Author: Brian and Nissa

Grand Designs

Ever since we bought the farm in 2011 – even before the purchase was final – we have striven toward a permaculture model.  There was (and still is) a lot to learn and to try.  But this winter, I (Nissa) completed a permaculture design certification program from Oregon State University under the instruction of Andrew Millison, and simultaneously completed a comprehensive design of the entire farm. I am currently working on detailed designs of each element.  I will be offering classes on Permaculture Basics and developing a permaculture design course.  We will also be offering hands on projects primarily for those with some knowledge of permaculture.  These projects will include earthworks, plantations, and natural building projects.  And of course there will be ample opportunity for hands-on learning in the daily operation of the farm.  All of these and more will be posted to our learning page.  Be sure to join our mailing list for information on when these and other classes, workshops, and events are scheduled.  And we sure would be tickled if you supported some of our upcoming fundraisers to defray the costs of materials, and to offer scholarships to prospective students.
(for more detailed description of this design, click here)


Happy New Year

New Years are always thought of as a time for new beginnings and resolutions.  Our farm is no different.  In farm life, winters are a little slower.  Short days and long nights mean the goats are not being milked.  Gardens are covered with snow so do not need to be tended.  Not warm enough yet for maple sap to be flowing.  So it is a good time to reflect on the year past and make plans for the coming year.  Here at the farm, 2017 is going to be a year of significant changes.  After 5 years of raising dairy goats, we are calling it quits.  The does are part of our family.  Many a late night were spent milking them, or monitoring labor.  Some of them were bottle fed.  Our oldest son Jack, spent the two years we lived off farm driving out to take care of them – every day.

It is not an easy decision.  But it is apparent after this long that even though they are part of our family, that commercially, they are not viable.  Our old dilapidated barn and milk house was not designed with the current health code requirements in mind.  And the two previous owners, both faced with foreclosure, stripped anything of value out the the place.  So after five years of renovations and a significant sum of money and we still are not able to pass a licensing inspection.  So we will be making changes this spring.  After kidding this year (which began December 28th by the way!), we will begin dispersing the herd and we will begin preparing the farm for sheep.  That way, we can focus on wool and lamb while we continue to renovate the barn and milk house (that’s right, we will be milking sheep!).  So if you know anyone looking for Oberhasli goats, let us know or point them to us.

We also have some big news about our newest plans for 2017…but you’ll have to wait for the next post for that news.

Lavender Farm: Living the Dream

Lavender Farm: Living the Dream

Twenty years ago, we took a weekend trip from our home in Woodditton, England to Norfolk Lavender Farm in Heacham. We were smitten with the historic house converted to a gift shop and café, the demonstration garden, the distillery… and the fields of lavender just as far as you could see.

More than ten years ago, we began looking for a farm of our own.  Lavender was always part of that plan.  We studied everything we could find on the cultivation and uses of lavender.  In 2011, we purchased this farm and began restorations, working toward a time that would be right to plant our first lavender plants.  This weekend, that day arrived.

Lavender Farm

5400 plants were delivered to the farm from Sequim, Washington, with a small number of additional plants yet to come.  The nearly three acre field is being prepared.  This week, we hope to be getting all of our plants into the ground. In two more years, we should be rewarded with a full harvest of fragrant purple blooms which should return every season for many years to come.


Lavender Farm

The whole family is excited about all of the wonderful things we will be offering to our customers – all made with our lavender.

Lavender Farm

Lavender Farm


One step closer

A couple weeks ago, we completed the renovation on our milk parlor.  The conversion from dairy cows to dairy goats had been started by the previous owner.  We finished adding 12 goat stanchions in half of what used to be 6 cow stations.  This greatly increased our efficiency in feeding and milking our growing herd.


Next step – Milk House!

Post ID: 553

Dear Friends of Renaissance Farms,

We are pleased to announce the re-opening of our online farm shop! And we are proud to present our Barnby Box subscription: a full year of fresh produce, paid weekly.

Barnby Box

Also for our Barnby Box subscribers, we offer several add on subscriptions, and a 5% discount on our other organic food items.

We look forward to packing YOUR Barnby Box and seeing you one Saturday soon on the farm!




The Gadbois Family

Help from a friend and neighbor

A neighbor and friend helped us over the weekend clear some of the invasive multiflora rose bushes that have been taking over our pastures.  Many thanks, Steve!