way of life supported by the community
By Mary Ann Doyle, Associate Editor Star Journal
July 14, 2012
Brendan 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
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 vegetable seeds.
"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
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
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 was born.
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 really good."
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
"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
"We really enjoy this type of lifestyle," said Jenny.
"It's good for our members, good for the environment and
especially good for us."