Describe what you do on your farm:
We live on four acres, one acre has the house, one has the flat garden area and then we have a two-acre hill. When we moved in we were more excited about the property than the house because it’s perfect for having a garden and I had always wanted to keep goats or sheep. We always knew we would have animals up on the hill one day even though there was no fence when we moved in. We eventually got sheep a few years after we settled in and we use them mainly for pasture maintenance and fiber, no meat production yet. We grow lots of fava beans, garlic, snow peas and flowers. We raise chickens mostly for the eggs but we processed our first chicken recently so that may be something we continue to do. At this point we’re really just doing it for ourselves but eventually we may start growing things to sell. The hill behind our house used to be an orchard so we’ve been slowly accumulating fruit trees with the intent of restoring that area to it’s former glory. I’m sure that when the trees start producing we’ll have more fruit than we could ever eat ourselves.
What is your background? Have you always been a farmer?
My family has always been involved in the farming community and my father was growing Christmas trees when I bought this farm, so he convinced me that I needed to become a Christmas tree farmer. I bought this farm in February of 1986 and planted my first 1,000 trees in early May. Those trees were donated by my father, he had extra that he didn’t need in his fields that year. He kept telling me, “You’ve got to do something with all that land, you have a farm now!” I didn’t want to work with livestock in any nature because I work a full time job in addition to this farm, so that’s how I became a Christmas tree farmer.
What does your family primarily grow and sell?
Blueberries and eggs, mostly. We have a huge garden every year. In the past we had a greenhouse that we used to grow lettuce, we wanted to invest in more of a cash crop. It was okay, but just like with any farming you either have to work 25 hours a day or expand. We weren’t interested in five or six greenhouses, those kind of operations make you more of an administrator.
BRWIA PROFILE PROJECT
Each month we do our best to profile a Woman in Agriculture in our region. These women are diverse - they have come from a variety of backgrounds and include farmers, homesteaders, and activists. They exemplify the multitude of ways women are working to connect with and change our food system.
Female Farmer Profile Project
The BRWIA Profiles evolved out of the Female Farmer Profiles which can be found archived HERE.