Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Hello to the friends, family, and neighbors who are joining us on this journey into the world of wholesome, regenerative, ethical agriculture! We have been tossing around the idea of starting a blog in order to tell the story of Four Hands Farm as the dream unfolds, and the time has come to buckle down and start writing! I see this as an irresistible opportunity to tell the story of the rebirth of a farm that was once loved, fell into disrepair, and kick-started once more with the health of our family, community, and ecosystem in mind. The wheels are now in motion, and we are beginning to see the dream come together in an invigoratingly cohesive way.
Our sweet little house in the village is officially SOLD, and we have been living at the new house for almost a full week. Happily, the transition has been seamless. With a busy toddler in tow and another little one on the way, the fact that I can honestly write that is nothing short of a miracle! Our sweet girl has taken all of these huge changes in stride, and seems to really adore her new surroundings. We still have lots of work to do on the house, but luckily it only required a deep clean to be made move-in ready.
The Future of Four Hands Farm
As we settle in after the big move, we begin to turn our sights to the season ahead of us. We have had so much time to put together a farm plan over the past several years that it almost seems overwhelming to be here, staring down our first "real" season of farming. As most of you probably remember, we tried to make the most out of our suburban location last year by starting an operational market garden in our back yard within the village limits of Lakewood, NY. It was a wonderful experience for us, and we are so grateful to have had the chance to get some feelers (and vegetables) out into the community. One thing that we definitely learned is that market gardening is not for the faint of heart! Tending a vegetable garden for your family is one thing, but tending a garden to feed the masses is something entirely different. We will always manage a family garden (and happily share our overflow produce!), but last year was the first and last year of commercial market gardening for us.
Our agricultural goals have always included tending livestock, and so that is where our story will truly begin. Our vision for this upcoming year includes meat chickens, laying hens, Thanksgiving turkeys, ducks, and pigs, all raised outside on pasture, following a truly grass-based model. One of the biggest components of our farm plan is to follow truly regenerative practices, which means allowing our animals to do the things that come naturally to them. The chickens will be rotated to fresh pasture every day and allowed to peck and scratch in the fresh air and sunshine. Our pigs will be moved over our fallow fields and through the woods, rooting and wallowing and grazing in the fresh air and sunshine. Our ducks will be truly free-range, keeping us company (apparently a duck can be as friendly as a family dog!) and helping us with beyond-organic pest control in our gardens and orchards...in the fresh air and sunshine. Noticing a trend here? Fresh air and sunshine. The best way that we have found to keep our animals healthiest and happiest (read: no vaccinations!) is by making sure that they always have fresh bedding, plus constant access to the fresh air and sunshine. The end product in a system like this? The healthiest and most flavorful food that you're going to find anywhere. We started down this road because we wanted to feed our family food that was good for the soil, good for our water systems, good for the animals themselves, and, last but not least, good for us. We feel truly blessed to be given the opportunity to provide such good food for our community as an added bonus. Thank you for following along on this incredible journey! Until next time, stay warm and stay healthy.