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
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
"Lots of people told us we wouldn't be able to make a
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
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,
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
Australia and England.
Once they felt comfortable they had enough knowledge and
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
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
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
Eagle River, Minocqua and Rhinelander.
"We have wonderful CSA members," said Jenny. "They are
enthusiastic about getting our produce, and always share
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
summer months at intervals. This works especially well
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.
list is long and varied, and includes such produce as
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
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
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
"We really enjoy this type of lifestyle," said Jenny.
"It's good for
our members, good for the environment and especially
good for us."