Our eco farm is home to a whole bunch of sustainable agriculture projects. If you are interested in agricultural that works, you should check out our projects. Projects include chickens, ducks, quail, and an orchard.
I did my PhD in disease preventing herbal medicines. Toly is a physician with a lifelong interest in well being. We are growing and produces all kinds of disease preventing herbal medicines on the farm.
Vinegar is a really interesting substance. When its unpasteurized, it acts as a probiotic and has a ton of different health advantages. Ours is made from the organic fruit on the farm, so, it's all natural. Click on the button to the left for more information.
We raise egg producing chickens on the farm and are working with several heritage breeds. At the moment, we are trying to develop a better layer for the egg producer.
Incidentally, these projects result in an overflow of PRODUCE which we sell to one very famous local restaurant, L'auberge Chez Francois. The management at this fantastic DC restaurant are super supportive of our local agriculture project and use our stuff whenever they can. If you want to sample Doctor Schar Eco Farm produce…. make your way to Chez Francois!
Ducks have been raised for meat and eggs since the beginning of time because of their extreme efficiency. So efficient, we are doing a project figuring out how they fit into the sustainable farm story.
A word about sustainable.
For us, it has a bunch of meanings.
First of all, this agriculture sustains us. Literally. Our little farm produces healthy food which we use to feed our bodies and other peoples bodies. Good food sustains you, bad food kills you. So, we produce food that will sustain you.
Sustainable also means agriculture that you can sustain. Sustain in the sense of keep doing it for a long time. As an example, we grow grapes that are native to North America. They like to live here because they are from here. We collected wild grapes growing along the River near the farm and have been using them as breeding stock. After all, they live, all on their own, along the nearby river. They pump out grapes with little or no intervention. We tried growing European grapes and it was a colossal disaster. Every bug in the world at them, every disease known to grapes attacked them, and they kept freezing out. I don't know what those toxic chemicals do to a person, but, I am not willing to find out. Because when you spay, operative word SPRAY, you get that stuff all over yourself. Growing European grapes was not a sustainable activity. If you have to spray a plant with bottles and bottles of toxic chemicals to keep it alive, that is just not a sustainable plant. Growing North American grapes is an activity I can sustain. I trim them once a year and they reward me with buckets of grapes.
So, we are working with plants that can live without a whole bunch of work and chemicals. That is sustainable. We have a project where we are studying what plants will produce fruit without the use of chemicals that like to live here.
Then there are the egg production projects. If you want to produce eggs, you just buys some chickens, right? Wrong. Its actually quite complicated. Turns out most chickens that are raised to lay eggs have been living in chicken factories for so long survival instincts have been breed out of them. They are super vulnerable to fox, raccoon, possum, skunk, and coyote attack. In fact, they just stand there and watch their relatives been slaughtered. One of the things we are doing is breeding some wild chicken genetics into our chicken lines because wild chickens know how to survive predators. Chickens with wild chicken blood in them perch in trees at night. High above where the predators can get them. By day the roosters stand guard over the hens and if they see a hawk or a fox, they scream bloody murder and get the girls to safety. Having all your chickens wiped out by foxes all the time is not sustainable agriculture. Thats disappearing agriculture. So, our chicken project includes keeping chickens alive so they CAN lay eggs.
Though we are not looking to get rich, this operation has to be sustainable financially. We have spent time selling at farmers markets which turned to be quite a joke. The shoppers continuously gave us grief about the price of eggs. People say they want local, organic, and all natural, but most of them do not want to pay for it. The farmers market angle turned out to be a money losing nightmare. So, we have had to look into things we can do at the farm that actually make money. Because, when people want to pay $2.00 a dozen for eggs and they cost us $4.00 a dozen, that is not sustainable. As I explained to one lovely woman at the farmers market, and I quote myself, "my idea of charity is not a farm that subsidizes rich peoples desire for organic produce and to satisfy their even deeper desire to not pay what it costs." This farm has to sustain us financially or its not sustainable. Stay tuned for that one, we are still working on it.
Anyhow, sustainable is a really cool complex concept and below you can read about the specific sustainable projects we are working on at the moment. Its always a freak show around here, so, at a minimum, you will be entertained by reading about our ongoing projects. Check back in and you can have a laugh at our expense. Also, if you want to sustain yourself with some agriculture, you might find some good tips that we have learned along the way.
The farm has a six acre orchard. But, growing fruit without chemicals is a lot harder than originally imagined. We now produce an astonishing amount of fruit. But, it took some doing to make that happen and has turned into quite the project.