In the fall of 2007, we went to a rabbit show at the Fairgrounds in OKC and there we met Barley – a large French Lop, our first encounter with a rabbit larger than a small dog. We immediately fell in love, took him home, and named him Barley. He now presides over the whole house. We also have two Lionhead rabbits and a small geriatric Holland Lop. They all love our home-grown veggies and herbs and each devours at least 3-4 plates a day. There’s much less enthusiasm for anything store-bought!
My mother (Jo), brother (Dan), and I (Liz) have lived on my grandfather’s 160 acre farm northeast of Norman since 1982 and we’ve always had a small garden. In 2007 we began growing a variety of traditional and interesting herbs, planted a small asparagus patch, and grew our first heirloom tomatoes (the Cherokee Purple). The wonderful flavors and varieties of heirloom vegetables is amazing, and we now try to find organic or untreated heirloom varieties of many of the vegetable seeds we grow. Dan joined the business in 2010 and has expanded our business to include chickens, bees, and small fruits (including table grapes, blackberries, and strawberries).
The notion that we might be able to grow enough to sale some of our wonderful veggies and herbs at a farmer’s market is now becoming a reality thanks to the numerous meetings about sustainable agriculture and growing for farmers markets held in Oklahoma, and the increased awareness and determination to eat safe, healthy, and local sustainable food. We use Integrated Pest and Disease Management Practices (IPM), which means we rarely use non-natural methods of disease and pest control. Occasionally, when there is a possibility of crop loss and after using all natural cultural and chemical controls, we may have to use a traditional herbicide (on heavy bermuda patches 2 years prior to planting crops), fungicide (only on fruit crops), or pesticide (only on fruit crops when Organic measures could not control the pest – this has rarely occurred in the 3 years we have been growing fruit).
Our chickens are rotated through our fields and gardens and eat lots of grass and bugs. They are supplemented with locally grown grains from Shawnee Mill, which are not guaranteed to NOT contain GMO, soy, herbicide, etc., unfortunately. However, we have been unable to find an organic feed source that is economical or that customers are willing to pay for. The chickens’ primary diet is a continual buffet of fresh grass, bugs, and garden cast-offs, and they eat little supplemental grain when their surroundings are so full of life and nutrients.
We sell our produce during the summer at the Norman Farmer’s Market Wednesdays and Saturdays 8am-noon, and at The Earth in Norman, Native Roots in Bricktown, through the coop here, and off the farm when anybody decides to drop by.