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?

 

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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Turkonomics

November 23, 2014 News

It’s Thanksgiving Season again. It’s time for us to reflect on the year and to think about the things that we are thankful for.  It’s (in my opinion) the greatest of the holidays. It’s largely non-denominational so everyone of every color and creed can participate without feeling out of place. It’s a holiday that does not require a gift-all it asks is that we gather in family or friend groups, enjoy each others company, and at least pretend to be appreciative of what we have, what we have experienced, and of who surrounds us.

It’s THE holiday where food is front and center to the enjoyment. And it’s the time of year that I find myself seriously trying to understand how our food system works. 

As I was driving into town today to deliver the last few of our own Thanksgiving turkeys, an ad came on the radio. Please keep in mind that if NPR had been broadcasting anything but Prairie Home Companion I never would have been forced to listen to commercial radio. Nonetheless, my drive coincided perfectly with the 5? hours each Sunday that NPR lets Garrison Keillor into their studio to drink all their booze and whisper/mumble into the microphone almost all day. Anyway, I was listening to a local station and an ad came on for a local butcher shop selling turkeys for $0.77 per pound. And it got me wondering (this happens every single Thanksgiving) how this is possible. 

Here’s the math on our turkeys this season. Maybe one of you can help me better understand how the meat economy works!

April 10th: 40 little turkeys arrive!  We bought a mix of Bourbon Reds and Midget White turkeys. Cost on the chicks, delivered, was about $11.25/each.  The mailman called to tell us they were at the post office and we picked them up around 7:30 AM in Lennox. Turkeys are different than chickens. The mother bird teaches the babies how to eat and drink. Because we had so many we had no way of knowing which ones were eating and which ones weren’t…until the next night when some of them started dying! We lost 5 birds to this…very, very sad. After about 5 weeks indoors and under heat lamps we moved them outside to an old poultry building on the farm. We’re still not sure how, but somehow one of our cats (Felix) broke into the building and killed another 7 birds. We shored up the building, Felix licked his chops and the remaining turkeys licked their wounds. Down to 28 birds. A couple of weeks later we moved the survivors to the chicken coop to temporarily live with their dumber cousins. Then another rookie mistake: one of us forgot to close the chicken door one night and some kind of predator got in and killed 8 turkeys, a duck, and a few chickens. And then there were twenty!  We ended up losing one more bird that appeared to be killed by a bird of prey while roosting. Very odd..

So 19 turkeys survived out of 40. So let’s talk about revenues first. One lesson I learned from my days at a desk was that it’s FUN to manage ABOVE the line! Selling stuff is fun…it’s the part about managing the associated expenses that’s not so much fun…so after butchering the birds we ended up with 236 1/2  total pounds of dressed turkeys for an average weight of 12.5 lbs. (technically, they’re undressed, aren’t they?)  We had decided to donate a couple of birds to local charities as auction items, so we ended up selling:

17 birds x 12.5 lbs. x $10/LB = $2125 total revenue

Bird Cost:                                $450

Electricity (heat lamps):      $40 (estimated)

Feed:                                         $1134.75 (89 bags of feed at $12.75/bag)

Supplies:                                  $37 (additional feeders, waterers)

Time:                                        $380 (15 minutes a day at $7.25/hour for our time)

Butchering time/supplies   $125.75 (6 people for 2 1/2 hours at $7.25/hour PLUS $32 in supplies)

Fuel to deliver turkeys:         $35

TOTAL EXPENSES:             $2202.50

So…subtracting expenses from revenues and you get a net loss of $77.50. A couple of things to note: things would have been a bit better if we hadn’t lost so many birds early in the season. We also could have added $250 in revenue if we hadn’t made the donations, but it’s part of what our farm is about.  But remember-we operate a fairly large vegetable farm too, so our feed costs are much, much lower than they would have been if we hadn’t been able to feed them hundreds of pounds of squash, tomatoes, melons, etc. Also, and I didn’t add this to the costs, the turkeys ate approximately 4,000 of our onions back in August. At an average retail price of $.75, they ate another $3000 that I didn’t figure in. (joking, but only partly. They did eat the onions) Note that we did not account for building costs, depreciation, insurance, etc. And finally, the time we spent with these birds is grossly underestimated. But since we didn’t pay ourselves anyway, what does it matter?

So..here’s where things come apart for me:  our average CHICK cost us $23.68 after you factor in the cost for the birds that perished. (their survival rate is never 100%)  Our largest dressed bird weighed 18.5 pounds and sold for $185.  And the guy on the radio was selling 18.5 pound birds for $14.25 EACH. And he wasn’t growing them himself-he’s merely re-selling them! 

This exact same scenario plays out almost every single time that we purchase a factory raised food product-meat, seafood, or vegetable.  

Color me puzzled. Have a great holiday season everyone. 

Jeff

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