|A way of life supported by the community
By Mary Ann Doyle, Associate Editor Star Journal
July 14, 2012
and Jenny Tuckey first laid eyes on their farmstead in Sugar Camp three
years ago, they didn't mind the long twisted grass and scraggly trees
scattered throughout the 10 acres. When you have a vision, a well
thought-out plan, and lots of determination, little things like back
breaking labor are only a minor hindrance.
The couple's dream was to create a farm that would encompass the CSA
concept, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. And once
they bought their property in 2009, they didn't waste any time tilling
up the soil, establishing long stretches of fencing and planting
"Lots of people told us we wouldn't be able to make a living growing
vegetables up here," said Brendan. "But we knew we could with what we
learned at other CSA farms."
Brendan was raised in New Zealand, and came to America to work at a
camp in Lake Geneva in 2004. There he met Jenny, who had grown up in
Ripon, and was a lifeguard at the camp. The couple were soon smitten
with each other, and it wasn't long before they were engaged and then
married. Today they have a four-month-old little boy named Emmett. But
what bonded this family together was the dream of creating a farm where
food could be grown without chemicals, and vegetables could be sold
locally. To learn all they could about this way of life, they worked
together at farms across the world before Emmett was born. This method
of education is known as WWOOFing which stands for Willing Workers on
Organic Farms, and includes farms in Canada, New Zealand, USA,
Australia and England.
Once they felt comfortable they had enough knowledge and experience,
the couple set out to buy their own piece of property. Jenny had spent
a lot of her youth vacationing in the Minocqua area at her family's
cabin, and dreamed of purchasing property there. But once the couple
saw the acreage in Sugar Camp, they knew they had found what they were
looking for. And it didn't take them long to dig in, and Ever Good Farm
CSA is a social model that connects consumers to their food, the land
and with those who tend the soil. Ever Good Farm has CSA membership box
options where consumers can purchase either a classic box delivery or a
half delivery. Participants pay up front, a set price for produce, and
then throughout the spring, summer and autumn months, Jenny and Brendan
harvest the crops and distribute them to their CSA members. They also
sell their goods at three local farmer markets every week, including
Eagle River, Minocqua and Rhinelander.
"We have wonderful CSA members," said Jenny. "They are all very
enthusiastic about getting our produce, and always share recipes or
ways they are preparing the food they buy from us. That makes us feel
Brendan and Jenny have five acres they have planted out of their 10.
They practice succession farming, meaning they plant throughout the
summer months at intervals. This works especially well for such
vegetables as radishes, lettuce and even beans. "We are known for our
greens," said Brendan.
They have a large greenhouse, and start many of their own plants from
seeds in early spring, such as tomatoes and cucumbers. Their vegetable
list is long and varied, and includes such produce as cabbage, beets,
broccoli, celery, eggplant, peas, potatoes and garlic, to name a few.
They also have many herbs growing in their beds.
Brendan has learned that a big part of the success of his enterprise is
to take care of the soil and uses no chemicals.
"We had quite a problem with potato beetles this year in the
beginning," he said. "We picked a lot off by hand, but nature has a way
of balancing things out, and now that problem seems to be going away."
The couple does use horse manure from a local stable to keep their soil
fertile and loamy. They also do lots of weeding by hand, and get help
from interns that come and learn their methods, and volunteers who are
paid in fresh grown produce.
The recipes included this week came from the Ever Good Farm newsletter
Jenny and Brendan produce for their CSA members, which this year has
grown to include close to 60 families. And they hope that number, like
their beautiful rows of thriving vegetables, continues to grow.
"We really enjoy this type of lifestyle," said Jenny. "It's good for
our members, good for the environment and especially good for us."
© 2011 www.evergoodfarm.com
WI 54501, USA