|The Roots of a Community
By Jared Raney, Reporter Star Journal
August 8, 2015
Brendan and Jenny
Tuckey, owners and operators of EverGood Farm, one of the only
professional organic farms in the Rhinelander area.
Small farms are a rarity in Northern Wisconsin, but a small group of
dedicated advocates for organic and small-scale farming are making a
push, and a successful push at that.
“We’re increasing productivity each year,” said Brendan Tuckey, who
runs EverGood Farms with his wife Jenny near Sugar Camp. EverGood is a
Community Supported Agriculture farm, or CSA, and is 100 percent
organic. Spanning a simple but efficient five-acre plot, Jenny and
Brendan provide fresh, pure vegetables to Northwoods farmers’ markets
in addition to CSA customers.
“We chose to be organic for a lot of different reasons,” Jenny said.
“For us, because we don’t want the pesticides and everything coming
into our bodies, but we realized that a lot of people also feel the
same way that we do.”
The CSA business model functions as a membership service—customers pay annual fees to receive a box of fresh produce every week.
“They’re like our core. If we didn’t have the CSA we wouldn’t be able
to farm like we do,” Jenny said. “We really rely on the support of our
CSA customers and appreciate how they come back year after year. We
know their families, and they’re people we’ve gotten close to from it,
so it’s a really cool relationship that we can have with our customers
that I think is totally unique to a CSA.”
For years there was a vacuum in fresh organic produce in the
Northwoods, what’s called a ‘food desert.’ The Tuckeys saw a need for
small agriculture and are aiming to help fill that gap.
“Definitely it’s challenging, but people so appreciate that they can
get something fresh and local up here in such a food desert that we
have,” Jenny said.
The first professional organic farm in the area, after five years
EverGood is selling at four markets, in Eagle River, Minocqua,
Rhinelander. As of last week, EverGood started a brand new farmers
market, also in Rhinelander, Thursdays at the YMCA.
Northwoods Farmers Markets
Rhinelander – Pioneer Park Sat. 8 a.m – Noon
Rhinelander – YMCA Thurs. 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Eagle River – Wednesday 8:30 - 1pm
Minocqua – Park Complex Fri. 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
“It used to be people just like our stuff mainly for its freshness,”
Brendan said. “And now it’s more people are concerned about how you’re
And they aren’t the only farm joining this movement. Kind Roots
Organic, also in the Sugar Camp area, is run by Cody Bates and Veronica
Pickar. They specialize in mushrooms, but are also a committed organic
farm, a member of Certified Naturally Grown. CNG is a non-profit
certification organization for small-scale organic farms.
“Since we moved up last year and started doing farmers markets we
definitely see a big push for the organic scene in Rhinelander,” Bates
said. “You can see the expansion with stores such as Golden Harvest…
Some of the local restaurants, Joe’s Pasty shop and stuff, utilizing
all local organic foods, so I think the organic scene is on the ground
level but it’s really building in the Rhinelander area.”
Kind Roots also sells their ingredients to local businesses in addition to selling at farmers’ markets.
Tuckey, who is originally from New Zealand,
where he also learned many
of his farming practices,
explains their strategies for organic farming.
“It’s a better tasting product.” Brendan said as his final word on organics. “If you see
great-looking organic food, it’s going to taste better, because we
nurture the soil. And this is what a lot of conventional farmers don’t
have to do… this is one of the major reasons we wanted to grow organic,
is because you end up with a better product.”
The markets are open until anywhere from late September to middle of October, Rhinelander’s market ending October 19th.
© 2011 www.evergoodfarm.com
WI 54501, USA