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WHO WE ARE - YOUR PERSONAL FARMER

Tobijah Farm is small, but productive! We use sustainable, organic methods to produce healthy vegetables and small fruit for weekly delivery to your home. Our pasture raised Katahdin lamb is second to none in lean tenderness. Our poultry is raised free range, enjoying the yard, pasture, and nearby woods. We raise heritage breeds of chickens, pilgrim geese, bourbon red turkeys, and an assortment of ducks. The animals clean up any vegetable and fruit leavings and their composted bedding and manure goes back to fertilize the garden. That’s what I mean by sustainable: using as little off-farm products as possible, treating the earth and animals as naturally as possible. We aim to be good stewards of this parcel that God has provided for us.

WHAT WE OFFER –WEEKLY DELIVERY OF LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCE

You are invited to subscribe to receive weekly deliveries of fresh, locally grown produce. We use organic practices in growing our produce and use sustainable farming methods as much as possible. We grow a wide variety of vegetables and small fruits, harvesting them at peak ripeness for timely delivery in the Highland, Troy, and Collinsville area. See our produce page for more information.

WHAT WE OFFER – KATAHDIN BREEDING STOCK AND FREEZER LAMB

We are breeders of Katahdin sheep; an easy care, prolific breed that produces lean, mild meat without having to shear. We call Katahdin sheep Performance sheep. Visit our Katahdin Sheep page to find out more about our breeding stock and the Freezer Lamb page to read about the nutrition and availability of our lamb.

The History of Tobijah Farm

Tobijah Farm was named before we ever obtained our property. Dean named it in anticipation of the day when we would find our piece of property, which we finally did in 1997. “Tobijah” means “the goodness of God”, or “God is good”.

When we drove out to see the property the first time and saw the huge, old wooden barn, we knew it was for us. Of course each of us, Dean and I, and our two sons, had different ideas of how the barn would be used! The loft holds our hay (my plan) and a collection of David Bradley tractors and implements (Dean’s plan). The ground level area houses car parts, saws and lathes, bee supplies, and feed, as well as other stuff that we probably don’t remember. The south end of the barn has a “basement” where the sheep can be sheltered in winter.

We had a trio of Katahdin sheep when we moved here and that’s about all we could graze on our small acreage. I wanted to expand and when our neighbor suggested that we could graze on some of his property “to keep the weeds down” I was delighted. Our flock now runs around 10 ewes, sometimes more, their lambs, and at least one ram.

Photo 2006-03 “Go For It!”

Even before I was married, I gardened, sometimes just a few green bean plants alongside a rented house. So, of course, I was excited to have a “real” garden here. The spot I chose to till turned out to have lots of gravel in it, apparently a parking area at one time. Oh well, that just makes good drainage. I haven’t tilled for years now. Wherever I want an additional garden spot I just pile up waste bedding and manure from the sheep and wait for it to compost. Gradually it’s making raised beds. I enjoy trying new varieties and types of fruits and vegetables and always end up with more than I can put up. So, while I was still employed outside the home, I began selling our produce to a few people. Since my “retirement” a few years ago, I have been able to increase production and efficiency. Also, a couple of years ago we invested in a small greenhouse so I can start my own seedlings. I love playing in the dirt!

Everywhere we’ve lived we’ve planted fruit trees, but we never stayed long enough to see them mature and produce fruit. We’re staying put here and some of our trees would have produced their first fruit in 2007 except for that late spring freeze that destroyed local fruit set. So I’m eagerly awaiting the 2008 growing season.
Photo 2007-03 “Cherry Bushes in Bloom”

The poultry numbers have grown, too. I’ve tried several varieties of chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese and have finally narrowed it down a bit to what I most want to raise. We had guineas and peacocks for a while, which I loved, but we had to sell them to appease our neighbors. In the spring we have lots of challenges with raccoons and sometimes foxes, not to mention an occasional owl enjoying our poultry. It’s a balancing act to provide enough protection for the poultry while still allowing them to free range. Sometimes I lose.

We’ve got to be the only people who could not get rabbits to reproduce! It was humiliating. But now we have some rabbits that produce plentifully for us. So our menu is well rounded meat-wise: lamb, chicken, duck, goose, and rabbit.

Every farm needs cats, of course, but shortly after we moved here we had a cat explosion. I believe there was a sign out that said “cats welcome” because more kept showing up and they reproduced like rabbits are supposed to. Thanks to a spay clinic in Bethalto, we have that situation under control and we have just enough cats to do their rodent control job.

That’s Tobijah Farm. God is indeed good!




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