Erma’s Garden

We like to eat and we like to drink beer.  Our farm is a result of this simple motivation.  Good food and good beer are easier to get now than when we started dabbling in farming and brewing a decade ago, but it’s too late for us.  We are hooked on getting these things the hard way, the expensive way;  we do it ourselves.

Located in SE Michigan, just a few minutes from Toledo, OH, we have 30 acres to play with.  We currently use perhaps only two.   In the 1830’s the land was just emerging from the swamp. The primary structure, built in the late 1970’s, was a 13,000 square foot abandoned confinement commercial veal barn.  (Update: This barn burned down July 23, 2013.) The property has a long and sad history.  And yet, when we are at the farm, we could not be happier.  Perhaps it is the woods, the golden fields, the cheerful chickens.  Then again, it might just be the beer.

In the last ten years our farming attempts have grown slowly. As we reconstruct both the barn and the land, we now keep 60 hens, three roosters, a random bantam, annual wandering heritage breed turkeys as well as fat healthy chickens for the freezer, a purebred Duroc breed hog named Miss Hibbitz, two charming Emues and a productive, although limited, vegetable garden.  Our goal for the next five years is to expand our farm to welcome Miss Hibbitz’ piglets, ducks, goats, sheep and, possibly, cattle.  We’d like you to come with us on our journey.  

As wanna-be farmers, we’ve adopted the philosophy of Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Our animals should know only one bad day – and we want to make even that day as gentle as possible.   While we farm without chemicals, we do not strive to be an organic farm.  Forget the labels: we want only to be a happy healthy farm.  In order to have time to relax with a pint or two of IPA, we seek to incorporate many of Salatin’s sustainable farming practices, which are predicated on a natural rotation of crop and animal so they in effect do a lot of the work for the farmer.  We shall soon see.

So we invite you to learn with us, learn from us, and, if you get hungry, to join our Community Supported Agriculture venture.  

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