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Featured Farm: Hidden Gems Farm

How long have you been practicing the timeless tradition of growing food and raising animals?

My parents come from farming backgrounds, but I am a city girl born and raised. Lorenzo on the other hand grew up on a hog farm in Mississippi.  He learned a lot about farming as he was growing up, but once he enlisted at the age of 17 the farming life was behind him. That was until 2018 when we decided to embark on the simple farm life together.

What (or who) inspired you to learn this skill? 

Our girls inspired us to want to live this type of lifestyle.  We want them to have the skills of growing their own food and raising their own animals for dairy and meat.  Regardless of what they decide to do in the future, these skills will remain invaluable.

What do you most enjoy about tending to your farm?

We love that we get to do it together as a family.  We love planning our garden, caring for our animals, deciding what activity we should host all together.

Whplay a part in preserving this sustainable way of life?

Farming is such an important part of human history. Advancements are great, however in our opinion mastering basic skills such as preserving what you have, growing your own food and raising animals are just some of the skills that are very important to get good at.  If something were to happen, we want our girls to use these skills to be able to take care of themselves and the people around them.

From start to finish what does a typical work day on the farm look like?

Everyday at sunrise, one of us will go out to the field and check on the animals.  Make sure the animals have food and water. During spring/summer timeframe, our farm chores change just a bit and we add milking our goats, taking care of the garden, making goat cheese and ice cream to our list of things that need to be done during the day. Every other day we switch between ice cream making, pure soy wax candle making and goat milk lotion making. Lorenzo works a full-time job on top of running a farm. Between the girls and I, we tend to the farm throughout the day in between their school (since they school from home).  Things take much longer, but they are developing skills they may not otherwise be exposed to.

Can you share a little bit about the growing/raising practices you focus on that enhance the quality of your end products?  

We do not use any chemicals on our farm, not even to treat bugs/ticks.  We compost on our farm, everything from our kitchen scraps to the goat/chicken poop.  We are very picky with what we feed our animals.  We have found that feeding our animals whole grain non-gmo feed and good quality hay for the goats work best for them thus them producing good quality products (milk for making various goat milk products, and eggs and meat).

What farm products do you craft and sell?

We make pure soy wax candles, goat milk soap, goat milk lotion, goat cheese, goat milk ice cream, old fashioned sour cream donuts, challah bread and seasonal baked apple cider donuts.

For those who are discovering you for the first timewhere can people find you/your farm products online? 

Hidden Gems Farm can be found on Instagram and Facebook. Our farm products can be found on our website www.hiddengemsfarmva.com.

We noticed that you invite people to come pick their own pumpkins, gather sunflowers, pick strawberries, and blueberries play with goats!! Creating activities on the farm is such a great way to engage and educate others about farm life. What is the most popular activity you provide? Are reservations required or can folks just stop on by?

Our goat play sessions are by far the most popular activity since they are private sessions held year-round and are an up close and personal experience that visitors won’t forget.  Kids and adults alike learn about our animals while having fun with them.  Our “pick your own activities” are also customer favorites.

What additional resources or supplies do you recommend for those interested in learning how to farm or increase their skills set in this area?

Educating yourself on things you are interested in and joining IG and Facebook groups that share similar interests as yours.  

Your Farm Story

What is the name of your Farm, Ranch or Homestead? 

Hidden Gems Farm 

Where are you located?

Centreville, VA

How and/or when did life as a farmerrancher or homesteader begin for you?

We are relatively new to homesteading.  We started homesteading in October 2018.

What do you grow and/or raise

We grow seasonal vegetables, blueberries, strawberries, wild flowers, sunflowers and pumpkins.  We raise dairy goats, chickens for eggs, meat chickens, ducks, guinea fowls and turkeys for thanksgiving.

Do you have a favorite farm recipe you wish to share?

Our goat cheese and goat milk ice cream’s along with our old-fashioned sour cream donuts are some of our customers’ favorite items.  Our Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Donut recipe was included in The FarmMade Cookbook! 

What words of inspiration or uplifting wisdom do you hope to impart on the future generation of farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders?  

Just try and do not give up. Don’t think or say “I can not do this” but rather “how can I do this.”

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