Open Farm Fridays at the Farm at Windy Hill
July 14, 2016 Share

Open Farm Fridays at the Farm at Windy Hill

Featured image: The Farm at Windy Hill is a self-sustaining farm in Mentone, just off of Highway 117. (Photo by Tyler Pruett)


By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

MENTONE, Ala. — The Farm at Windy Hill in Mentone is hosting “Open Farm Fridays” this summer. Each Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., the farm will be open to the public to buy fresh produce grown onsite and the surrounding community.

Open Farm Fridays at the Farm at Windy Hill

Windy Hill not only provides fresh meats and produce for Camp DeSoto, but also the means to teach campers sustainable farming. (Photo by Tyler Pruett)

The Farm at Windy Hill sits atop Lookout Mountain just outside of Mentone. It’s a short drive from Highway 117 and there are signs to direct in visitors. The farm is the longtime dream of Phil and Marsha Hurt, who are also the directors of Camp DeSoto. It all started with their dream to operate a small-scale, organic farm to provide fresh produce and meat for the camp’s dining hall. In 2014, they saw their dream come to fruition.

The beautiful 200 acre farm was purchased from Kenneth and Flo Kirby. The Hurts were immediately drawn to the wide open spaces and surrounding forests. They also loved the obvious care that the Kirby’s put into maintaining the property. The blue farmhouse sits on a hill in the middle of the property, providing an almost constant breeze.

Other than providing Camp DeSoto’s dining hall with fresh food, the farm also provides the campers with a unique opportunity to learn sustainable farming first hand.

Campers participate in the daily work and play of the farm as part of a class.

Open Farm Fridays at the Farm at Windy Hill

Windy Hill hosts “Open Farm Fridays” from 3 to 6 p.m. throughout the summer to sell it’s fresh meat and produce to the public. (Photo by Tyler Pruett)

Current production includes about two acres of mixed vegetables and flowers, a fledgling fruit orchard, and pasture raised laying hens, turkey, pigs, and beef cattle. No chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides are used in their growing process.

Animals raised on the farm are free-range, and pasture fed. No hormones, antibiotics, or GMO grain are used. The pigs and cattle are allowed to roam the pastures and woods, which better suits their natural instincts. This also gives them more of a natural diet, consisting of foraged grass, roots, grubs, and nuts. The free-ranging livestock also helps clear the grounds of underbrush and naturally fertilizes the grounds.

All Windy Hill’s livestock is processed at a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) facility. Allowing the animals to free-range improves their quality of life. This method of raising livestock also results in better tasting, healthier meats.

Windy Hill’s chickens are also raised using the free-range method. The chickens spend their nights in a “Chicken Cabin,” which is rotated to a new pasture regularly to give the birds access to fresh grass and forage. The roaming chickens help create the traditional farm atmosphere at Windy Hill.

The farm is managed and worked by two young couples with a passion for organic farming. Patrick and Tema Flanagan manage the livestock and have an extensive background in producing free-range, pasture fed meats and eggs. The couple met at a D.C. farmer’s market over a decade ago, and have ended up here in Mentone, helping Phil and Marsha achieve their dream of a self-sustaining farm.

Brent and Megan Halderman manage the vegetables on Windy Hill. Megan is originally from Decatur and graduated from Mississippi State University, while Brent originally hails from Ohio and is a graduate of Ohio State University. The two met while working at a guest ranch in Colorado, and have made their home in Valley Head.

“Our goal is not only to provide as much fresh food for Camp DeSoto, but to give the campers the chance to experience farm life,” said Brent Halderman.

“Our secondary goal is to serve the public, which is a very big part of our Open Farm Fridays, to connect with the local community and Lookout Mountain,” Halderman added.

In the future Windy Hill is planning on continuing to expand its organic farming and include a full fruit orchard. There is also construction and renovation happening at the blue farmhouse on the hill. The Hurt’s plan on creating a unique venue around the farm. Windy Hill will host weddings, private events, farmstays, and retreats. The picturesque farm would surely provide the perfect backdrop for any event!

Stop by Windy Hill any Friday this summer between 3 and 6 p.m. for fresh meats and produce.

For more information on The Farm at Windy Hill, visit their website at www.thefarmatwindyhill.com.

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