Farm Frequently Asked Questions
What would you like to know about our market gardens?
Curious about our plans for the farm? Below you will find a list of common questions and answers our friends, neighbors, and customers tend to ask again and again. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch and we will be happy to answer any farm related questions you might have. We will be happy to provide you with all the information you need to be informed purchasers of local produce from right here in Carroll County, IL.
What do you grow?
We start many varieties of garden vegetables as seeds indoors on a heat mat. As the weeks and months pass, we up-pot and transplant each seedling and move them into the greenhouse. When the weather is just right, they are planted into the gardens for the growing season.
Along with all the plants we start as seeds each year, we also grow a number of fruits in the orchard and keep a flock of laying hens.
Is your produce chemical free?
We treat the forest, soils, and animals of our farm with respect and care so it can thrive and provide nourishment for the community for years to come.
Storing animals in CAFOs and broadcasting chemicals on hundreds of acres of monoculture fields provides economical calories for a large percentage of the population. More and more these large scale operations are considering sustainability and their environmental impacts.
But we can't live on cheap meat and corn syrup alone. Market gardens and diversified farms provide a large selection of nutrient dense foods for the local community, in the local economy. There is very little incentive for small farms to broadcast expensive chemicals.
We take a more holistic approach when considering how to deal with insects, diseases, and weeds. While prevention is our focus, sometimes a pinpoint application is required. We always take an organic first approach and are mindful of the location and activity of pollinators when choosing our actions.
Don't you need a rooster to get eggs?
Nope. Humans have bred laying hens over 1000's of years to ovulate most everyday, at least when there is enough light. An egg is laid about 26 hours later. If a rooster is around, then you will get fertilized eggs. As long as eggs are collected daily, there's no real difference in the appearance between the eggs. And a tiny blood spot is not indicative of a fertilized egg. It occurs in 1% of all eggs.
Of course if you want baby chicks then a rooster is necessary.
Now there are other reasons to have a rooster around. We're planning on adding one to our flock this spring. Why? Because they are LOUD! This may sound crazy to many people, but we want noise on the farm, and not just first thing in the morning. The more noise and bustle around the farm, the less eager predators are to check things out.
What is a Market Garden?
Usually a little larger than a home or hobby plot, a market garden shares the same principles as backyard gardening— labor intensive production of a wide array of high-quality fruits and vegetables.
The biggest difference between market and hobby gardening lies in the individual goals for the grower. Both grow fresh, great tasting food, but at least a portion of the market gardener's income depends on the success of the farm.
A market gardener’s produce is sold to the consumer off a farm stand, at a farmers market, or through community supported agriculture (CSA) shares. Wholesale to restaurants or grocery stores are examples of other outlets for market farms. Either way, the grower’s income is dependent on the sale of high-value crops at a profit. When successful, revenue is invested back into the farm for equipment improvements to help scale up the farm to provide additional food to the local community growing season after growing season.