Co-op Business Partner Profile: Elk Meadow Farms and Natural Health Techniques

Denice Moffat and Michael Robison have turned seven of their 40 acres into a beautiful permaculture farm. They use earth-friendly practices to reap high-quality fruit, produce, eggs, and honey.

Denice and Michael have a very organized layout for their farm. There is a chicken coop and enclosure for 50 chickens. Plum and apricot trees are planted inside the fenced area, and fruit that falls from the trees provides extra food for the chickens. The chickens also get a wheelbarrow of kale plants and vegetable scraps each day. Denice and Michael sell the chicken’s eggs to the Co-op and to neighbors. They currently also have a brood of turkeys and firewood to sell.

Next, they have a large enclosed berry patch with an amazing array of berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, tayberries and even goji berries. They use barley straw for mulch, which breaks down much faster and provides extra nutrients for the soil. Next to the berry patch is their “Back to Eden” Demonstration Garden. They built large arbors which support Arctic Kiwi plants, which Denice started from seeds of kiwis purchased at the Co-op. They now have 26 plants growing.

Also growing there are cardoon, an artichoke-like plant, and pawpaw trees. This garden is mulched with multiple layers of wood chips, which provide nitrogen and carbon to the soil as they decompose.

They also have a giant hoop cold-frame greenhouse filled with beautiful produce on their property. Their ducks are allowed in to eat all the slugs and snails for five weeks during the winter. Not far from the hoop house is a patch of asparagus seven feet tall. Everything grown on their farm seems large and healthy.

All around their farm are long hugelkulturs. Michael said hugelkulturs are made from rotting wood, forest debris, and any organic material available, stacked six feet high and then planted into. As winter goes by, the pile “melts” down. The process is repeated for three years, after which the soil is incredibly rich, and the rotted logs hold so much moisture no watering is required. They call their hugelkultur mounds “compost gold mines.”

Creating and maintaining Elk Meadows Farm is a labor of love. Denice dug 256 post holes to build a deer fence. Michael hand-watered acres of plants for years, until they installed a drip system this year. They currently have three families who each work ten hours a week at the farm. In exchange, the families take home fresh produce to eat. Michael and Denice would like to sign up one more family for this exchange of farm work for food. If you are interested, give them a call. Michael and Denice also plan to do tours and workshops for those wanting to learn more about their natural farming techniques.

Denice is a medical intuitive and licensed naturopath. She had a hard time finding many foods she knew were beneficial to eat, so she decided to grow her own, which was the beginning of their farming venture. She bought lots of medicinal herbal seeds and planted them on the property, like turkey rhubarb, which is a natural laxative. Denice has a telephone consultation practice. Those who would like to talk to her for advice on natural healing are invited to call her at (208) 877-1222. You can read more on her website: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/.

ELK MEADOW FARMS AND NATURAL HEALTH TECHNIQUES IS A MOSCOW FOOD CO-OP BUSINESS PARTNER.

Through the Co-op’s Business Partner Program, Co-op owners receive discounts at locally owned businesses that partner with the Co-op, and the Co-op promotes our locally owned partners.

At Elk Meadow Farms and Natural Health Techniques, Co-op members receive 10 percent off all workshops offered on the farm.

Elk Meadow Farms and Natural Health Techniques can be contacted at dmoffat@naturalhealthtechniques.com, FarmerMike@Deary-ID.com, or (208) 877-1222.

For more information about the Co-op's Business Partner Program, please ask for a brochure and/or an application at the Customer Service Desk or click here.