They didn’t say it directly, but the folks at Yellow Cottage Farm are definitely wholistic farmers. They understand all the elements of farming are intimately bound together – you can’t have good food without good soil, and you don’t have a reason to grow food without a supportive community. The day I visited they were elbow deep in nourishing the soil, but they were equally excited about the new pop-up market collaboration the next morning at a local coffee shop.
Wholistic: “Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately connected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” – New Oxford American Dictionary
About Yellow Cottage Farm
Suzanne Kerr is new to farming, and her progress in the past year is impressive to the point of being amazing. The old pastures on either side of their house south of Livingston, Texas, have been tilled, and she has a about a football field and a half under cultivation (maybe more, estimating doesn’t get listed amongst my personal strengths). On one side are beds devoted to a rotation of mixed greens, and the other, new, beds will be filled with tasty delights like peppers, beets, turnips, radishes and more. There are also a few hoop houses to extend the season for cold-sensitive crops and to provide a warm starter home for seeds as they sprout.
Unlike last year when I first met her, Suzanne has numerous helping hands — expanding the farm with those new beds, doing some market exploration, and just generally helping to lighten the load. Cody Burroughs and his girlfriend, Valerie Compton, took a circuitous route to Goodrich, Texas, but they’re already establishing roots – literally. Cody is originally from Humble and he got experience working on an organic farm at Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Austin, Texas as part of their transplant crew and later crew chief. Cody and Valerie met Suzanne through a community connection. They visited a new winery, Tempe Creek, just north of Livingston the day after New Year’s Day, and when they told them about their farming background, the vintners told them they needed to meet Suzanne.
Why she’s farming
In Susan’s words: “The original mission was to grow organic produce for my family and friends. But now I also want a place of learning, where everyone can come to share farming tips and tricks throughout the entire farming community . And finally a place to sell locally grown or made products that will be open year round. I feel this could connect the local buyer with the local growers and producers, and maybe more people could be a producer full time.”
What’s happening now and what’s next
Together, they’re working on growing tasty and appealing veggies, creating good and healthy soil, while cultivating community. When I pulled up, they were applying a mix of soil amendments, including molasses to nourish the soil microbes, and using a homemade bed maker given to them by another local farm, Heavenly Fresh. Other beds were recently completed, and already sowed with standards like bell peppers and radishes, but also less traditional plants like kohlrabi, cilantro and Peruvian peppers. The team will continue and expand their onsite farm sales later this spring and they’re also hoping their onsite commercial kitchen will be completed about the same time. (You can currently find their baked goods at Silver Fern Coffee in Livingston.) By early summer they expect to open daily, 7am-6pm. (They also hope to offer locally produced adult beverages (micro brew and local wine) once they have their licenses.)
With all the new beds and new produce that should be coming out of them, I was curious where else they’re planning to sell their goods. Last season, Suzanne took much of their produce to Natural Living, a shop in her old hometown of League City, and to the Livingston Farmer’s Market. This year, Cody and Valerie have undertaken the delightful task of market exploration, and in addition to those mainstays which they plan to continue with, they’re hoping to add at least one of the following, Buy Local, in Humble, Tamina, in The Woodlands, or Urban Harvest, in Houston. They’re also collaborating with other local farms like Heavenly Fresh and Ruby Cattle Company on pop-up markets like the one at Silver Fern Coffee.
I grew up just down the road from where Suzanne is growing Yellow Cottage Farm, and I have to tell you that the thought of these folks working to build a community around locally produced food that is good for us and the Earth makes me happy and hopeful. Don’t get me wrong, having a good chicken fried steak makes me happy when I come visit, but having food like what they grow at Yellow Cottage Farm makes me feel good in my body and my soul.
If you want to support this local farm and others, here’s where you can find them:
Livingston Farmer’s Market
mid-May through early August
Check for the flags in front of the farm:
7964 State Highway 146 S
LIVINGSTON, TX 77351
(near Forest Springs subdivision)