Carriage House Farm encompasses several pieces of non-contiguous property for a total of approximately 300 acres. The gardens are maintained on the high side of the farm, well above the flood plain, but they take up a very small part of the acreage, and in spite of excellent sales of produce and honey, it's the field crops that still pay the big bills on the farm. Each year approximately 150 acres are planted in a commodity crop, either corn or soybeans, crops that can be planted, cultivated, sprayed for weeds, and harvested mechanically, requiring little hand labor.
Our low-lying property, which comprises the bulk of the farm, is subject to annual flooding, sometimes more than once a year, and each flood brings up tons of debris which must be cleared from the fields before planting, debris that includes tree trunks, tires, plastics…everything people dump into the river…and of course new crops of weed seeds each year. The floods, if they come from the Ohio also bring soil enriching silt which means that we never have to fertilize our crops beyond spreading composted manure from time to time when we have more than the gardens need. We also have several small hay fields and produce nearly three hundred tons of hay each year. Much of the hay is used for the horses boarded on the farm, but in 2014 the hay harvest was so large that we were able to sell off some of it to other horse owners in Ohio and Indiana. After trying potatoes three years on our own property, we found a better place to grow them in cooperation with a neighboring farm whose land is all out of the flood plain. A new "field crop" this year was syrup made from the sap of both our black walnut and silver maple trees. We do some small grains that are non-GMO and those grains are milled and sold locally. This year we will be continuing our experimenting with a heirloom corn named "Hickory Cane" and we will be planting two acres of an oilseed type sunflower.