Forrest Green Farm
|Address:|| 2317 Evergreen Road
Louisa, VA 23093
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The farm store is open Thursday-Sunday: 9am-5pm
Forrest Green Farm is a diverse sustainable farm that combines livestock and produce, along with a remarkable commitment to educating consumers through workshops and seminars about sustainable food and healthy living. The farm is run by The Rahm family. Foodwaze has visited their farm and you can read a full description under the Details tab. Their farm store is located on the property. Here is an overview of the farm:
• Animals raised: Miniature Hereford beef cattle, meat chickens and laying hens.
• Living Environment: Cattle are out in fields for their entire lives. The chickens live in pasture and are protected with portable shelters. Layers have access to a mobile hen house.
• Animal Diets: Cattle are 100% grass-fed. Chickens forage in the fields for bugs, worms, grass, etc., and are supplemented with non-GMO grains.
• Grazing Methods: Rotational grazing practices are used to build healthy soil and pastures.
• Other Practices: There are NO chemicals, biosolids, hormones, or sub-therapeutic antibiotics used on the farm.
• Produce Grown: A wide variety of seasonal vegetables and culinary herbs.
• Chemical Use: No toxic chemicals.
• Sustainable Practices: Cover cropping, crop rotation, mulching, composting.
• Watering: Drip irrigation with water from a 300-foot well.
• Certification: They are not certified organic, but they use only Non-GMO seeds, and organic seeds as much as possible.
Other Products Sold: The farm store offers a few other products from local, sustainable purveyors. They also have a huge selection of starter plants for sale.
Other things to know about this Place:
• The farm store is located in Louisa County, not too far off I-64.
• In addition to their farm store, which is open four days a week, they also offer shares in a winter Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership.
• As previously mentioned, the Rahm's are very committed to consumer education. They conduct several educational workshops, classes, and events throughout the year. Please check their website for details.
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A site visit, or visits
• Discussion with the owners, management, and/or staff
• Other research
Forrest Green Farm is located in Louisa County, Virginia, about 30 minutes east of Charlottesville. It bills itself as a small, family farm, but nothing they do here seems small by any means. Foodwaze had a chance to visit for the first time in late summer 2015.
The farm is owned and operated by Rob and Krista Rahm, their children, and some extended family. They sustainably farm about 80 acres, but the property in total spreads out over several hundred acres, with a network of nature trails throughout. The Rahm’s house is perched on a hill overlooking the gardens and barn, and it is where they have raised and homeschooled their children. The farm gets its name from a man who had owned the land as far back as the early 1700s, according to some research the Rahms had done. His name was Forrest Green.
It’s a wonderful play on words for a property that is lush with hardwood groves, verdant pastures, and bountiful gardens. It’s hard to say what the Rahm’s do best... they seem to do all equally well. The vibrant flowers are a testament to their growing capabilities. Using holistic and sustainable methods of horticulture, they produce vegetables, flowers, and both medicinal and culinary herbs. They do not use herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers. They use only Non-GMO seeds, and organic seeds when they can. Irrigation is done through a 300-foot well on the farm. In addition to selling the harvest from their vegetable crop, they also sell vegetable and herb starter plants from cuttings and seeds they collect, which are mostly from heirloom varieties, with some hybrids as well.
After seeing their expansive gardens, several greenhouses, and large selection of starter plants, you’d think this would keep them busy enough. But they also raise a variety of livestock, using the highest standards of animal husbandry. This includes a herd of Miniature Herefords for beef cattle, which is grass-fed and finished. Using rotational grazing methods, the cattle eat, fertilize and help regenerate the pastures in symbiosis with the other livestock on the farm.
This includes meat chickens, known as broilers. Forrest Green raises the Cornish Cross breed in the spring, summer, and fall, using portable huts that are moved daily so the chickens can eat worms, bugs, and grass in the pasture, and fertilize it for future growth.
Likewise, the laying hens are kept out in the field and rotated regularly along with their portable laying houses. The chickens are protected from predators by portable electric fencing and the watchful of eyes of a few adorable but hulking Great Pyrenees guard dogs. The chickens get their pasture diet supplemented with leftover vegetables from the gardens, as well as Non-GMO feed. In the winter, when grass is in short supply, they receive hay from the farm.
In addition to all this farm work, the Rahm’s also run an amazing assortment of workshops, classes, and events on their farm. One is the Whole Living Course, which is a 12-class series on organic herbal living in tune with the rhythms of nature. They also offer workshops on things like making medicines from herbs, growing plants from seeds, and how to grow mushrooms.
The last and certainly not the least thing to talk about at Forrest Green Farm is their cool little farm store. Its cobalt color makes for quite the palette in combination with the adjacent red barn and the green landscape surrounding it. Open four days a week, it’s a great place to pick up a wide selection of their farm products such as meat, eggs, produce, flowers, teas, and starter plants.
You can forgive the Rahms for not running a CSA (Community Support Agriculture) during the spring and summer, as quite a few farms do. But lo and behold, they do run one in the winter! It’s for 13 weeks, November to January. Please see their website for more details.