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 6th CSA season. In 2015 we provided produce to 350 families in the Sioux Falls and Dakota Dunes area. The 2016 season is another season of change for the farm and the farmers. Jeff has headed back to work full time leaving Nancy to run the farm. With this change comes a reduction in production–we are only selling 150 shares this season. Farming is about hard work, observation, and optimism. We’ve learned that much in 5 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 150 shares. Membership signup for 2016 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. Conrad is diabetic, blind, deaf and very demanding which is why we love him so much.
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 five 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 melon and spent grains from the brewers at Monks and Woodgrain Brewery.
T-Rex was brought to the farm to keep T-Bone company. Rex’s mane and coat are beautiful–like something out of a Whitesnake video. Rex quickly became the boss of T-Bone and in turn, T-Bone is now much nicer to us.
The Chickens are by far the most comical barnyard animal. 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.
Claire is a pardoned turkey from our 2015 flock. In true House of Cards fashion she was smart enough to hide weeks in advance of Thanksgiving only to return after the rest of the flock had met its demise.
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.
Maria and Baby Rita Donkey are our latest additions to the farm. Maria came to us in Sept of 2015 with a baby in her belly. Rita was born on March 11, 2015 and is the cutest baby mini donkey we have ever seen. Maria is a great mom
Quackers is the lone duck on the farm who came to us as a trade for some roosters. For 6 months we thought Quackers was a boy then one day she started laying eggs. She insists on living with the chickens and Claire. Our attempts to put her in the pond have fallen short and only result in her having to run with her little duck legs back to the coop.
Carl 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. There was an unplanned litter last fall which resulted in some white rabbits. One lives with Jessica in her hutch–one is running around the farm living with the chickens.
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.