Trees. That’s what I saw as I pulled into the driveway of Cool Breeze Farm. It seemed strange to me that a farm would have so many trees. I wondered, “How do they manage to grow anything here with all these trees?” After a conversation with Andrew Crummett, I learned how Cool Breeze Farm lives so harmoniously with the trees.
Cool Breeze Farm is a regenerative permaculture based family farm in the Shenandoah Valley. They say it best on their website: “We believe in humanely raising animals and farming in a way that mimics nature, helping to heal the land at the same time. Using a permaculture design base, animals are rotationally grazed and we use a no-till, no-plow, no-irrigation gardening system. We do not use chemicals of any kind. Animals eat food we harvest from the farm or non-GMO grain from a local source. We currently raise pasture/forest grazed pork, free-range eggs, chemical free produce, and grass fed beef. “
Andrew Crummett and Valerie McQueen run Cool Breeze Farm together in Mount Sidney. They sell their produce at the Nu-Beginnings Store and by the pound. Their farm also has a year-round membership available.
When I met with Andrew, he told me that he is all about the trees. Cool Breeze Farm does grow annuals, but they would like to move towards growing more perennials. Andrew also said that they grow their food sustainably. For example, Cool Breeze Farm uses hugelkulture and food forests. The farm also uses the Regrarians Platform and looks to Dr. Elaine Ingham for soil food web education. So you see, the trees themselves are a part of a much larger farming philosophy. They also fit into Cool Breeze Farm’s ACRES grant project!
The ACRES Grant
Andrew told me about their ACRES grant project: a pond to capture water. Cool Breeze Farm has a lot of erosion around the barn. They also have two wells and one cistern, which is not enough water for the farm. In order to solve both of the problems, they decided to capture rainwater from the barn. This water conservation project not only conserves water but also to allow the use of water on the farm for livestock, the riding ring, and young trees.
As Andrew continued to explain the project to me, it got even better! The runoff will be captured in a pond. Upon its completion, this pond will feature a food forest with perennial plants on the bank above the pond. It will also have a wetland habitat behind it. This food forest will obviously be great for the farm as it will generate more food. But what about the wetland habitat? That habitat is important to increase biodiversity on the farm. Andrew said that he looks forward to the frogs, birds, salamanders, and other animals that will come to the farm as a result of this ACRES project.
What to Expect
Cool Beeze Farm plans to build more ponds on the farm in the future. Andrew says that they are also starting some new fruit, nut, and timber trees on the farm. Make sure you get the chance to visit them and find out about their farm, which leads us to…
Where to Find Them
Andrew says that they keep an open door policy, and are happy to show the farm to anyone who is interested. The farm is located at 297 Salem Church Road in Mount Sidney. You can get in touch with them by calling (540)810-3348 or emailing email@example.com.
To keep up with all of their adventures, you can also follow them on Facebook. For gorgeous photos of their life on the farm, you can also follow them on Instagram, where they were listed in Buzzfeed’s “25 Farmstagrams You Should Definitely Follow Right Now.”