Goatfell Farm is a small intensive fruit, vegetable, and flower farming operation working on 2 acres of the northeastern Catskills. We raise vegetables year-round using organic and permaculture methods. We work in partnership with Egg Restaurant and Parish Hall in Brooklyn to supply them with both staple and specialty produce for their use on the menu and in packaged goods, including jams, jellies, chutneys, pickles, and relishes.
We try to restrict its use of inputs such as soil amendments, mulch, and natural fertilizers to what we can generate for ourselves or take from the foodchain of the restaurants we supply. For example, we gather compostable materials from the restaurants’ scraps; we gather manure from our dairy provider’s animals; and we use crop rotation and green manures to keep our soil fertile and healthy.
We also keep a small flock of ducks to help us manage pests and to provide us with fertilizer and eggs and some amusement.
In addition to providing resources for our restaurants, the farm gives our employees a place to deepen their understanding of food systems. They regularly spend time volunteering on the farm (helping with bed preparation, harvesting, packing, weeding, and so on) so that they can participate in the production of the food they subsequently prepare and serve in the restaurants.
The farm has been run in the past by a full-time on-site manager. This season, we’re trying an experiment in managing the farm as a group: volunteers from the restaurants come up to plant, tend, and harvest.