It took over 3 long hard years from 2016-2019, but we moved our entire farm from Wyoming, IL to our current location northwest of Chillicothe. We sought a safe place to live, raise our family and grow clean food without the threat of pesticides from neighboring corn and soybean fields.
We now have one of the best locations in Illinois for an organic farm – surrounded by thick timber with high elevation to keep our watershed clean. As you can see from the overhead map, we are no longer threatened by the poison used by conventional agriculture.
Commitment to Clean Food and Living Soils
We are committed to raising plants and animals without pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO’s or animal confinement.
Soil health is our top priority and everything we do from composting, mulching to rotational grazing is to improve the health and biological activity of our soils. We believe in soil testing and remineralizing our soils to assure high nutrition and flavor in our food. We believe in following nature’s example by avoiding soil tillage and keeping soils covered. Coverage takes many forms including perennial pasture for our grazing areas and cover crops, mulch, compost and/or growing crops in our gardens. Call it regenerative or call it common sense – healthy soils start with a protective layer to feed and protect soil life just as nature has been doing for millions of years.
Our owned and rented pastures are Certified Organic and surrounded by thick timber providing protection from conventional agriculture and habitat for wild plants, animals and insects.
Our chickens, pigs and beef have access to forage or hay year round. Our animals are live their lives outside with access to protection from weather and predators.
We understand we’re not completely in charge of what happens on our farm. Nature is the boss and it is our goal to work WITH nature and not against it to coax wonderful food from the ground. We are constantly learning how to promote life in our soils, what grows well at our farm and how to live in harmony with our natural surroundings. Every single day, we are immersed in our beautiful surroundings, living and working on this beautiful food growing farm.
We currently hold organic certification for our owned and rented pastures. Can a farm grow fantastic, clean, organically inspired food without organic certification? YES!! We have never held certification for our Vegetables, Pastured Chickens and Pigs, Herbs and Flowers and we don’t plan to seek certification for these enterprises. As of the 2021 season, we are no longer certifying our Grassfed Beef.
USDA Organic Certification is a one size fits all program whether you grow on 1 acre or 100, 20 beef cattle or 500, retail or wholesale. When our beef herd became certified, our certifier required no changes to our growing practices. We met all the growing requirements for certifying our beef herd. So why end? The detailed paperwork and record keeping. And, the nitpicking details that are not needed for a small farm like ours.
We operate all our enterprises using inputs and growing practices that are NOP acceptable. We completely respect every farm that seeks any type of certification but it complicates a job that is already so demanding of our time and energy. We choose to use our resources to grow the food, grow it well and grow it clean. If you have any questions about our growing practices, we welcome any inquiries.
Broad Branch Farm uses the following Certified Organic practices:
Certified Organic Pastures – Our owned and rented pastures are Certified Organic by Global Organic Alliance.
Certified Organic Feed – We only use Certified Organic Feed for our chickens and pigs. This assures you there are NO pesticides, NO GMO’s and no cheap inputs or industrial by-products in the feed. It’s real and it’s Certified Organic.
Certified Organic Hay and Straw – Only Certified Organic Hay and Straw are used on our farm for feed, bedding and garden mulching.
Vegetables without Pesticides
Our vegetables are grown without pesticides, GMO’s and outside inputs that could jeopardize raising our vegetables according to organic standards (no municipal yard waste). Our vegetables are harvested fresh and delivered to your family through our Vegetable CSA from June – November AND through our Online Farm Store when available.
Pastured Chickens for Meat and Eggs
We raise Freedom Ranger meat chickens and multiple laying hen breeds from 2 day old chicks. All our chickens are raised on Certified Organic grain, Certified Organic pasture and Certified Organic hay in the winter months. NO growth hormones, NO antibiotics, NO GMO’s. Beaks are never clipped on any of our chickens so they can aggressively harvest pasture. We raise both both female and male chickens (roosters and hens). BBF Eggs and Chicken have a dedicated following and are available through CSA Shares and Online Farm Store.
Grassfed Grass Finished Beef
The beef calves are 100% Grassfed and Grass Finished only and NEVER receive grain. Grassfed beef calves live a healthy life and produce meat that is more nutritious than confined feedlot beef. We raise our calves from birth. Mother and calf stay together and there is no limit on contact with each other or nursing. NO antibiotics, NO growth hormones. Certified Organic Hay is provided in abundance during the winter months. It takes 2+ years to finish our beef calves on grass giving our beef excellent texture and outstanding depth of flavor.
Our hogs are raised on Certified Organic pasture and receive a Certified Organic grain ration. NO antibiotics, NO growth hormones, NO GMO’s, no clipping or removing tails, teeth, testicles or ear clipping.
Our sows are not confined when they farrow. They are allowed to move freely and piglets will stay with their mama and nurse for 4-5 weeks. We do not castrate our young male piglets so they do not endure the stress and pain of the procedure at just a few days old. Our pigs are allowed to root and romp, play and run. We never ring their noses to prevent them from rooting. Hogs want to graze plants just as much, and maybe more, than their grain ration.
Susannah grows pesticide free flowers and herbs for her bouquets. You’ll also find wild harvested materials like seed pods, grasses, grain sprigs, evergreen stems and wild flowers. No chemicals are ever used on any plant material used in Susannah’s bouquets. These are fragrant, old fashioned beautiful bouquets.
Available seasonally through our Online Farm Store.
With our move to the new farm, another herb garden had to be planted. With a little help from her family, Laura has established a culinary herb garden planted with Certified Organic herb plants. No pesticides are ever used on Laura’s herbs. Laura harvests her herbs the day before each Home Delivery so they are absolutely fresh and pungent.
Laura’s Herbs are available seasonally through our Online Farm Store.