I’ve been really into sustainability and learning about responsible farms lately and I happened upon the blog for Chert Hollow Farm. Chert Hollow is a sustainable homestead in the rural areas of Columbia, run by husband/wife duo Eric and Joanna Reuter. After reading about their farm and spending some time talking to them, I ended up falling in love with their commitment to being certified organic and their approach to farm management and diversifying their farm.
Joanna Reuter finds the right tool to take out to the garden to start weeding at Chert Hollow Farm. Joanna and her husband, Eric, run the farm by themselves. The two live off the food they produce and never take trips to the supermarket, as they have almost everything they need on their farm. The shelter Joanna is standing in was built from timber from the farm, which is now being converted for farm usage.
Joanna and Eric Reuter run the farm mostly by themselves (they have some volunteers) and they are very passionate, knowledgable and serious about their product. It was amazing spending the day with them and learning about their farm and I’m very thankful that they allowed me to spend time with them and learn about the great work they do.
The Reuters and their volunteers pick weeds in the garden at Chert Hollow Farm. The farm is a Community Supported Agriculture farm, and the volunteers are paid in produce and goods the farm makes.
Joanna Reuter picks up a goat among their small herd at Chert Hollow Farm. The couple believes in sustainability and their farm is certified organic. Although Eric says the certification process is expensive, he believes strongly in support for organic farms and knows that he will add to the statistics of organic farms in Missouri.
Joanna Reuter adds more chickweed to the bucket while weeding in the garden at Chert Hollow Farm. Because they want the farm to be as diversified as possible, the Reuters try to use products from one area of the farm to help the others. For example, this chickweed will go to feed the chickens, who are quite fond of the weed.
Joanna Reuter picks up and pets one of the kids as her husband, Eric, looks on. The Reuters use the goats for milk, which they make cheese from. The goats born this year will also be used for meat for the couple, as they cannot sell the meat due to Missouri state law restricting the sale of meat not processed by a state-inspected butcher. Eric says the meat would be too expensive if they were state-inspected to sell cuts of meat, so they just keep it for themselves.
Joanna Reuter walks to the goat shed to check on a few pregnant goats at Chert Hollow Farm. Farm management is very important to Joanna and Eric, who run the farm together. The farm aims to integrate aspects of the farm into each other, creating a place that is environmentally and economically sustainable.
Aaaand, I realize I have a lot of pictures of goats and probably too many, but I obviously cannot share this adorable-ness:
One of the Chert Hollow volunteers holds a baby goat during a work break between weeding. The kids were born on the farm recently and the Reuters like to socialize them so they become more accustomed to human interaction.