BERKSHIRE, N.Y. – Our Food and Farm Showcase, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, features a couple in Tioga County who are using their plot of land to farm for the future.
The Bottomland Farm in Berkshire got its start three years ago with a small number of rabbits and a dream.
Co-Owners Bill Morse and Becca Rimmel moved to the property four years ago and have been steadily adding new varieties of livestock and produce.
In addition to meat rabbits, they raise broiler chickens, egg-laying hens, pigs, ducks, geese, turkeys and sheep for wool.
Plus they’ve added an orchard, which is still in its fledgling state, where they’ve planted chestnut, hazelnut, apple and peach trees.
Morse says the chickens, turkeys and sheep fertilize the soil in the orchard creating a symbiotic system of farming.
“There’s a lot of moving pieces that all benefit each other and you’re getting a magnification effect of the same acre of ground could produce five to six different revenue streams as opposed to a monoculture system that is a one source,” he says.
Morse says the mixture of products is also better for the health of the land.
He says by farming this way, the nutrients are not being stripped from the ground.
Bottomland Farm is a firm believer in caring for the earth, and connecting to the community.
“I think community and agriculture is really integral and I think we’ve gotten away from that with a lot of the industrialized agriculture over the past several decades. people are losing their connection and one of the values we really find important with agriculture and with our farm in particular is that consumers can have a connection with the person that is growing their food,” said Rimmel.
Recently the farm has been producing seasonal log-grown shiitake mushrooms that take a year to produce.
The log is implanted with baby mushrooms which are ready for harvest the following season.
Rimmel says mushrooms that are log grown are denser in texture and flavor and are overall more nutritious.
Bottomland Farm sells its products at the Regional Farmers Market on Upper Front Street and the Vestal Farmers Market in front of the Vestal Library on Wednesdays.
You can follow them on both Facebook and Instagram.