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“Farm living is the life for me.” -Oliver Wendell Douglas
I have spent too much time researching how to develop a blog, how to grow a business, and how to do all the little behind the scene things that it takes to get business up and running. I didn’t really want to sit down and write this first post but instead decided that I just needed to get it done.
How did my wife and I get here? Where is here? I am sitting down at the table with banana bread and coffee for breakfast before church. Megan just came in from milking the cow in a chilly 25 degree morning. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary and soon afterwards, found out we are expecting our fifth child.
Where are we going? Me, being me, got a hair brained idea one evening. Around the first of the year, I came downstairs and told my wife that I had a wild idea. I enthusiastically opened with “Let’s do more than just sell the 30 pigs and slowly start a blog. Let’s do a CSA and go all in! Full time homesteaders, farmers, whatever you all wanna call it.” She did not warmly receive the idea; however, my loving wife has come along side and fully supports this crazy notion of mine.
For the past month, I have been working on making a new website to handle the potential growth. Nearly every day after work, I have in some form or another been preparing for our dreams. I have been buying seeds, researching brooders and chicken tractors, and planning every detail, as well as adjusting as needed. I had been getting a lot done, staying up to 11:00pm or even later with a singular focus to make this work. So let us begin.
Howdy. I am Jeremiah Deborde (pronounced de-bord). My wife, Megan and I, along with our growing family, own Passel Hills Farm in Union Hall. We bought this property 2 years ago this past December. The farm used to be a large parcel that was owned by one of the older families in the county. The property is located on Smith Mountain Lake. Though Simmons Creek has silted in over the years and the water is now mainly swamp, we do have water access. (I never dreamed growing up in Boones Mill that I would own lake front property. Moving on up!) I just like the looks on people’s faces when I say I live on SML. Megan usually chimes in and says that yeah the water is like 4″ deep.
The last 2 years has been a journey as we both learned what homesteading and farming is truly about. We will be sharing plenty of stories of lessons learned on here. This idea of farming full time has developed as well. In 2021, in conversations with my brother and other friends, the drive to do more for the community really started to push me. We, the collective “we”, needed to get back to local small agriculture. Our food supply chains had been stretched thin and shown how weak they could be during 2020 and into 2021. I decided to do something about it. Two sayings that I have taken to heart is, “No one is coming to save you” and “The answer is us”. Yes I could moan and complain about it, but at the end of the day what would that accomplish? My family needed to do more. We needed to take action.
This was all going through my head in the spring of 2022. I almost took the leap last year and went full time in on doing sweet potatoes. However, we hit some major road blocks and decided against it. In the summer of 2022, I took a new job which required me to be on the road 8 days and off 6 days. Awesome, I thought. This will allow me some more time to farm on those 6 days off. My priority was the farm. I knew that worse case I could grow food to feed my family. We had already invested so much in time and capital that I did not want to throw it out. Man, was I wrong. Yes, the 6 days off were nice. But I was still getting behind on the basic chores of keeping the 40 pigs and 25 goats going. On top of that, the traveling was putting a burden on my wife and kids.
Now you all are caught up. This mindset drove me to finally commit to starting a CSA and growing produce. Megan and I believe that focused effort and a lot of hard work will make this work. We have been encouraged and are thankful for all the support from our friends and family. The community has been largely welcoming and are excited about our message and vision.
What is our mission? Our mission is to provide our community with food and to develop small local agriculture. I am still working on the exact wording to make it sound all smooth and professional. The important point is that we, Passel Hills Farm, seek to provide a quality product, produce and meat, that our customers can and feel confident in knowing how our animals are raised and our produce is grown. The profits from these products will be invested into our farm and your community so that we all can strive towards being more sustainable and good stewards of the land. By shortening the logistical supply chain, small farms spread across this county and country can provide security to their local communities. I will expound upon these ideas in later posts. Local Ag and local communities has become our passion. No one is coming to save us, so we must take the first steps. My wife and I believe we are doing our part by working the land to provide quality food to our community. We truly want to help our community by meeting a need for local, sustainable, pesticide free produce and well cared for animals. We not only see this as a way to make ends meet; there are easier ways to do that. This is a calling and a privilege. It is a legacy we want to pass down to our children as well as being a contributing part of our community and we hope, your dinner table.
-My wife and I own Passel Hills Farm. Shifting careers from a fiber optic splicer to a farmer, this is our story of life on the farm and a few tales from years past.-