6 Quality Farms Dedicated To Responsible Practices
More and more of what Americans eat comes from enormous agribusinesses that prioritize profits over compassion and health, but there are still companies committed to being respectful to the environment and training the next generation of farmers while providing nutritious food. In no particular order, here are some places that produce good things to eat using sustainable methods.
At #1, we start things off with the biodynamic and regenerative organic Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, California, an hour's drive north of Los Angeles, which has operated since 2011 with a philosophy that all things are connected. An emphasis is placed on soil health, biodiversity, and nutritious crops. The farmers point out how one species assists another; for instance, the cows fertilize the pastures, while birds consume plant-destroying insects.
Apricot Lane produces over 200 different fruits, vegetables, and animals, including pigs, Speckled Sussex chickens, Campbell ducks, figs, Shishito peppers, avocados, at least nine varieties of cherry tomatoes, and Satsuma plums. The operation was also the subject of a theatrically-released 2019 documentary.
Coming in at #2 is Topsy Farms, situated in the northwest corner of Amherst Island in Ontario, Canada. The company sells both online and on-site at a shop called the Wool Shed. Topsy Farms also offers various seasonal activities, including scavenger hunts, kayaking tours of Lake Ontario, and workshops that teach people how to use indigo dye.
In addition to agricultural tourism that seeks to help visitors connect to the land, Topsy Farms produces wares which include aran, fingering, and worsted weight yarns, sheepskins, alpaca wool throws and other blankets, and bedding-related items like pillows, duvets, and mattress toppers, as well as insoles, mittens, and moccasins. Meanwhile, foodstuffs that are sold include yearling, young mutton, lamb, kidneys, liver, and raw honey.
Our #3 selection is Vital Farms, a company that sells pasture-raised eggs, butter, and ghee. The organization emphasizes its commitment to the humane treatment of animals, sustainable growing practices, and what it calls conscious capitalism. Hens get at least 108 square feet of vegetation-rich land to wander, with lots of opportunities to forage edible grasses, succulents, and wildflowers.
One initiative that Vital Farms offers its customers is traceability, which allows consumers to see where a given carton of eggs originates. Every box comes from one of 200 family farms in an area of the United States the company labels the Pasture Belt for its climate that allows for foraging year-round. The curious can even visit these suppliers online via the Virtual Passport.
At #4 is the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, a nonprofit that serves the farming sector in New York's Hudson Valley. The group promotes regenerative agriculture and the idea that food production drives economic prosperity and helps bring people together. The organization also creates reports about the industry, such as Pastured Protein: Ecological, Humane and Healthy Meat from the Hudson Valley, which argues for the region's natural suitability for livestock cultivation.
In addition, the Glynwood Center helps train the next generation. The group offers various apprenticeships, manages workshops like Regional Cooking for Health, and operates the Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator. The organization also practices what it preaches by engaging in regenerative agriculture, which emphasizes bolstering the soil and maintaining the ecosystem.
Next up, at #5, is Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm in Old Lyme, Connecticut, which produces milk, cheese, yogurt, and gelato from Frisland and Romney sheep and Jersey Cows. Beaver Brook also sells various meats, often in prepared foods such as pesto and lamb curry stew, as well as poultry items like chicken turnovers.
The farm also has a shop that offers hand-spun wool garments like vests, mittens, and moisture-wicking socks, linens like blankets, and gear such as what the store calls hobo bags for toting around small objects. Beaver Brook also offers skeins and cones of wool yarn for those who wish to build their own creations.
Coming in at #6 is Bluebird Grain Farms, which is located in the Methow Valley in Washington. This small company sows, harvests, and sun-cures organic ancient grains, some of which are milled to order to make flour. Before sale, the harvest is stored in wooden silos to maintain freshness.
The company grows hearty plants like emmer and einkorn farro, rye, and two kinds of spring wheat, plus cover crops to aid sustainability. Bluebird's other wares include sourdough starter and yeast, which can be combined with its flour to make homemade bread. The farm's shop also sells honey, fruit syrups, sea salt, tea, and some apparel.