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 2017 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, apprentices, WWOOFers, 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 7th 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 farm. We will still welcome WWOOFers, visitors and field trips, but on an limited basis.

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 2017 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 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/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 2017 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

 

How do I get my hands on my veggies?

We will have two locations for the 2017 season–Cleaver’s Market on Wednesdays and The Natural Foods Co-Op on Saturday mornings.
 

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 2017 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, winterr and summer squash, sweet corn, pumpkins, popcorn,  cabbage, kale, chard, melons, peas, 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

Can we just be friends?

April 19, 2017 News

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog. I tried last summer and just didn’t have the heart. But here I am in my new life, sitting at my desk and enjoying a well-deserved coffee break. I’m in town, not at the farm. If I were at the farm something more important would be calling. Feed the animals. Pick up the fields. Fix something. Mow, tear out a fence. Sit in the tractor seat.  Scratch T-Bone’s neck. Lay in the grass on a sunny day. But those things now have to wait until I get off my day job. 

I’m still unable to really explain why things didn’t work out.  You can’t explain what you don’t understand. 

I do know this: We worked harder than most people can possibly imagine.  We tried everything we could think of to make our little farm financially viable.  On the last day of our farm season, we both went to work at seasonal jobs to get through the winter. And we worked those other jobs right up until our garden would no longer permit our absences. We found good people to work with (for) us and we pushed them mercilessly.  The drive to make a profit from selling food made us both do things and say things that we are not proud of.  Ultimately, I came to better understand several things. I understand being poor-even though we were hardly poor by most standards. (incidentally, it makes your mind work differently, in case you’re wondering). I understand young people and why they get out of bed in the morning. (Most respond well to being challenged and sadly, most have never been challenged). I even came to understand the conventional farmers, their struggles, and why they use GMO seeds. 

There are things I’ll miss about working outside and growing food.  The hard work is probably #1. I’ll run into someone on the street  who doesn’t recognize me as “Farmer Jeff” because I’m wearing a dress shirt and I’m not covered in dirt. I explain that I’m not working at the farm any longer, and almost every single time that person gives me a sad look and says something like, “I know it’s really hard work”. People need to know that’s not why we aren’t growing much any more.  Sure, we missed having a spare weekend in the summer or going hiking in the mountains, but the reason we’re getting out of vegetable growing is this: It’s hard for people around here to buy vegetables and then cook them. People don’t cook at home here, and when they do it doesn’t involve fruits and vegetables. It involves pizza or nachos or hamburgers. It’s not just a coincidence that there’s not a single grower around here who can make a full-time living growing vegetables. It’s hard work to prepare healthy meals.

Something I won’t miss: Constantly having friends explain to me why they didn’t buy a share or why they don’t buy vegetables from our stand.  We don’t care. We never cared. We valued your friendships far more than we valued your food dollars.  But it felt like some of our friends avoided us because of that awkward moment.  We weren’t selling Amway.  Just healthy vegetables. And having been ‘poor’ for the brunt of our farming years helped us not to judge others.  Many people you’d never guess simply don’t have extra money in their budget for healthy food.  (That’s what’s not OK)

I can remember the minute that I knew there was no future in growing vegetables here:  That year we decided to stop marketing (it cost us a lot of $) and see what would happen.  Well, nothing happened. By May we’d sold about 80 shares. I realized then and there that we’d been pushing water uphill with our CSA. It wasn’t growing “organically”, it was growing because we were good salespeople. There was no demand for local foods-we were literally creating our own demand.  This year will be a good lesson for other growers, as we will be offering 400 fewer shares than we did at our busiest. Most of those 400 shares will simply disappear rather than go to other growers. 

My biggest bitch…here it goes. Get ready for it. The City of Sioux Falls. Far and Away #1.  They did not make it easy on us. Here are some of their Greatest Hits:

  1.  Lying about who owned the Farmers Market Facility at Falls Park.
  2. Once the lie came unraveled, trying to convince us we’d be better off at Cherry Rock Park (we were trying to coordinate an immigrants farmers market in SF on Sunday, which included us letting them use our farmland and equipment.)
  3. Just flat-out denying the rental of the farmers market facility on any other day of the week…so we suggested Saturday after the morning market closed…and they said “no”.  Thanks for supporting the immigrant community, Sioux Falls. 
  4. Refusing to give us permission to park our truck at city parks to give out free vegetables to folks who live in a neighborhood targeted by the city as a “food desert”. Brilliant. 
  5. Requiring us to have the same grocers license as Hy Vee to be able to sell eggs at our downtown stand.
  6. Requiring us and our staff to each have a “Peddlers License” involving a $35 per person fee, background check, and $1000 bond. 
  7. Mandatory city health inspection of our vegetable stand (this is the least of their sins as a guy drove down with a thermometer and stuck in in our egg cooler and then gave us the thumbs up!)
  8. Refusal to allow delivery of our CSA boxes to their own city health department. This was my favorite. Way to encourage healthy eating and local agriculture. 

Anyway, there are no sour grapes here (other than with the city!) We have met some fantastic people over the past 7 seasons. Enjoyed countless days outside in the sunshine. Eaten hundreds of great meals and helped hundreds of others prepare great meals. We’re really fortunate to have this phase of our lives to look back on when we’re old.  And now we’re on to other things and the farm is just a hobby farm-like the kind of farms we both grew up on. It’s all good. So don’t worry about us. We won’t try to sell you vegetables ever again.  Can we just be friends? 

Jeff

 

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