This grower has a photo album.
Solace farm is Caleb and Amy Rae, in Coalmont, TN, and our 3 boys ages 6, 3, and 6 months. We are both graduates of The University of the South, and Caleb is a Physician Assistant in Coalmont. We have a variety of animals – a few chickens, geese, and turkeys, lots of ducks (40?), 19 Scottish Highland cattle, lots of goats (50 does, +50 babies in spring), 13 alpacas, 5 sheep, one miniature horse, bees, dogs and cats of course, and we’re always adding something. We believe the best way to do things is often the harder way, and sum this up in our slogan – By Hand! We do virtually everything by hand here, from growing the corn to grind into cornflour, to spinning the yarn to knit the slippers, tanning the goatskin for the soles on the slippers, butchering the goat for the hide for the slippers, splitting firewood, making pasta, laundry soap, granola, etc. We consider ourselves a homestead rather than a farm, dedicated to meeting as much of our own needs as possible, then providing excess to our local customers. We are off-grid with solar power, rainwater collection, wood heat, and no A/C or phone lines.
Our farm is located on a reclaimed stripmine, so gardening is a bit more difficult here than on many farms. We use raised beds, made with reclaimed cinderblocks and filled them with leaf mulch, old hay, compost, and a variety of manures, and continue to amend them with compost, aged manure, etc. We are Certified Naturally Grown, and therefore follow all organic rules, regulations, restrictions, and guidelines. I am a big fan of mulching instead of weeding, and planting things as closely as possible to also prevent weeds. If any fertilizer is needed, we use the output of our livestock, as well as composting everything possible and using green manure crops. For bug control, we utilize the poultry as much as possible (they love June bugs and Japanese beetles!) as well as garlic and Neem oil sprays and hand-picking – we never use non-organic chemicals. In 2013 we put in a large unheated hoophouse for winter growing, enabling us to have greens, carrots, beets, etc. most or all of the year. We’ve discovered it is also great for several summer crops as well, heat-lovers like melons, okra, and sweet potatoes (my record so far is a 6.75 lb whopper). We’ve also started growing figs and bananas in there – if we can manage not to eat all the figs ourselves, we’d love to share some on the market! We have several hundred strawberry plants in outside beds, and sell them both fresh, and dried, and as jam. I raise quite a bit of garlic and have that available on the market until Christmas or so. I also have herbs, both fresh in the summer and dried all year-round. I often have other produce such as cabbage, broccoli, snow peas, spinach, kale, mustard greens, green beans, radishes, sweet potatoes – whatever I’ve managed to grow more of than we can eat ourselves. I love to grow new things, and am continually trying something new in addition to my staples – brassicas, carrots, beets, greens, and of course garlic. Year-round I have hand-ground cornflour, granola, and sometimes homemade pastas.
We currently have around 40 duck hens and a few drakes, and you will often find our eggs here on the market (and in pasta when available). We also have Scottish Highland beef available most of the year, as well as the occasional lamb from our small-but-growing flock. Our livestock is all raised with intensive grazing, moving to fresh pasture every day except in the winter. We never use any hormones, and only use antibiotics in medical situations (4 times ever so far, only on female cows, never males for slaughter). We never feed grain – only grass, hay and mineral supplements, with a protein supplement in winter.
We also have alpacas, and I do all the processing of raw fleece and spinning of yarn myself. While I don’t have many listings on the market for fleece, yarn, or knitted items, it’s because they’re mostly one-of-a-kind – I have a variety of yarns available as well as knitted items, and raw fleece as well. I love spinning and knitting and welcome commission work. I can knit just about anything for anyone – check out the photo galleries on my website for some pictures of both yarn and knitted items.
I also make lotion bars, body butters, and deodorants, and soaps both vegetable-oil based and goat’s milk, in both scented and unscented varieties. I source my supplies from reliable sources, and buy organic as much as possible. I don’t often label organic ingredients on the labels, but many are, and I always use local beeswax, if not my own. I attempt to use natural essential oils as much as possible, although I do use some fragrance oils as well. I welcome special requests – I have made mini-lotions as wedding favors, and would love to work with you on your special project, or just make that shape in this fragrance.
Feel free to stop by and get a tour of the farm, we love visitors and welcome anyone, especially in the spring to see the baby lambs, goat kids, and alpaca crias. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 235-7462 for directions, and please visit our website, read the blog and get a peek at what goes on out here at Solace Farm!