Welcome to The Good Earth

Thanks for coming to our virtual farm! The Good Earth is a vegetable farm located just south of Lennox, South Dakota…about 15 minutes south of Sioux Falls. Nancy, Jeff and a few great people grow a variety of vegetables and fruits using organic methods. We deliver a box of ripe produce to you during the growing season.

The 2018 season is starting to take shape and we will offer shares in the CSA on a limited basis. Contact us for more information.

 

Nancy, Jeff, and all the Animals

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About Us

The Good Earth is more than just a farm. It’s a place where Jeff, Nancy, the animals, Marv (Nancy’s Dad), Steve, and all slew of incredible people hang out to plant, weed, and harvest fruits and vegetables. In addition to the humans that reside here, there is a menagerie of barnyard animals that coexist with us. They are here to live out their natural lives doing what animals do.

The Good Earth is embarking on its 8th CSA season. Farming is about hard work, observation, and optimism. This season we are pulling back in an effort to find a work/life/farm balance that is sustainable. What this means is that the CSA is extremely limited as both Jeff and Nancy will be working off of the far

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. Membership signup for 2018 is underway–for more information, please contact Nancy@thegoodearth.us. 

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 weeding the garlic. 

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/Entertainment

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/Nag

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

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

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

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

Maria and Baby Rita Donkey came to us a part of a relocation/rescue effort by one of our amazing shareholders and friends. Maria came to us in Sept of 2015 with a baby in her belly. Rita was born on March 11, 2016 and is the cutest baby mini donkey we have ever seen. Her foot speed is amazing and Maria is a very protective mom 

Quackers

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.

The Rabbits

White rabbit and Grey rabbit are the two remaining rabbits on the farm. They live in harmony with the poultry and cats. I half expect to see them walking around with tuxedos and top hats soon.  

Harriet and Charlie

Harriet and Charlie are the latest additions to the farm and are easily the most unruly. Harriet was a three week old piglet someone found running down the interstate. There was no way we could resist her charms! A few weeks later, Charlie came to us and made our farm animal family complete. Buck was extremely relieved as Harriet finally realized that she was a pig and not a dog. Soon they will both be full grown and be able to break down our front door.  

 

 

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Membership

In an effort to keep our sanity our 2018 CSA is extremely limited. We are planning a small CSA which will allow us time to work off the farm and enjoy the summer. If you are still interested in getting involved email Nancy@thegoodearth.us for more info.

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FAQ's

 

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How do I get my hands on my veggies?

The Natural Foods Co-Op on Saturday mornings, home delivery (limited availability), and some place TBD--we are looking for another location during the week to drop off.
 

My family won’t eat cucumbers, so what do I do with them?

We know that there are just some vegetables that people don't like but will get in their box anyway. You can give them away to another person, animal, compost pile-or leave them with us at the location and we will do it for you.

What if we are going on vacation for a week?

What happens to our food? You can donate that week’s share to Feeding America. You can tell one of your friends to pick it up and let them enjoy some fresh food. Just let us know--we are here for you.

Payment Info

We are just a little farm, so cash or check works out just fine.

So....what is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture is a different way of buying fruits, vegetables, and other items. In this case, a customer (you) creates a relationship with a farmer (us--Jeff and Nancy) by paying for a 'share' in the farm. As a shareholder, the customer shares in the risk and the reward of the yield from that farm. You'll know exactly where your food comes from, heck--you can even come out and harvest it yourself! But if you don’t want to pick it yourself, we (and by “we”, I mean Jeff), will deliver it to a central drop-off in Sioux Falls. Your box of deliciousness will be waiting for you on on your pickup day for approximately 13 weeks starting at the beginning of July.

what kind of veggies do you grow?

We try to keep things simple and grow mostly stuff that you'd find in a grocery store. In 2018 we'll plant a great variety of different fruits and veggies and about 6 herbs. Expect lots of varieties of tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, beans, beets, winter and summer squash, sweet corn, pumpkins, popcorn,  cabbage, kale, chard, melons, radishes, and a few more unique items that'll be a surprise.

Who built this awesome website?

Bryan over at Optic Impulse. Check out his other work at www.opticimpulse.com. He also designed, from scratch, the logo. He's got game.

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BLOG

2015 CSA Details

November 17, 2014 News

2014 was another learning year for us here at the farm. Most of the lessons were good ones and we will carry that knowledge forward into the 2015 season. Here is our latest update for the upcoming season. You may contact us with additional questions or comments at: nancy@thegoodearth.us or jeff@thegoodearth.us 

CSA OPTIONS-

The 2014 season is a distant memory now…and 2015 is just around the corner.  With that being said, we’ve been been making plans with the hope of tweaking things a bit and making our little CSA even better.  Thanks to those of you who took time to fill out our survey at the end of the season. We read through them, found a couple of areas for improvement, and will focus on getting better in those areas.

2014 also taught us that there is no advertising like word-of-mouth advertising. So if you enjoyed your produce this past summer and know of someone else that you think might enjoy becoming a shareholder, please tell them about us. We spent a ton of money on advertising last season and we’d much prefer to spend that money on other things-like education, outreach, and charity. 

You can go here to sign up: http://www.thegoodearth.us/#membership

So…here’s a roundup (not that kind of roundup!) of the plan for next season!

PRICES               Full Share ($595), Half Share ($350) Quarter Share ($225) Same as last year

SEASON              12-13 weeks beginning after July 4 and ending early October

LOCATIONS         Tuesday afternoons Great Outdoor Store, Downtown Sioux Falls

                          Thursday afternoons The Co-Op Natural Foods, 18th and Minnesota

                          Saturday afternoons JJ’s Wine and Spirits (57th and Western)

HOME DELIVERY   Add $60/year for delivery to your home. Usually before 7am…may add a few evening deliveries.

OFFICE DELIVERY Add $15/year for afternoon delivery to your office. Ask your HR person to call us to arrange  your office as a drop off spot.  Delivery waived with 5 more more stops at the same office.

FARM PICKUP       No additional charge. Any day but Sunday or Monday

SIGN UP/PAYMENT Basically same as last season. If you choose to pay by credit/debit card, you can pay in full or pay 25% down and the balance in 4 equal payments on the 1st day of the next 4 months.  If you choose to pay by check, select the “invoice me” option. You will receive an electronic invoice on the 1st of the following month for the 25% down payment. This is our preferred method of payment as we do not have to pay credit card processing fees. It also allows you to be flexible in scheduling your payments. You can switch this to electronic payment later if you wish. We ask that you pay the remaining balance by September 1st.  If you have any questions or need special arrangements, please call or message us.

Finally, we are limiting the number of available shares at each pick-up location as well as for home deliveries. This helps us plan our picking and allows us to balance our work week a bit. If you have a stand that you prefer, please sign up as soon as possible at that stand to ensure we have a share for you. Also, there will be a price increase of $25 on all share sizes for shares ordered after April 1st. That’s a crazy time of year for us and joining early helps us order the right amount of seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation supplies.

THE CROPS: Overall, we were pretty happy with the selection of things that we delivered. Of course, the rain in late June wiped out lots and lots of varieties of things. Hopefully we won’t have another deluge like that one for another hundred years or so!  Here are some thoughts on a few particular plants…

-More onions, beets, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, garlic, and herbs.

-Fewer varieties of tomatoes (just as many plants but maybe only 15 varieties)

-Fruits-we’ll plant more melons and cantaloupe and in larger quantities

-Greens-several varieties of greens, depending on the weather (they need cooler weather)

-Experimental Items: we will grow several experimental items that will be available only to multi-year shareholders. These are trial products and will be expanded if successful. Leeks, shallots, sweet potatoes,broccoli rabe, and radicchio just to name a few.

-Sweet Corn. We’re on the fence on this one. It takes up a lot of space and is difficult to control the ear worm organically.  The fact that GMO sweet corn is being sold in the area for $1/dozen devalues corn in the eyes of consumers. 3 dozen ears for every share would take up around 20% of our garden space.  

Potatoes-we will grow several varieties of potatoes again. 

Beans and peas: We will plant green beans and peas and plan on having them in shares once. They are incredibly difficult to pick in any quantity. We will have several “You Pick” events throughout the summer for beans, peas, and other items.

Flowers: Laura (our apprentice from 2014) is going to grow flowers here at the farm that will be available as a CSA add-on from week to week! 

 GROWING TECHNIQUES-We have made the decision not to continue with Organic Certification. There are a few reasons for this: first of all, it’s just one more thing for us to do that we just don’t have time to do. Our summers are insanely busy and, even though the paperwork isn’t as bad as many  would have you think, it still takes time and requires us to be organized…not an easy task in the midst of summer.  It also adds some cost-again, not a huge amount but enough that a small farm needs to think about it.  Finally, we increasingly feel that local is more important than putting that USDA sticker on our stuff.  So we’re going to compost our own local manure rather than pay to have more expensive, organic fertilizer trucked in from hundreds of miles away. We also have a couple of places in town that brew beer.  The left over brewing grains make great soil amendments even though they aren’t certified organic. And we’re going to buy some seeds locally, even though they aren’t certified organic. We’re also going to use local businesses to help us manage our soil health even though they are not certified organic. Now, with that being said, we will largely comply with the USDA Organic Standards. No synthetic materials will be used in the production of our crops. No man made fertilizers. No synthetic pesticides. No GMO’s. Period. We just intend to use local suppliers as much as possible.

CHANGES AROUND THE FARM: We are currently working on plans to add a summer kitchen to the farm. This will allow us to do some fun stuff! First of all, it will give us the opportunity sell a few value-added products from time to time. Think: salsa, sauces, soups, preserves, etc. This will give us the chance to add revenue throughout the winter when our gardens are frozen solid. The kitchen will also enable us to have group/corporate events at our farm. Working with local chefs we will be able to offer special small group farm dinners for employee rewards, family events, and special occasions. We’ll also be able to offer cooking, canning, and preservation classes here at the farm.  And finally, it will allow us to have regular events (like the pizza night we had last season) for our shareholders. We’re pretty excited about the summer kitchen and look forward to all the fun that it will bring us!

EMPLOYEES: We had great success with our apprenticeship program. One of our apprentices fell in love with farming and moved to another farm in Hawaii to continue her education. The other is making plans to grow flowers professionally. Jared and Jen are still figuring out how they can get into their own farm business. We will continue the program this season and will let everyone know when we begin taking applications. We also ended the season with a great group of part-time farm hands. I don’t think you could find a nicer group of people.  I sure hope we can come close next season!

 

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