By BRWIA staff intern, Leah Jalfon. Visit Trosly Farm on the 2013 High Country Farm Tour on Aug 3 & 4
"People now want to talk to their farmers, ask them questions, and establish relationships with them. Younger farmers like Kaci and Amos have embraced this new, direct marketing approach."
Trosly Farm’s history begins long before Kaci and Amos made it their home. The house was built in the 1900s, and although it hasn’t been in the family, the land has always been a farm. It is where the Niddifers’ parents got their Christmas trees in the 1960s. Trosly Farm is on Peter Harding Lane, named after a Native American who helped run the original farm and owned the Tweetsie Railroad, which can still be seen from the farm today. Although it hadn’t been lived in for ten years, the Niddifers fell in love with the house and bought the property. They have both continued and transformed its legacy into the beautiful, sustainable homestead that it is today.
After our interview, people began arriving for the Brood & Hatch workshop. Kaci showed us the chickens, about a hundred of them now, that she and Amos raise primarily to supply to chefs in the area. Although she loves working with local chefs, Kaci wishes she could provide enough for all the people that come to the farm store and the farmer’s market to buy chicken. This demonstrates the growing demand for healthy, cruelty-free, and tasty local food, and the need for farmers that can supply it. Kaci hopes that more residents of Avery County take advantage of the area’s resources and begin farming.
The community of farmers is unique. Unlike businesses that compete with each other, farmers help each other succeed. Knowing other farmers in the area has helped Kaci identify what her community needs. She has noticed the renewed interest in farming and how that has changed its nature. People now want to talk to their farmers, ask them questions, and establish relationships with them. Younger farmers like Kaci and Amos have embraced this new, direct marketing approach. However, she sees that some farmers from older generations have had trouble with the transition, emphasizing the need for farmers to take advantage of the resources of local agriculture organizations. With Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture grant, Kaci and Amos were able to start building a new barn a year earlier than they had planned.
"The community of farmers is unique. Unlike businesses that compete with each other, farmers help each other succeed."
Kaci showed us the chicken coop, a retrofitted barn with a heated loft for the wintertime. The young chicks huddled together under the heat lamp while the chickens pecked at the grass, protected by a portable plastic fence. Rotational grazing keeps the chickens healthy and happy and the land fertile. Because our group was so enthusiastic, Kaci offered to process a chicken for us right there. Having been a vegetarian for five years, I was nervous to watch, but it quickly became clear that Kaci and Amos treat their chickens as humanely as possible. Seeing them work together as a team was inspiring.
Kaci and Amos started farming because they wanted to live more sustainably and do what they love. They didn’t think they could make money from the farm, but that is what is beautiful about farmers; they don’t do it for the money, they do it because they love it. As the years have gone on, the Niddifers’ love of farming has grown so much that they both chose be full-time farmers two years ago.
I felt truly lucky to meet the Niddifers, who are not only so passionate about farming, but also love to share their passion with others. Talking about their farm dinners, Kaci tells us, “One of the most important things to Amos and I is being able to give people a place to make a connection to the land. We love doing our farm dinners because we love to cook, and we love to have people on the farm. The general lack of connection to agriculture is huge, so education is really important, but we’re just really passionate about how we live our life. We don’t want to teach people, we want to show them the pleasure of having good food and being in the sunshine and the dirt. We love to share that.”
You, too, can have this wonderful experience! Opt to visit Trosly Farm while taking the 2013 High Country Farm Tour.