Middleburg Life Article

Below is an article from ‘Middleburg Life’ written about Day Spring Farm.

Sean and Jessie Baker had a vision for Day Spring Farm.
“We wanted it to be based on the same ideas that farmers had hundreds of years ago,” Jessie said. “We wanted to humanely raise the finest animals that pro-duce the best meat, and to then provide that meat for family, friends and neighbors.”
Day Spring Farm in Middleburg is a family owned and operated grass-based farm producing organic beef and lamb, non-GMO fed pastured pork and chickens, eggs, vegeta-bles grown without chemicals, herbal products, dairy shares and other organic foods. And just in time for Thanksgiving, the farm offers pasture-raised turkeys, raised much the same way as the pasture-raised chickens.
Jessie Baker, whose parents, Rick and Karen Lowe, run Lowelands Farm next door, said that she “grew up in the herb garden” with her mother. “In fact herbs – they were sort of my first language.”
The Bakers produce soap with lard from the pigs they raise, and recently made a first effort at making soap using milk from their goats. They also offer classes on how to use herbs and have yarn and wool items made from the sheared wool of their own sheep.
“Our sheep make beautiful wool,” Jessie said. “We sell it in many forms, such as roving, yarn, socks, raw wool or even sheep skins.”
Day Spring operates as a CSA (Com-munity Supported Agriculture). “Most people know about vegetable CSAs,” Jessie said. “But we have meat CSAs as well. It’s like becoming partners with your farmer.”
Through Community Supported Agri-culture, Day Spring offers a “share” of what is produced on the farm, with members pur-chasing a subscription in return for receiving meat or other products every month. When the couple’s children were young, the Bakers decided that they wanted fresh milk, which led to Day Spring Farm’s raw milk share program, providing unpasteurized milk from five Jersey cows for approximately 70 families. Customers purchase a share, or part of a cow, and pay a fee to Day Spring Farm for boarding and other costs.
Jessie had been a vegetarian for ten years, but following the birth of the couple’s first child, Sean suggested the possibility of raising their own meat. “The thought of eating meat humanely raised and slaughtered seemed okay to me,” she said. “We allow the cows to graze naturally, the way they were designed to eat.”
The Bakers do not give their cows hor-mones, chemicals or unnecessary antibiotics. They eat grass and are supplemented with hay during winter. “By allowing the cows to graze and not be in a confined situation, they live a more stress-free life.”
The animals are kept on pasture.
“Because of that,” Jessie said, “they don’t get sick very often. When they do, we treat them naturally, with herbs, the same as we would ourselves.”
The couple embraced farm life “pretty quickly,” Jessie said. “It just felt right to grow food for ourselves and our families and neigh-bors. We think it’s important to eat more sea-sonally, and that is what we focus on.”
Instrumental to the running of the farm are guard dogs Ruthy and Buster, who keep deer from gobbling up the bountiful gardens. Just as importantly, the specially-trained dogs keep foxes, raccoons and other predators away from the chickens.
Several years ago, Day Spring Farm was featured on Emeril Lagasse’s “Emeril Green” show for a Thanksgiving special. The epi-sode highlighted the pasture-based farm and heritage turkeys – two of which were roasted by Jessie and Chef Emeril during the filming at Whole Foods in Fair Lakes.
Sean and Jessie Baker’s five children range in age from one to 16. The family cares for the animals together and the Bakers are committed to home-schooling their children. On a recent visit, one of the daughters was bottle-feeding a young (and enthusiastic) miniature donkey.
“Our biggest desire is to have a relation-ship with our customers,” Jessie said.
On a recent weekend, Zack and Amber Condry and their two young daughters came to the farm. The couple started as CSA customers and quickly became friends with the owners. In fact, they provide a pick-up spot in Vienna so that Day Spring Farm’s CSA members who live closer to that area can pick up their shares.
“Sustainable agriculture ensures that our children and grandchildren will have good farmland left to raise food for their friends and families,” Jessie said. “That’s what really matters the most to us.”
Day Spring Farm is located at 21388 Steptoe Hill Road in Middleburg. The website is www.dayspringfarmva.com.
By Dulcy Hooper
For Middleburg Life

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Spring Update

Hello everyone! So glad it is getting warmer, spring is finally here.

Here is what’s going on at DAY SPRING FARM.  Princess lollipop had her calf on Feb.21, a healthy bull. He is adorable, bouncing about in his outdoor calf pen and drooling on customers fingers.  We recently found out that two more of our cows, Fawn and Dolly are expecting calves l. Dolly in October, Fawn on Christmas day!  We will let you know when they are born.

Gardening, gardening, gardening! I think that is all we do now that it is warmer.  Peas are being planted in outdoor rows.  It is normally too cold outside to plant anything in the ground but since we have a plastic mulch layer, it warms the soil to the proper temperature for warmer weather loving crops. The proper temperature is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Broccoli and kale are steadily being planted under row cover. TIP: If you don’t want to buy row cover (in my opinion it is well worth the buy) you could use bedclothes.  We have spread lime to raise the PH. of the soil as the PH.[of the soil] should be 7-7.5; chicken manure and fish meal to be followed by greensand and potassium to replace nutrients. We planted potatoes a week ago. We tilled a swath about 7 feet wide and 150 feet long and planted them, eyes up, every twelve inches with rows twelve inches apart.

We have tomatoes growing out our ears!  Roma, Striped German, Big Beef, Black Cherry, Clementines: you name it, we have it.  They were planted in the middle of March and will be planted outside on the first of May.  Cucumbers are planted in soil blocks.  Soil blocking is potting soil that is watered and then pressed firmly into a metal frame, then ejected.  The seed is then placed in a small indentation in the top of the soil block.  The advantages to soil blocks are that

  • it reduces the use of plastic.
  • it air prunes the roots when the root reaches the edge so the plant does not get root bound.
  • it is very good for transplanting cucurbits(squash,cucumbers,watermelons etc.) because they DO not like their roots disturbed

We are trying a new kind of cucumber this year.  The name of is West Indian Burr Gherkin.  I won’t write anything about them yet as I don’t have any experience with them yet.  But Pam Dawling who gardens 3 ½ acres in central VA has a wonderful article about them at a website she writes for. You can find it at: www.growingformarket.com.

Just recently a friend gave us a little garden cart that needed a face lift.  It was 36in wide and 48in long.I and my sister tore it down to the bare metal frame and rebuilt it.  We used reclaimed oak fence boards and a few 2×6 boards.  It is now 50in wide and 60in long and very sturdy.  We chose the dimensions so it would carry fifteen 1020 flats without any room to jostle around.  I have included a few pictures below.

dayspring_Wagon1dayspring_Wagon2 dayspring_Wagon3dayspring_Wagon4

 

Valentine’s Day

There is nothing cuter than a new kitten! Happy Valentine’s Day from Day Spring Farm!

Ladybug 160We are still awaiting our next calf, who is due to be born to Princess Lollipop sometime this month. She is having her vacation from giving milk and she can be seen in the front of the farm lounging with the horses. Hopefully she doesn’t get used to the lazy days with the horses and not want to head back to work with the dairy cows after her calf arrives. They work night and day making delicious milk no matter what the weather is. With our fodder production (green barley sprouts) they don’t drop in milk production the way the used to in cold weather. Even in the past few very cold days the udders are full and the milk still has lots of cream! What a Blessing.

The chickens on the other hand, though they are enjoying their fodder, are not laying very many eggs on these cold days. The days are already lengthening and soon there will be plenty of eggs again. The baby veggies are being planted in our basement and are emerging from the soil each day, before we know it, it will be time to head them out to the green house. Keep your eyes open for baby lambs, we’ll move them closer to the cabin once they are born. The ewes are walking more slowly these days with very round bellies, hopefully carrying lots of healthy twins! Even in this cold there are lots of signs that Spring is surely around the corner!

Reminders:

1) Don’t forget to curl up with some homemade hot cocoa with day spring farm milk and enjoy some quiet time before spring gets here!
2) Sign up for the CSA online soon, space is limited www.dayspringfarmva.com We have meat, veggie and lots of options
3) We are now on instagram so please follow us for cute farm pictures to let you know what your farmers are doing! We will also be having a contest on soon to win some free products so follow us and stay tuned……Day Spring Farm is our name

Keep Warm,
The Bakers