OWEGO, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Our latest Food and Farm Showcase features a young couple who are in their first year of full-time farming.
Integral Acres on Day Hollow Road in the Town of Owego raises pigs and egg-laying chickens and grows a wide variety of produce to sell at market.
Robbie Hoover and Madison Kather have 6 Heritage breed pigs and 65 hens that they mostly keep on the edge of the forest, moving from one fenced section to another.
Hoover says the wooded area offers shade and different types of forage while the animals help to clear out undergrowth and fertilize the soil.
Hoover says what started as a homestead farm, growing and raising vegetables, eggs and pork for their own consumption grew into a full-time business as they sought to focus their efforts on sustainability.
Hoover says, “It all came into farming and building a small farm. Getting more involved with the local community and keeping the supply chain short and small rather than across the country and across the world.”
Hoover and Kather are engaged to get married next month and both quit corporate jobs to pursue farming full time.
Last year, they raised 2 pigs for their own consumption. This year, they have 6 which have all been pre-ordered by the half or whole pig.
They try to use as many organic products as possible and never use pesticides or herbicides on their vegetables.
Integral Acres grows beets, kale, radishes, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, garlic, Swiss chard, tomatillos and more.
Hoover says he likes the seasonality of the work with long, hard days in the summer and rest and rejuvenation during the off season.
“Being outside more, it’s a healthier lifestyle. Being active and moving around. It’s a great way to live and it’s how we want to raise our family some day,” says Hoover.
Hoover and Kather say they are learning as they go and are planning to increase the number of pigs they raise next year and double the size of the garden.
They sell their produce, eggs and high percentage whole wheat sourdough bread at the Vestal Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 to 1 and at the Downtown Binghamton Courtyard Market on Tuesdays from 4 to 7.
For more information, go to integralacres.weebly.com.