To truly know our story is to know our backgrounds.
Kirk grew up on the land we now farm. His grandparents bought the property in 1960, with the hope of it being a retirement project. Dr. D, as he was known to all, created Leisure Acres, a small nursery that grew boxwood, and the holly we use in Christmas designs today, among other things. His project also became a training ground for his 3 grandsons. They worked with their granddad on his large vegetable garden, chopping wood, and planting in the nursery. Kirk's greatest childhood memories are of fresh sweet corn off the stalk, ripe melons from the vine, and a small "free to friends and family" pick your own strawberry patch. Every summer after church, people would gather on the deck for homemade ice cream and conversation. It was under Dr. D's gentle guidance that Kirk learned the value of hard work.
I grew up in Atlanta and “yard work” was a popular Saturday occurrence in our house. Chores were handed out by my father and no one was spared. My sister, brother and I each always hoping we did not get the dreaded job of "weeding"! At 10, I thought the work was sweaty, smelly, and dirty. As I grew, I have realized what a wonderful world I was exposed to early on. “Yard work”, and my love of it, has also become my life's work. I am at my most content when I am elbow deep in potting soil or compost, with a smudge of dirt on my face, and no chance of ever getting my jeans clean again. It may seem strange, but walking in a greenhouse is like coming home: it can lift my spirits for hours.
Kirk graduated from Auburn with his horticulture degree with an emphasis in fruits and vegetables, and went to work at NC State as a Research Tech. I have my horticulture degree from Virginia Tech with an emphasis in horticulture education. Be careful when you are near me, I may talk your ear off about how cool plants are and why they do what they do if you are not careful. I also spent a year at the Threave School of Practical Gardening in Castle Douglas, Scotland so I have a great appreciation for British gardens, design and their unique plants. Kirk, is the quieter one of the two of us but don't let that fool you, he can talk your ear off on veggies, too, if you ask.
Kirk and I met when I came to work as the Education Coordinator for Pike Family Nurseries in Birmingham. He was one of the Assistant Managers of the store. I had been working for IKEA in Philly as the quality control person for all the indoor plants. When they planned to move to Houston, I decided getting closer to home was in order. Kirk, too, had decided to come home from NC State to help with his aging grandparents. Since graduating Auburn, Kirk always wanted to return and continue Dr' D's legacy. He began by starting a small native plant nursery, Leisure Farms, which was mostly shade plants. Parts of it are still seen in the plantings around our house.
We are currently living in the house Kirk grew up in where we are teaching the same values of hard work, love of the land and sense of community to our 3 sons. About 5 years ago we had roughly 4 acres of land cleared with the goal to put in a farm and start a CSA. We began adding cover crops, amending the soil and dreaming big. We started raising chickens for eggs about 3 years ago. The veggies and flowers started in earnest last year. Kirk is learning to add flowers to his concept and I am learning to like tomatoes- it is a fun partnership. We are adding a high tunnel this spring for more year-round growing and micro-irrigation which will give the plants water just where it is needed. Future plans include raising bees and raising pigs but for now, raising our current crops, along with our kids, is enough for us.
Our Farming Philosophy:
Our focus is to begin with the right variety, whether it be animal, vegetable, or flower, at the right time, and treat it in the most sustainable way possible, to grow the best quality product we can. To us, CSA not only stands for Community Supported Agriculture, but Cultivating Seasonal Appetites by bringing you the best that nature provides.
Our chickens are free range and pasture raised, which means they have a large fenced area with a coop for roosting and a separate covered area for food and nesting boxes. This gives them the ability to forage outside for bugs and grubs every day, but also be protected from predators. In addition, they sometimes eat leftovers from the garden.
For our crops, we begin with healthy plants and keep them that way. We rotate our vegetable and cut flower crops, intermix with trap crops, and grow cover crops to keep disease and insect pest pressures down. We are committed to growing without the use of herbicides or conventional pesticides. Occasionally, we might need to use alternative methods if an infestation or disease is threatening the entire crop. We do our best to keep this to a minimum. We pledge to adhere to natural practices to maintain our organic matter and soil diversity on our farm.