For many of us in the area, a day in the country is something we take for granted. The wide open space, the chickens and livestock milling about, the freshly grown produce — all of these are experiences that local farmers Jeff and Nancy Kirstein are excited to share with others.
The Good Earth Farm, just five miles south of Lennox on Highway 17, is hosting “Sundays at the Good Earth Farm” starting this Sunday, July 11.
Nancy said the event each Sunday will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Visitors will be able to enjoy food from a different food truck each weekend, beer, wine or soda, see the farm animals and, occasionally, enjoy live music.
These Sunday afternoon events are just one of the ways that the Kirsteins have expanded the use of their farm.
It was in 2011 that Jeff and Nancy purchased the farm to create a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). This year Nancy said they have about 75 shares. She said they do most of the work of planting, caring for and harvesting the local produce, although some come to pick their own during harvest time.
Along with the CSA, the Good Earth Farm is home to several rescue animals—two very large pigs, a miniature cow, two miniature donkeys, a flock of chickens, a couple of dogs and some farm cats.
Wanting to share the whole farm experience with the world, Nancy and Jeff have come up with several more ways to utilize the space and give people a chance to see what a real working farm is like.
Just this year they got through all the rezoning requirements to allow camping on the property and also to rent out the beautifully renovated barn as a venue for weddings, reunions, and other special events.
The refurbished 1890s barn is a three-level barn. Nancy said the farm was previously owned by the Adrian Elcock family. They uncovered a date written in pencil on one of the barn walls, it read: Jan. 27, 1897.
The history of the farm is something they hope to preserve. The basement level is cool, even on a 97 degree summer day.
“It’s temperature controlled down here,” Nancy said, thanks to thick stone walls built nearly 125 years ago.
Nancy said they called the space the “manger” as animals used to live there. The stone foundation remains original and after excavation, a new wooden floor was put in, as well as electrical. The space provides a very cool, intimate atmosphere.
Upstairs the wide open space of the barn features new flooring, new windows and soon, a stained glass window on the west side. Projects really never end said Nancy.
Work on the barn was interrupted this spring when Jeff contracted COVID-19 in March. Jeff had a long battle with the virus, requiring extended hospitalization and supplemental oxygen when returning home. Now though, the couple is moving full steam ahead.
Nancy said Jeff had a vision for the deck that is being installed on the east side of the barn. Now that he is back working on the farm again, the couple hopes to have that project complete for the first “Sunday at the Good Earth Farm”.
The spacious deck will allow for more outdoor seating and will have an ADA accessible ramp for guests.
The lean-tos on the sides of the barn were likely added later than 1897 said Nancy, the one on the north houses the farm shop that features extra produce from the CSA, homemade goods and other locally produced items.
“This turned out so much better than I anticipated,” Nancy said during a tour of the space.
The other renovated building, an old curved roof chicken coop will have a new purpose, serving as a space for brides to get ready, and maybe other uses as well.
“It has just evolved,” said Nancy about all the changes at the farm.
“We saw a need for event space, and a way to use the barn that keeps it around for another 100 years,” she said.
The campsites on the farm are available for rent through a link on their website: www.thegoodearth.us.
Tent campsites sit along the creek that runs near the back of the property. Mowed walking paths and even picnic tables dot the pasture. There is also an RV spot, complete with electricity.
“It’s a great place for family reunions with the campground and barn venue,” Nancy added.
The farm runs with Jeff and Nancy doing the bulk of the work; they also have the help of summer interns each year. The farming internship is designed for anyone who wants to learn what it takes to run their own farming/CSA operation. Nancy said everyone who has taken part in the program has gone on to own their own farm or into a food career.
To take part in this Sunday’s event, stop out July 11th between 1-5 p.m. for food, fun, animals, and more. This Sunday’s food truck will be Chubby’s Food Truck featuring Mexican food. Leashed dogs are welcome. See the full summer Sunday’s lineup in The Good Earth Farm ad, found below.