn to heritage breeds for the same reason we grow heirloom varieties. There aren't a large number of farms specifically focusing on preserving the diverse genetics of these historic breeds and we hope to increase the amount of heritage breeds available locally, along with providing education and awareness about the importance of all of these breeds. As a result of farms not focusing on raising and producing heritage breeds, some are at a risk of going extinct and some already have, many are on the critical, threatened, or endangered list. Heritage breeds are categorized by being slower growing, having natural foraging ability, mothering instincts, are more adaptable to various conditions and climate changes, have disease resistance, survival instincts, and are able to breed naturally. These breeds are a living part of our history and preserving their genetic diversity is important to the future of agriculture.

Touching on diversity, that is another reason we are so drawn to heirloom and open pollinated varieties as opposed to hybrids. Because you can save seed that is grown in the right conditions to continue preserving and offering those genetics for the future of seed independence. If farmers cease to continue growing and saving heirloom and open pollinated seeds for the future, this increases the potential for them to become less available and accessible for all. This will gradually reduce overall seed + variety diversity. This is extremely important as certain hybrid seeds become patented, meaning that the rights to those seeds are owned and cannot be grown at will by anyone who wishes to do so, without purchasing the seed off whoever owns the patented seed. Saved F1 hybrid seed will not produce true to the original parent plant, causing the grower to have to purchase new seed each year also. Hybrids can eventually be stabilized and move into becoming open pollinated, if grown and selected for specific traits over multiple years, but this is not a guaranteed way to preserve the already established genetic diversity found in existing heirloom and open pollinated varieties.

All heirloom varieties are open pollinated, but not all open pollinated varieties are an heirloom. Heirlooms generally date back 50 years or more, having a strong cultural history of being passed down generationally within a family, region, or community. Open pollinated seed can adapt to climate and growing conditions from season to season, and are pollinated by natural methods such as wind, bees, contact, etc. There are so many great heirloom and open pollinated varieties that are prolific producers with delicious and complex flavor profiles. As our farm progresses, we will continue specializing in growing heirloom and open pollinated varieties from around the world. We will save seed that is true to type in order to preserve historic and necessary genetic diversity, so that we may continue growing these varieties on our farm for years to come. Once our production and seed saving process is refined and mastered we look forward to sharing these seeds on a more mass scale with others as well.

We will continue investing and focusing on these goals that are important to us and the food system, including the future of maintaining natural genetic diversity and food independence from corporate control. Providing a seasonal CSA that requires much of our attention will not be a part of our farming model, and we look forward to progressing into other ways to connect and provide for our local community. Based on feedback we received from multiple members last season and the challenges they faced with certain aspects of joining a CSA, this helped guide our decision to move away from CSA farming. We will instead go a more traditional route and focus on notifying the community of what we have available for purchase, allowing our farm supporters to purchase at their own convenience the quantities and varieties they would like. We have seen other successful farms move away from CSA farming (or not ever entered into that style of farming to begin with) and maintain a great connection and bond with the community. We tried CSA farming out for a season, and after doing so we know that we can provide more for our community through other methods. Beyond that many farms that choose to commit to a CSA model are limited in the rate and scale of expansion into other areas their farm can focus on such as: heritage breed livestock conservation, florist scale flower growing, and seed production. This is because of the large amount of focus and attention required to produce what is required for a CSA within a relatively short outdoor growing season. We are really excited to keep moving forward and progressing our farm. Growth is necessary, both in practices and application. We will always invest in ways that are the best for the farm and for how we can provide for the community, along with what is best for the environment and ecosystem. This season we have taken many positive steps forward and we are looking ahead to next year and beyond. We are really thankful for all the growth we have accomplished, and we're excited to keep progressing and reaching goals that will have a long lasting positive impact.

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