The Good Earth is more than just a farm. It’s a place where Jeff, Nancy, the animals, apprentices, WWOOFers, Marv (Nancy’s Dad), Steve, and all slew of incredible people hang out to plant, weed, and harvest fruits and vegetables. It is a place to come to get away from your cell phone, your computer, your desk and experience the simplicity of rural living–even if it is just for an afternoon. You can bring the kids, the dog or your cat (as long as your cat likes dogs) and run around for a while or take a walk down by the creek. Depending on the time of year, you can pick some fresh veggies or fruits or see if the chickens have laid any eggs.
The Good Earth is embarking on its 5th CSA season. In 2014 we provided produce to 275 families in the Sioux Falls and Dakota Dunes area. We learned several important lessons that we will carry forward. Farming is about hard work, observation, and optimism. We’ve learned that much in 4 years!
We sell our produce primarily through the Community Supported Agriculture model. This model creates a sense of community-something that’s very important to us. You as the consumer will have the benefit of knowing where your food is grown and the people who grow it. Our CSA program is limited to 300 full shares. Membership signup for 2015 is underway.
Nancy / Farmer
Nancy was raised on a farm in Northwest Iowa. She made the unfortunate mistake of naming several of the farm animals (Bill the cow, Buckwheat the sheep, Get Away from Me the goose) and upon leaving the farm became a vegetarian and a teacher. She spends most of her day on the farm breaking lawnmowers, growing decorative gourds, and counting turkeys.
Jeff / Hayseed
Jeff grew up all over the place, but mostly on small hobby-farms from Oregon to Iowa. He, too, made the mistake of naming (and occasionally riding) farm animals and consequently doesn’t eat meat. After spending most of a year riding a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean, he knew he couldn’t possibly go back to life under fluorescent lights and behind a desk and instead has chosen a life under the sun and sky and behind a tractor wheel and a hoe. He intends to have the greatest farmer-tan anyone has ever seen!
Conrad / Farm Dog
Conrad is a tried and true city dog. He is adjusting to life on the farm but is distressed by the lack of readily available cheese and squirrels. Conrad’s favorite place to be on the farm is in the car heading to town. Jeff and Nancy hope this changes as the weather warms up.
Owly / Exterminator
Owley is the Great Horned Owl that lives in the barn. She is responsible for the lack of squirrels and possibly the reason why Conrad likes to hang out in the car. Owly and her son Atticus (hatched in the barn in 2011) are as much a part of this farm as we are. It’s worth driving out some evening to hear them in the trees.
Lucky aka Felix/Scaredy Cat
Felix was rescued from the death chamber at SCRC by Cora Lee. He is livin’ the dream in the sheep barn and occasionally knocks on the front door of the house for food. He has been a great mentor to Pearl and Reinhold.
Buck/ I am not a Pit Bull
Buck was living at 12 Hills Dog rescue in Nebraska. We were looking for a Red Heeler to wrangle T-Bone and chew up irrigation tape. He does one more than the other. Buck is named after Pearl S Buck, author of the novel The Good Earth–our other option was to name him after the main character–but he just doesn’t look like a Wang. Although, Jeff did think yelling “Wang” would be more fun.
T-Bone is a miniature bull and after being on the farm for two years he has finally stopped trying to kill us. His low center of gravity, large head and tiny horns makes him a force to be reckoned with. His kryptonite is honeydew melons. As time goes on, I am sure he will come to love us as much as we love him.
T-Rex was brought to the farm to keep T-Bone company. I was fearful that T-Bone would end up living in the house, so getting a miniature horse seemed like a great idea. Rex quickly became the boss of T-Bone and in turn, T-Bone is now much nicer to us.
The Chickens are the newest barnyard animals and by far the most comical. Every chicken expression and every cartoon chicken are based in fact as near as we can tell. There was a brief attempt to name them after the characters of Downton Abbey, but they won’t sand still long enough. The coop does function much like Downton, pecking order and all.
Pearl came to us as a result of a covert mission involving adopting a cat from the Humane Society. The story is full of suspense and plot twists that would make an investigator like Thomas S Magnum proud. Maybe the Humane Society is getting the last laugh as Pearl is trying as hard as she can to be an indoor cat.
Reinhold is the another cat on the farm and easily the craziest. Named after famed mountaineer Reinhold Messner, this little guy does his namesake proud. There is no tree, building, or person he will not scale.
Billy Idol and Joan Jett are the goats who came to the farm as a result of a impulse buy. Have you ever been around a baby goat? They are just about the cutest thing ever. However, like all kids they grow up and wreak havoc–wrecking trees, cars, your patience, and eat you out of house and home. They hang with T-Bone and T-Rex during the day and eat pine trees at night.
Roger and Jessica are Flemish Giant rabbits that are very cool animals. Marv built them giant hutches and they hang out in there most of the time. These two go with Nancy when she talks at schools about sustainable farming.
Mystery is the latest cat on the farm and comes with another story. A dear friend of ours found Mystery outside a hotel in Minneapolis on a bitter cold night a few years ago. Mystery is an Ocicat-a cat crossed with an Oscelot. We inherited Mystery in the fall of 2013 when our friend was taken by a brain aneurysm. After carefully sheltering and slowly introducing Mystery to the other farm animals and cats, we were sure he was good to live among them. A day later, with temps around -15 degrees, he disappeared. All was lost, or so we thought. He sauntered back to the farm about 3 weeks later, missing about half his body weight, several teeth, and with one eye closed. After several hundred dollars in vet bills he’s back, healthy, and won’t leave his heat lamp. Ever.