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What's Growing On?

Hey friends! I hope this spring has been treating you well. I pray you have seen beauty and life and the promise of the abundance to come all across your life. Things have been incredibly busy here on the farm...and it is making my heart so happy!

~Farmer Mandy, Eph. 3:20-21

“May the soil be fertile; the harvest be bountiful, and the farmer never grow weary.”

We have gotten the first 12 plots of the market garden established and have finally started planting. The amount of food that will be grown out of these gardens blows my mind when I think about it. Will we have more than we can sell and use? Probably. Am I here for it? Absolutely!

I've been getting asked more and more about what we are trying to create here so I wanted to use this week’s email to share and get a little more vulnerable and personal. We want you to feel like you are a part of our family and friends, we want you to really start to know this farm.

We are a blended family of 8, that is quickly expanding to more with the grown kids getting into serious adult relationships and have been blessed to have those additions be amazing humans that love our kids so much. We purchased our 20 acres here in Slocum, TX nearly 3 years ago as a raw and very unloved piece of property. We do not have an endless budget and have no desire to ever go into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, so we bought ugly...and have fallen in love with what it's becoming. The end vision is almost indescribable but will be a place where we can bring community together to celebrate the slow down, create a local and sustainable food hub for our farm as well as other local farms, and a place where we can educate and inspire others to really want to become more connected with their food. 

We opted out of major debt and chose to have a mobile put on the property instead of building a house, and it's been a game changer. Being able to have a finished home, a place where we can rest and reset, has been huge for us after spending the last nearly decade in transition, remodels or the unknown. This is our home. This is our safe space. This is the place where we get to just enjoy the life we are building.

We also moved the gardens that we had last year and have now set them all up in their permanent locations, giving us currently almost a full acre of cultivated growing space. Our plan is to have everything established over the next 3 years and be in full production. We will be adding in our orchard beginning this fall, a berry field for next spring and adding in 2 permanent high tunnels as well as a full-scale seed starting house over this next winter. We look forward to being able to host classes, dinners, celebrations and so much more in each of these spaces next year. 

The small window greenhouse we built has also been disassembled and is being relocated to its new and permanent location. This might be the space I am looking forward to most! We are nestling it in across from our house and surrounded by gardens. Our plan is to use this space for dinner parties, women’s bible study groups and as my own personal prayer closet. We were designed for the garden, and the garden is where I am most at peace so it seemed fitting that there should be a space that is meant for just that! I can’t wait to get to share the progress of the rebuild with you, it’s going to be a truly beautiful space! 

We are currently in the process of finishing up our pig barn and pasture where our breeders will live permanently. For those that aren’t aware, we raise Black Beauty pork here on farm and our first set of piglets this year will be moving out to pasture in the next couple of weeks, where they will be rotated on our pastures and in our woods weekly. This pork is truly exceptional and is far superior to anything that you can buy in the grocery store. Plus, we only feed a non-corn, non-soy feed to create a product that is so much better for your body. If you are interested in trying some out let us know!

In addition to the barn and greenhouse infrastructure, our shop should be finished up this week. This will allow us space to work even in the rain as well as give me an easier space to store our feed inventory while we wait on our main barn to be built. We are now selling corn free and soy free feed that we have milled fresh monthly. We keep on hand layer feed, broiler feed and an 18% pig feed. We will also be adding in a goat feed once we have the shop ready and have the option to order lamb and cattle feed as well. We have had rave reviews over all the feed we've sold so far, and I can personally say that our own animals have thrived on it, far better than the other feeds we have been purchasing locally. If you are interested in trying out our mixes you can order on the website. 

We also have our first set of pastured poultry of the year going strong, with our second batch arriving in June. We run our birds in chicken tractors across our farm, moving them daily to fresh grass. This helps with fertilization on our fields, the health of birds constantly having them on fresh, clean ground and allows them to forage and live a more normal life. We switched hatcheries that we purchase from this year, and we have gotten a much better quality of bird! I have been really amazed at the difference already and we are only 3 weeks in. We are adding in turkeys this year as well, but in a limited number, so if you are interested in getting your hands on a truly farm raised whole bird reach out soon. 

Lastly, we will be back at market soon! We have been waiting on our pork to get finished so that we actually have something to sell at market while we wait on our gardens to start coming in. So, if you are local, come see all the great vendors Saturday from 9am-2pm every weekend in Palestine. 

There is really so much going on here at the farm and we are incredibly grateful for every customer we’ve built a relationship with already. We are excited about the way the Lord is laying this all out and the doors he is opening for us to walk through. If it wasn’t for Him, none of this would be possible and we are so excited to get to share it all with you. 

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Grit. And prayer. And faith. There is something to be said about grit. There is also something sad about the grit being lost in today's society. I am heading into my third summer on this farm. This sp


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