It has been more than eight years since Jessica Foote returned home to her family farm on Gray Road in Janetville to launch her version of a modern day mixed farm incorporating new and traditional farming techniques in her unique business. As in the days of old, some of the “heavy lifting” on her farm is performed by horses, which are used to plough and cultivate the ten+ acres of vegetables grown at Lunar Rhythm Gardens.
Jessica recognized her interest in farming at an early age, working closely with her father on the farm where they raised pigs and dairy cattle. Displaying an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, Jessica raised laying hens throughout high school until her departure for college. It was a circuitous route back home, as she worked on a dairy farm during her college years, then as a logger, and eventually interning at a farm that inspired the vision that has taken shape in Janetville. Combining her extensive experience with some farm business training and logging practice, she continues to grow her version of a sustainable, community-based farm operation.
The product list at Lunar Rhythm is extensive and growing. Jessica broadens her offerings by partnering with other local producers including lamb from Yellowlee’s family farm in Nestleton, and apples from Prima Orchard. On her farm, with the help of her colleague Kyle, intern Annica and a group of summer students, Jessica grows a wide range of vegetables, from the traditional peas, beans and Swiss chard to mesclun and some unusual Asian greens. All vegetable products are certified organic.
The 100 acre farm is also home to chickens raised on vegetables from the garden and the farm’s own grain mix which consists of a wheat, rye and barley mix. The laying hens run outdoors and turkeys are accommodated in a bank barn with outdoor access. This year the farm will add grass fed chickens to their list of productions, which will be offered in whole or half portions on a first come first serve basis.
Other animals raised on the farm are grass fed beef, pork and limited quantities of veal. As much as possible, the animal feed comes from their own fields. Some meat products can be purchased by individual cuts which are wrapped and frozen, while others require the purchase of a half to a whole animal, which will be custom cut to order.
While customers can purchase products at the farm or at Farmers’ Markets in local communities including Millbrook, Lakefield and Port Perry, the business also offers Community Shared Agricultural shares. This popular agricultural model provides consumers with a wide variety of high quality, fresh vegetables at an affordable price, while supporting small scale, environmentally and community oriented food production. It is a model based on a partnership between farmers and local consumers who share the risk associated with growing food and provides income security to food producers, keeps food production income in the community, and reduces the environmental footprint of food production.
To see this farm in action, plan to attend their Open House event on May 27th, from 10 am until 4 pm at 253 Gray Road in Janetville and see how this young farmer and her staff put their own spin on modern mixed farming. KG