We began Brambleberry Farm in the fall of 2003 on land that Esprí’s parents generously share with us in the beautiful hills of s outhern Indiana. We started out as primarily a market garden and CSA, producing (non-certified) organic produce using no-till methods, and avoiding petroleum-based machinery such as tractors and tillers, which may compact the garden soil when over-used. While we were supporting ourselves with annual produce production we were also developing a complex food forest of perennial fruit trees and berries, which became the propagation base for our current fruit, nut, and berry nursery. Since building our strawbale house on an adjacent area of the property we have begun developing new permaculture systems around the new house. Our old garden beds have become an opportunity for a farm incubator project, and we are focusing our efforts on permaculture systems around our new house as well as a new grass-fed beef operation on a neighbor’s property down the road, and our hand-crafted wooden kitchen utensil business.
Currently we are developing a 3.5 acre pasture by rotating different species of livestock through it to improve the soil with their grazing, manure, and trampling behaviors. In 2010 we plant ed mixed orchard rows running N-S on 60’ centers within this system to increase the yields of the given acreage once the trees mature. We have grazed sheep, pigs, chickens and geese in this system, but this year we are limiting the grazers to chickens. We felt this was necessary in order to free up time for the start-up needs of the new beef operation, and also to break parasite cycles on the pasture. We have tentative plans to graze sheep and/or geese again next year, and when the orchard starts bearing, we will put more hogs in the system to clean up the fruit drops.
Education and support for homesteaders and market gardeners is a large part of our mission. We do this through affordable consulting services, internships, and tours.
Our small fruit, nut, and berry nursery has become a major component of our farm and income. We feel like the success of organic cultivation practices is dependant on selecting appropriate plant varieties. We focus on searching out and propagating fruit and berry plants that are pest and disease resistant, and also adapted to regional conditions (soils, climate), in order to help our customers succeed in homesteading and organic production.
Darren manages a small herd of beef cows in partnership with a neighbor, Larry Moore, as Moore Brambleberry Enterprises. The entirely grass-fed, grass-finished cattle are registered Black Angus, from older lines that have been bred for smaller frame size and to fatten well on just
grass. Grass-finished beef has many health benefits, and we never use sub therapeutic antibiotics nor growth hormones in our beef production. But our number one priority, apart from providing healthy and flavorful meat, is building soil and rehabilitating the land.
We have combined our love of art, good food and caring for the environment in our wooden utensils, cutting boards, and other small handcrafts. We use wood from local and sustainable sources, and both of us are avid cooks, so you can be assured that our pieces are designed and engineered to function as well as they look!