Here at Star Hollow Farm we grow a wide range of herbs and vegetables, raise laying hens and cut firewood.
We usually grow some 30 different types of veggies, most of them in relatively small quantities. Within each crop we typically plant multiple varieties to spread out the harvest and make things more interesting. For a number of years now our production strategy has been to get many "mainstream" high-demand types of produce from friends of ours in the area that do them on a larger scale, while we focus on more specialty or unusual crops or varieties on the premise that offering a wider variety and some unusual items is good for our CSA. Our best sellers traditionally have been tomatoes and garlic, followed by greens and summer squash. Some years potatoes are up in the top five. Other veggies grown at Star Hollow include beans, beets, eggplant, many kinds of cooking greens (chard, kale, bok choi, mustard, raab & more), lettuce, microgreens, okra, peppers, radishes, rhubarb, scallions, turnips and more.
[photo] Fall roots crop in the front garden (daikon, watermelon & black Spanish radishes; red, white & purple-top turnips; rutabagas).
Culinary herbs were a sideline for us for many years, mostly just basil and mint. A few years ago we began to get much more interested in them. We have continued to expand and currently grow some 15 or 16 types, in season, including basil (No.1), chives, cilantro, dill, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel and thyme. We also offer several herb mixes (Scarborough Fair and Herbes de Provence). Herbs don't usually represent a huge sales total in any one week, but over the entire year they surprised us. As a group, they came in as our No.3 crop, right behind tomatoes.
[photo] Our circle garden. We have more herbs in several other locations. On a per-acre basis they are one of our most profitable crops. A bonus is that many are perennials that come back on their own, often some of the earliest things we have to sell in the Spring.
We've raised chickens for eggs and meat pretty much since we moved to the farm in '92, but it wasn't until 2007 that we put in a new henhouse and got serious about it. We typically raise about 100 birds, Rhode Island red crosses, the best brown-egg laying type of bird. They spend their days outside in a quarter-acre pasture, then we close them into their house at dusk to protect them from the varmints. We treat them very well and they reward us with lots of good eggs, which have become our No. 1 crop!
[photo] A small share of our red hens on a winter's day.
Our 85-acre farm is about half woods, dominated by oak and hickory. Whenever I have the chance I'm out cleaning up fallen trees for firewood during the winter. Our primary source of heat is oil, but we heat with wood continually all winter as well. The beavers in the creek have been helping us out some over the last few years, felling trees too big for them to drag into the creek for their own selfish desires and saving me the trouble of dropping them.
[photo] Several racks of our firewood.
Produce from other farms
In addition to our own produce, we also gather from other farmers we know in our area. Some of the farms we work with include: