TEN MILE FARM                   
about us

 I will get around to updating this eventually.  We bought our forever farm in December, 2014!!  For those of you who are in the same kind of situation we were - there’s hope!  It can actually happen!
Kevin Toomey and Christina Carter started Ten Mile Farm in 2005.  We are two dreamers with big aspirations and little pockets.  As a testament to our strong desire to be farmers, we chose to start farming without actually owning the farm.  For eight years we leased land in Candler, and we live in downtown Asheville.  We commute each day, about ten miles or twenty minutes, all amenities and dogs in tow.  This is where our name “Ten Mile Farm” comes from.  
We started farming on about an acre along Hominy Creek, in a field that had been fallow for about 20 years.  Our first piece of equipment was a 1960’s Gravely walk-behind “tractor.”  In 2007, we acquired an additional three acres about two miles up the road from our original plot, also located on Hominy Creek. Our main focus is vegetables, but we’ll expand in diversity once we have our own land.  This would include an orchard, berries, some animals - all that fun farm stuff.  

There are benefits to not actually owning the land:

We are learning A LOT, without the stress of a large land payment. We believe all this “practice” will contribute immensely to our ability to know what to produce and how to do it efficiently. A 300’ row feet bed of gold ball turnips is beautiful, but we can’t sell all of that.  When we do purchase land, we’ll have an established business that can actually pay for the mortgage. And when it’s time to buy, the dreamers will be a bit more practical than we were five years ago.

We have come to have a better understanding of soil quality. Because we farm two separate pieces of land, we essentially are farming two completely different micro-climates.  This knowledge will aid us tremendously in choosing the right piece of land to buy.   The learning curve is less each year.  We now know how to set up irrigation for a few acres, we know how to put up an electric fence, and we know how to get rid of groundhogs.  We know how to manage a greenhouse, and this task is not as easy as it might seem.  We know how long it takes the two of us to pick and wash for our CSAs and our market.  We know that picking bush beans is a back-breaker and hell yes, they ARE $5 a pound (for the haricot verts, of course).  

We know that no matter what happens throughout the beginning of the season (like an Easter snowstorm, then a two month drought and then TWO hail storms in two weeks along with six inches of rain, for example), that once we eat that first ripe tomato, all that doesn’t seem so bad.  This knowledge is priceless. 

When we do purchase land, we’ll have an established business that can actually pay for the mortgage, and we’ll already have a majority of our tools, tractor implements, and day to day farming amenities paid for. 
And then there are drawbacks:
Well, sometimes it’s a pain to have to prepare everything for the day:  Pack your lunch and snacks.  Bring the seeds that you will need. Make sure you have your boots, swimsuit, sunscreen, water bottle (we fortunately have a spring nearby, no “beaver fever” yet!!)... This is all very time consuming. 
We would love to step out in the morning, tea or coffee in hand, and just walk through the fields, visit the vegetables, see who’s eating the tomato plants.  In the most crucial time of spring, when temperatures fluctuating are wildly, we can’t just walk out and water the greenhouse, or open the door, or turn up the heater.  
We have to pack everything and get out there, cause we ain’t driving out there just for that.  In the summer, we are out at the farm all day.  No coming into the house for lemonade, or a nap on the porch.  Ideally, in the dog days of summer we would prefer to work from say 6 am to around 1 or 2, have a big lunch and a nap, and go back to work around 4 or so, and work until it’s too dark to see.  Not possible for us.  But when it is, we will enjoy it.  
We also harvest everything, pack it into coolers with ice, and bring it back into town, and unpack it all to wash it for market or our CSA’s.  That’s devotion don’t you think?!    
There is also the complication of farming two plots that are not walking distance apart.  (Have I mentioned that besides all the continuous backbreaking labor, the single thing that you do the most is WALK.) Sometimes, the stirrup hoe is not where you are.  Sometimes, you have to drive over to the other place to get the box that contains all the irrigation connections so that you can finish what you started.  Sometimes your BCS (an Italian walk-behind tractor) is 40 minutes away, because you have to get the truck, load the tractor, drive back, unload the tractor and get to work.  
Most of the setbacks revolve around time, and if things were different, would we actually have more of it?  Can’t really answer that question.  I can say that, we are getting better at it, and certainly more mindful.  I know one day we’ll look back on this all and laugh and laugh.  You do realize that you have to be a little crazy to want to be a farmer.
                                            THEN                                                                             NOW

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