The Flatlanders Move In
Double Z Ranch is a first generation farm in Danbury, NH. We purchased the farm, then known as “Aqua Tree Farm” in early 2012, and moved up here from Connecticut over the next year. We don’t know a whole lot about what took place here before we got here, but from what we’ve been told by our new friends and neighbors, there was a decades old pick-your-own blueberry operation that had been all but abandoned for the last 10 years or so and then somewhat revived as the property changed hands a few times before we purchased it. The farm itself is about 200 acres in total, give or take a few tax map details. About 20 acres of that is beautiful fields, hills, orchards, and ponds replete with deer, moose, fowl, and beavers. The rest is all heavily wooded, smaller ponds, and of course our homes. We’ve done what we could to maintain the blueberries while we moved, and now that we’re settled, we’re beginning the life-long process of improving the farm, the land, and the produce. Over the past 3 years we’ve learned a lot about blueberries, birds, regenerative agriculture, and the integration of animals and plants to create natural abundance; so now the build-out begins as we move from maintaining what we were blessed to move in to, to improving and really producing.
So you’re an organic blueberry farm?
Well, not really. First of all, we’re not certified organic, but that is by choice not because we aren’t able to qualify. The choice is primarily a philosophical one, but would require a great deal of discussion to fully explain. If you’re looking for safe, healthy food, rest assured that is what you’ll find at our chemical-free farm. But more than that, we also choose to go beyond an organic standard to a more holistic approach which can be summarized with these tenets:
- methods of cultivation free of all chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
- focus on soil health to provide nutrient to plants and animals
- integrate plants and animals in nature-mimmicking systems, enhanced and optimized for production
- reduce off-farm inputs to greatest extent practically possible
- source inputs locally or produce on-farm when possible
- utilize natural, gmo-free, or organic feeds and inputs only
- produce the best local, fresh, authentic food possible
- incorporate diversity of soil organisms, plants, animals, and insects for the promotion of hardy, balanced ecology
- avoid extraction of fertility by utilizing cooperative systems that return natural surplus to the land indefinitely
What are your plans for the future?
To be honest, we’ll have our hands full for a long time just on the products and projects you see already. But in broader terms, we’re building a family farm for our children and their children and hope to be a reliable source of quality, local food for our community for generations to come.