22 Feb Pastured Poultry at Ledemete Grass Farm
Blooming Glen Farm CSA is committed to providing its customers access to not only fresh sustainably grown produce but also to sources of protein raised by farmers who share our values. Our 2012 CSA members will have the option to sign-up for pastured-poultry shares from Ledemete Grass Farm, grass-fed beef shares from Tussock Sedge Farm and sustainable seafood shares from Otolith Sustainable Seafood in Philadelphia, all to be conveniently picked up at Blooming Glen Farm when you pick up your produce. Since one of the wonderful parts of Community Supported Agriculture is the opportunity to get to know your farmers and their stories, this week’s blog post features April and Rob Fix of Ledemete Grass Farm.
Animals, including chickens, turkeys and pigs, at Ledamete Grass Farm (pronounced “Let ‘em Eat”) are raised on pasture in the sunshine and fresh air and fed a grain mix grown by a local farmer who uses organic practices. April and Rob Fix are passionate about what they do, and we feel very fortunate to be able to include them in our CSA community.
Rob and April, tell us about how you first got into farming.
April: Rob and I both traveled far and wide before settling down at Ledamete Grass Farm in Schnecksville, PA.
After graduating with an Environmental Studies degree from the University of Pittsburgh, I apprenticed on a few diversified family farms in Vermont and Virginia. I worked as an Organic Research Assistant on Virginia Tech’s Kentland Farm and as a Farmer/Teacher at the Farm School in Massachusetts. Rob and I met at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Conference and brought our lives together shortly thereafter at Fielder Farm, in Central Pennsylvania. There we raised pastured poultry and pork that we sold through CSAs, and we raised a Jersey cow and heifer, for our own milk, butter and yogurt.
Rob: Prior to landing at Fielder Farm, I spent time studying at Penn State, working as a sous chef at fine, local foods restaurants in Scotland and Montana, and hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Real food, hard work and the great outdoors are at my heart of hearts.
What brought you back to Pennsylvania?
A desire to be closer to family brought us to Lehigh County where we started Ledamete Grass Farm. To keep things exciting we decided to buy a farm, start a business and have a baby all in the same year. And so it began, a few years ago. Tessa Wren, now nearly two, loves life on the farm and is especially fond of collecting “eggies” and placing them carefully into their cartons!
What is it about farming that appeals to you?
Since we first met, we have always loved to sit down together to a beautiful meal brimming with food grown by ourselves or by family and farmer friends. We enjoy the unique personalities of all the livestock and are grateful for the opportunity to be stewards of the animals and the pasture ecosystem where they dwell. Starting a farm from scratch is no small feat, and it’s been many a long day for sure, but the hard work feels worth it when the bellies are nourished and the faces are smiling.
How have the first few years at the farm been?
Now beginning our third season at Ledamete Grass Farm, we are thrilled about all of the improvements we have made to the farm in just our first two years. We recently completed a two-year Natural Resources and Conservation Services (NRCS) Environmental Quality Initiatives Program (EQIP) contract which provided partial funding for several large projects including installing permanent fencing for 15 acres of pasture, digging a water line and installing 5 frost-free hydrants throughout the pasture, creating a gravel access road, and planting a 1/2 acre of native wildflowers as a pollinator habitat. To prevent drainage issues from the new access road, we installed a large swale and catch basin along the road that they will plant with native grasses and trees this spring. New and improved farm structures include a large chick brooder, an on-farm poultry-processing house, an equipment barn and a livestock barn.
What lies ahead for you?
As we look into the future we see our small family farm thriving, nourishing ourselves and our neighbors with our thoughtfully raised chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows. We plan to expand our specialty products, such as our farm-made turkey and pork sausages. We hope to add a flock of laying hens laying delicious pastured eggs with bright orange yolks. We see a beautiful farm that’s well-cared for; a sustainable business as well as a happy home for ourselves, our children, and our animals.
Thanks Rob and April Fix, of Ledemete Grass Farm!
Click on this link for registration information for chicken shares for the 2012 season, or go to their website for more information.