Local gardens produce bounty

The rewards, however, greatly overshadow the downfalls.

I love producing stuff. To be able to do this is just awesome, and we get to meet a lot of really interesting customers. said Michelle.

And she knows that farm-fresh means good food.

You actually get a better product, you get a nicer quality. You can come to the farm and actually see where the food is coming from.

Maintaining the farm is hard work, but it takes mostly man-power and very little non-renewable energy.

Small operations like us, we produce all this food and we use a minimal amount of energy to do it. You get a good outcome for your labor. said Michelle.

Although the Whitefields dont advertise, demand is constantly growing. This season you can find their products at farmers markets in Hadley and Warrensburg.

Nettle Meadow Goat Farm in Thurman, operated and owned by Lorraine Lambaise and Sheila Flanagan, can be summed up in its slogan: Happy goats-Great Cheese! Founded in 1990 by Laurie Goodhart and Raynault Herbert, the farm was bought by Lambaise and Flanagan in July 2005, who continued the business of caring for the farm and producing a variety of delightful goat cheeses following organic principals. The two women got their start making goat cheese in California, and saw a great opportunity in coming to Nettle Meadow.

It was a good fit for us to be able to continue what they started, said Flanagan, We wanted to get out of the office life and spend more time working with animals.

The farm isnt just about cheese, though. Many animals call Nettle Meadow home, from a few aging donkeys to cats, dogs and even peacocks. Sanctuary is provided for all, and retired goats can happily live out their golden age here. Aside from the joys of working with animals, giving the younger generation a taste of farm life is one of the greatest rewards of the job, according to Flanagan.

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