We began Brambleberry Farm in the fall of 2003 on land that Esprí’s parents generously share with us in the beautiful hills of southern Indiana. We started out as primarily a market garden and CSA, producing (non-certified) organic produce using no-till methods, and avoiding petroleum-based machinery such as tractors and tillers, which may compact the garden soil when over-used. While we were supporting ourselves with annual produce production we were also developing a complex food forest of perennial fruit trees and berries, which became the propagation base for our current fruit, nut, and berry nursery. Since building our strawbale house on an adjacent area of the property we have begun developing new permaculture systems around the new house. Our old garden beds have become an opportunity for a farm incubator project, and we are focusing our efforts on permaculture systems around our new house as well as a grass-fed beef operation on a neighbor’s property down the road, and our hand-crafted wooden kitchen utensil business.
Currently we are developing a 3.5 acre pasture by rotating different species of livestock through it to improve the soil with their grazing, manure, and trampling behaviors. In 2010 we planted mixed orchard rows running N-S on 60’ centers within this system to increase the yields of the given acreage once the trees mature. We have grazed sheep, pigs, chickens and geese in this system, but at the moment we are limiting the grazers to sheep and chickens (due to time restraints). We hope to have hogs in the system again by the time the orchard starts bearing, in order to clean up the fruit drops.
Our small fruit, nut, and berry nursery has become a major component of our farm and income. We feel like the success of organic cultivation practices is dependant on selecting appropriate plant varieties. We focus on searching out and propagating fruit and berry plants that are pest and disease resistant, and also adapted to regional conditions (soils, climate), in order to help our customers succeed in homesteading and organic production.