A short History of the Farm
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm (formerly Boulder Belt Gardens, then Boulder Belt Organics) was born in 1993 when Eugene and Lucy Goodman moved from College Corner, OH to a farm near New Paris, OH, where they lived and learned about sustainable market farming for almost 12 years. But in 2004 things began to change on that farm and Lucy and Eugene decided it was time to start a serious search for a place of their own. And September 1, 2005, they bought their very own farm just north of Eaton, OH on the 40' pitch on US RT 127
In 1993 the market idea was born. We had recently moved to the Crubaugh Rd farm with no intentions of becoming organic farmers. The house was a mess and we got several years of rent in exchange for putting the house back together.
The first garden was a few pepper plants and a 25' row of blue lake green beans. All did extremely well. The pears trees had a bumper crop too. Suddenly we were faced with growing piles of food. A lot of it dropping from the trees and rotting. Oh, and it was attracting wasps and hornets who would get drunk in the fermenting juices. Those critters tend to be mean drunks and even worse hungover, but I digress. Being from town, I had no idea about putting up food other than some vague romantic notions of homesteading from reading books (this was long before blogs about such things). Romance became pragmatism and soon we owned a chest freezer and a lot of freezer bags. I froze a lot of beans and peppers that year and we joked about finding a farmer's market and selling veggies the next year.
The next year the farmers market idea was no longer a joke and we put in what we considered a huge garden and grew things to put up for winter and to sell. The garden was 50'x75' and was a lot bigger than any garden either one of us had had in the past. We did take things most Saturdays to the Richmond Farmer's Market, in Richmond, IN from the "Market" garden but we did not make much money (I did not keep records back then, so I suspect we lost money on the project) nor did we have a consistent product as we do now. But we had fun and we were hooked
Over 12 years we grew from the original 25' x 75' garden plot to 5 acres of beds scattered over a 10-acre space. We go the farm certified Organic from 1998 through 2002. We got into raising pastured chickens for meat and eggs, We learned how to grow year round using row covers and simple, moveable hoop houses of our own design and how to irrigate acres of beds with drip irrigation. We developed a CSA, we created several farmers markets and learned about online marketing.
But after 12 years it was time to move to a pace of our own. Moving a small farm that has been established for over a decade is no mean feat. We must have had over 5 semi tractor-trailer loads of stuff to move. We had a moving party on Sunday that got around 10 of our friends out to help us move the household That was a huge help in getting the household goods over to the new place and even got a few rooms set up. And it was a lot of fun too. It took another 6 weeks or so to get the rest of the farm over here but by the end of November, we were officially moved in, just in time too because about a week after we finished moving the snow started flying.
The first 10 seasons here have been good. We have over 4 acres of beds. We have a happy CSA group. We have a farm store that is open 7 days a week 9 to 10 months a year. We have one of the best destinations sales on the US 127 Yard Sale (The World's Longest Yard Sale) route and get well over 20,000 visitors to our sale each year. There are 115 100'x 4'beds. In 2014 we got a 26' x 96' high tunnel through the USDA EQIP NRCS program which has expanded our winter offerings greatly and has made growing summer crops better.
We are committed to growing our food Sustainably and Locally because food grown sustainably and locally is healthier for both us and the planet. Animals raised on wholesome food, fresh air and sunshine are happier, healthier than confinement farm operation (aka factory farmed) animals that are shut up in huge buildings in crowded, dirty, stressful conditions and fed the cheapest feed laced with antibiotics (to keep diseases at bay). Pastured livestock tastes better too, according to all of our customers. We had been certified by OEFFA until Oct. 2002, but when the USDA took over the organic certification we voluntarily dropped our organic certification. The USDA is encouraging farms to get big or get out and not supporting small farms like ours. These standards, that small independent, contrary farmers have worked for decades to get credible, have become more corporate smut. We are very glad to not be all wrapped up in the USDA Organic BS. Instead of going through the hoops of Organic certification done by a third party inspector, we invite our customers and members out to our farm to see how we do what we do and ask questions. This is how you can learn more about the food you eat and how to eat wholesome, local nutritious food. We know a lot about this and we are willing to talk about it.