By Sheila McCoy
Just a few miles north of Avon lay the fields of Bakers’ Acres — a certified organic vegetable farm. As part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), the farm sells a wide variety of vegetables, such as carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, turnips and kale to its members.
“Customers simply buy a share of that year’s production and we deliver it to them,” said owner Lisa Baker.
Several things inspired Baker to start the business. When her mom, Janet, became sick without traditional physicians knowing the cause, a holistic doctor began to look into her diet.
“It was enough to make her wake up and think about the food system and what we are eating,” Baker said
At that time, Baker was also volunteering with the Land Stewardship Project, an organization that encourages an ethic of stewarding farmland, promotes sustainable agriculture and develop healthy communities.
“That, too, kind of woke me up to the beginning of the farm movement and focusing on getting people back on the land,” she said.
Baker said people used to put more effort into preparing their food rather than using boxed, microwaveable foods.
“Back in the day, most of humanity focused on surviving. About 80 percent of our efforts were put into our food, whether it was preparing it or growing it. Now it is down to about 16 percent,” she said.
In 2010, Baker purchased the land outside Avon, but was not at first sure what she would do with it.
“I told my parents they could do whatever they wanted out here, whether to have a garden or just store something in the shed,” she said. “Eventually I would figure out what to do with it.”
Since Baker started her business in 2012, she has noticed a steady increase in customers.
“It’s obvious people are looking for a better alternative,” she said. “We sell out every year. It is comforting to know there is a demand.”
Baker said she currently crops three acres of the 15-acre farm. It is as much as she can handle at the moment, but is glad that she has the room to expand one day. Her parents are quite involved in the farm, as well, she said.
The vegetables are harvested by a crew of at least four part-time employees. It is a lot of hard work, Baker said, but one she finds rewarding.
Believing in caring for the earth and in building soil quality, she cover crops in between harvests.
“Growing things in the ground helps take away the carbon in the atmosphere, so if we’re letting all the lands remain black and bare, we’re not doing anything to heal the land,” she said.
Baker also keeps two beef steers at the farm.
“We get them from a dairy farm nearby that sets them aside for us without using any growth hormones or blanketed antibiotics,” she said.
The steers are rotationally grazed through nine paddocks with continuous access to fresh grass and clover.
“We just feed them on the grass, give them a little bit of transitional organic grains. Then we sell the quarters and keep one with the family,” Baker said.
Bakers’ Acres recently hosted “Dinner on the Farm” — an event that gives people, who may not know the connection between a farm and their food, an insight into what goes into it.
“Many who grow up in the city may not have that connection. All they know is that it came from a store,” Baker said. “When you buy food from the store you have no idea where it came from, how it was made, who made it or even who touched it.”
The event drew about 100 visitors. The food was prepared by a chef on site and a tent set up by Summit Beer. Visitors were also given a tour of the farm.
“We talked about the things we do in the fields and how we do it,” Baker said.
Baker hopes more people will follow organic farming practices and realize the importance of it, not only for this generation, but for future generations, as well.