Thursday, December 10, 2009


Frequently Asked Questions about Tree Gate Farm:

What do you grow? Do you have any animals? Have you thought about selling "x"?

Oh boy, here goes: We grow a pretty diverse range of plants, chickens, pigs, and soon to be mushrooms. One of our farm's main goals is to raise healthy plants and animals in as much of a balanced polyculture system as possible. There was already a small apple orchard planted by our friends Kate and Jeff, before they sold us "the land." We currently have several varieties of dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees, a few cherry trees, plum trees, and lots of hybrid hazel nut shrubs. There are also some delicious, prolific black raspberries, blackberries, and elderberries well established in several of the hedgerows. We are encouraging and propagating them to increase our "wild harvested" berries. There was also a great household garden-gone-wild in the backyard of the farmhouse. If there is such a term, we have more "feral garlic" than we know what to do with. We're continually amazed by the variety of plants that keep popping up among the "weedy" house garden that are edibles, medicinals, or just have some great flowers. Thanks to the previous owners for unleashing all these wonderful plants.

We now have a large collection of herbs, new raspberries, blueberries, hardy kiwi, and two new varieties of elderberries (impulse purchase). We've experimented with two varieties of Jerusalem artichokes, and we test planted a number of cover crops last season. We'll have to determine which ones to use next year, as we continue to evaluate how they perform at out-competing the many weeds we have in our pasture-turned-forest farm.
Dean has begun propagating additional fruit, berries, and nut trees including from some of our existing mature shagbark hickories. For these first few years, we will be interplanting these long-term crops with annuals and perennial herbs and ground covers that we can sell in the meantime. As we add more posts about our farm plan, you'll understand that "What do you grow?" is a question that is certain to get you a long and rambling answer.

Where do you sell your produce?

That's another good question. We're still working on that and suspect it will be an evolving answer. The local foods movement in Ithaca is changing at a rapid pace, and we aim to integrate our social justice goals with trying to make a living from farming. We'll post more details as the year(s) goes on.
2012 Update: We're selling produce from sometime in April till late Fall at Felicia's Atomic Lounge on Friday's

Do you have a CSA?

Sorry, we're not currently running a CSA (community supported agriculture). We decided that with our evolving plans, it was too rushed to sell shares in this year's uncertain harvest --particularly when we have little, or no history, on which to base our yields. If you're interested in helping support Tree Gate Farm through a CSA, please send us a note, and we'll add you to the list of potential members. In the meantime, there are some great CSAs in the Ithaca area. PLEASE go out and support one of your local farms if a CSA relationship works for you (See the resource page for local CSA operations and area farm).

We sell shares of our pork (by the 1/2) and we have a $100 CSA share that buys you a $100 dollars in credit that you can pick up on Fridays at our stand at Felicia's Atomic Lounge.

PS Thanks to all the family and friends who've offered to support us through a CSA!

Are you organic?

I think most people want to know if we are USDA Organic Certified. Currently we are NOT certified, nor will we be applying this year. We will sign the "farmer's pledge," administered by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. We have not, to the best of our knowledge, violated any of the conditions that would prohibit us from pursuing certification ... but given the amount of paperwork required, it's a project we won't tackle til next year, at the earliest. If you want to know how we farm, read the blog, come visit during one of our farm tours, or ask questions when you see us at market. We're happy to share our philosophy on farming, and hope to be transparent in our practices.

Why would you leave a cushy desk job to become a farmer?

If you could see the smile on my face whenever I describe working on the forest farm... ya gotta do what you love. 'nuf said.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tree Gate Farm- Wish List

We have a number of projects, and we could always use help in finding low/no cost supplies. Reusing old equipment is always our preference over buying new, so if you come across someone else's "junk" that could help us build our farm, let us know. THANKS!

Some of our projects include:
Low tunnels
Compost/soil amendments
Jeep/ATV as our "Tractor"
Rainwater capture and irrigation
Market trailer
Livestock infrastructure
Biochar kiln
Food Processing
Solar Dehydrator
Solar Concentrator

...the detailed listing after the jump.

Welcome to Tree Gate Farm

For those of you who've been waiting to hear about the farm's's finally cold enough for me to do some work indoors. :-)