Welcome to our farm blog, a place where we ruminate about farm life, what we grow and how we grow.
I'm hoping to use this blog as a way to invite community into the process of building Highland Springs. We are constantly working on a multitude of projects and learning what we can build and make from the source here at the springs, so I'll use this space to share ideas, projects, plans, successes, failures, and all the things we learn, while trying to steward this land and grow with her.
We've been farming Highland Springs for three years. In 2020 we started a vegetable CSA to meet higher demand for local food in the height of the pandemic.
To give you a little background about our motivations, I should tell you that I, Sarah, came to farming here with Matthew by way of running a farm to table restaurant in Buffalo, NY. My sister, Eliza, and I opened merge restaurant in 2009, when we moved back to Buffalo and found a glaring hole in the availability of vegetable based food options in the city. At merge, we sourced local vegetables, offered vegetarian, vegan and raw food options, and sourced ethically raised whole chicken and grass fed bison from local farmers.
Cut to needing a break from the rush and tumble of fast paced restaurant life, finding ourselves on a farm, when the pandemic hit, I still had deep urges to grow and feed community. Growing vegetables was some of the most rewarding and enlightening work I've ever done, but it took a massive toll on my body, so this year, for the first time, I'm only growing vegetables for family, friends, events, and preservation (we grow 100% of the vegetables we eat at home). We are now concentrating our professional economy entirely on flowers.
Flowers feed us too
In an effort to continue feeding and supporting our community, our flower gardens and landscapes are grown using the same (no chemical) regenerative techniques. We concentrate on growing native species and specialty cut flowers for events. Our flowers are nutrient dense and some are edible, just like our vegetables. But flowers feed us in an entirely different way. Growing flowers, we are growing the gift of beauty, of temporal expression and artistry. Flowers remind us that life is fleeting and that we must enjoy the goodness and the beauty, while we can. The gift of flowers is a gift of appreciation and love beyond time.
AND, it's absolutely amazing how much life flowers can support.
Flowers support the life that supports us, in less obvious ways. The birds, the bees, the caterpillars and butterflies that pollinate and perpetuate systems of growth all depend on natural flora. Flower farming supports bacterial and fungal systems that build top soil, which is more important than ever, because we live in a world/country where the soil is actively being destroyed by large scale agricultural systems.
Buying local flowers for your events and celebrations is a vote for a smaller carbon footprint and stronger local economy.
I can't even begin to tell you how fulfilling it has been to grow and arrange flowers on our farm. I love seeing the bugs, receiving my minerals straight from the earth, being able to grow our food along with the flowers, and sharing the beauty and delight of these gorgeous gifts with all of you.
What your flower purchase supports
As we steward this land, we have planted orchards and perennials, so we can share in the future of our local food economy. We experiment with different scales of grain, seed, and protein production. I am a permaculturalist, so at Highland Springs, we are constantly developing systems that close nutrient loops and save precious resources and energy. Matthew is a carpenter, and we have begun harvesting, milling, drying and planning shared buildings for future recreation and lodging. When a tree is felled for wood, I can use delicate branches in designs and installations. As a master preserver, I've spent the last five years developing a way to eat well using 100% locally grown produce in our northern climate, and I have plans to share all that I've learned, along with the items that we preserve in the future.
We appreciate your support as we do that work that we feel contributes to a stronger and more resilient local economy.
We'd love to hear from you, if you want to be involved in any of our projects, or just spend some time in the flowers.
Thank you for being here, with us,