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Meet Good Apple's Farm Partners

January 8, 2021

Get to know the folks behind your food -- our incredible farm partners! Meet the farm families, learn about their unique farms, and hear more about the smart & sustainable farming techniques they’re using to help ensure the food you eat is just as delicious as it is good for the Earth.

Fruitful Hill Farm

Fruitful Hill Farm is a family owned farm headed by Dale Ringger and his wife Amy. The farm is located in Smithville, Texas, a town in Bastrop County about 45 minutes southeast of Downtown Austin. It all started in 2002, when Dale and Amy opened their farm with the intention of it being a place to teach their six children the fundamentals of farming. The family began by raising Texas Longhorn cattle, and in 2007, expanded to pastured laying hens along with goats.

After seeing the great success the Ringgers had selling their meats and eggs at the local farmers market, a neighboring farmer encouraged them to consider growing produce too. Today, the farm raises nearly 40 different types of vegetables, including the radishes, bok choy, collard greens, shallots, and garlic that have been featured in Good Apple boxes.

Fruitful Hill Farm prides itself of its use sustainable and chemical-free practices, which include not only using organic seed types, but also organic insect and disease control, as well as organic soil amendments, including compost and minerals. The farm also utilizes sustainable techniques such as crop rotation and cover cropping, which both naturally help improve soil fertility and quality, while reducing insect damage and the potential for disease.

According to Jasmine Ringger: "Healthy soil makes healthy veggies!"

To learn more about Fruitful Hill Farm, you can visit their website at www.fruitfulhillfarm.com

Johnson's Backyard Garden

Johnson’s Backyard Garden, or 'JBG' as it has come to be known, got its start in 2004 when Brenton Johnson had the crazy idea to transform his East Austin backyard into a bountiful vegetable garden. As the farm grew, the small backyard garden eventually took over the front and side yards, too, leaving Brenton’s kids with little room to play.

So, in the summer of 2006, Brenton decided to expand, purchasing just over 20 acres just five miles east of downtown Austin on Hergotz Lane. But, just three years later, the entire 20 acres was full of vegetables and it was clear that JBG needed more land. So, they decided to purchase even more lan, this time on River Road in Garfield, just about 30 minutes from Downtown Austin.

Today, Johnson's Backyard Garden farms approximately 186 acres, growing over 200 different types of the highest quality vegetables, fruits, and herbs -- all using certified organic and sustainable methods. If you've been a Good Apple, you might recognize JBG's produce, including cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, beets, carrots, kale, and more.

To learn more about Johnson's Backyard Garden, you can visit their website at www.jbgorganic.com

Gundermann Acres

Gundermann Acres is a family owned, 500-acre farm in Wharton County, TX, just about two hours from Downtown Austin. Started in October 2009, by high school sweethearts Garrett and Stacie Gundermann, Gundermann Acres is the culmination of four generations of Texas farmers.

Having cut their teeth on Garrett's parent's farm, Gundermann Farms, Garrett and Stacie are well versed in organic, seasonal, and sustainable growing practices, bringing that expertise to both their outdoor fields as well their ten commercial greenhouses, providing local, high quality produce all year long.

Today, the farm produces over 90 different variety of fruits and vegetables including Good Apple features such as oranges, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, strawberries, grapefruits, and more.

To learn more about Gundermann Acres, you can visit their website at www.gundermannacres.com

Lightsey Farms

Lightsey Farms is a family farm, located in Mexia, Texas, a small rural town just over two hours from Downtown Austin. The farm was originally started in 1918 by Erie Elijah & Mary Ellen Lightsey. For over 100 years, the farm has been in continuous operation, passing from generation to generation.

While the Lightseys initially focused on planting cotton, they soon found their niche growing a Texas favorite: peaches. When Erie Elijah & Mary Ellen's son Erie Ellice took over the family business, he significantly grew the farm's operations, expanding to nearly 40 varieties of produce grown and making a new name for himself as one of the best growers in the state.

Today, Lightsey Farms is run by Erie Ellice's two daughters Mary & Lisa, who produce over 300 acres of fresh fruits and veggies, including customer favorites such as peaches, plums, persimmons, blackberries, pears, and peas.

Although many of the other generational peach farms in their area have closed, Mary & Lisa are committed to continuing the legacy of their father and hope to someday pass down the farm to the next generation. Until then, we've got some incredible produce to keep us occupied!

You can learn more about Lightesy Farms on their website at www.lightseyfarms.com

Middle Ground Farm

Lorig has farmed in central Texas since 2010. She began as an intern at Urban Roots Farm in East Austin before moving to Tecolote Farm in Manor. After three years at Tecolote, she moved to Boggy Creek Farm, then in 2014 helped establish a 3-acre farm for Farmshare Austin.

She recently completed her Master’s in Agricultural Education at Texas State University. She now owns and operates Middle Ground Farm, where she manages 50 acres of land and grows 5 acres of diversified vegetables alongside her stellar co-workers, Ben, Erin, Jim and Russell. Her favorite things to grow are onions and tomatoes. She has two dogs, Maddie & Abby, and she enjoys taking them on walks, cooking and eating food with friends, and taking dips in the river.

You can read more about Middle ground Farm on their website at www.middleground-farm.com

Steelbow Farm

Steelbow Farm is farm that's just about as local as it gets. Located just under 30 minutes from Downtown Austin, this small but intentional five-acre farm believes in building community through honest, good food.

Started in 2017 by owners Finegan Ferreboeuf & Jason Gold, Steelbow Farm represents an opportunity for the pair to get back to their roots, returning to the state where they learned to farm. Despite it's young age, Steelbow Farm produces some of Austin's freshest seasonal vegetables including chard, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, and more. With Steelbow's deep commitment to leveraging sustainable and organic practices, such as cover cropping and composting, you can eat comfortably knowing your food has been farmed sustainably and intentionally.

As Finegan and Jason like to share, they have just one simple goal: feed good people good food and care for the land so it will be happy and healthy for generations to come.

To find out more about Steelbow Farm visit their instagram at @steelbowfarm or visit their website at www.steelbowfarm.com

VRDNT Farm

VRDNT Farm is a female-owned, technology-forward farm, located in Bastrop, TX, just about 30 minutes from Downtown Austin. Leveraging technology, VRDNT, an abbreviation for 'verdant' -- meaning green and lush, utilizes bio-intensive growing practices to produce flavorful and colorful vegetables for Central Texans, while striving to optimize on-farm efficiency.

Owned and operated by Becky Hume, VRDNT was first started in June of 2019, when after managing several other local farms, including Johnson's Backyard Garden , Becky decided she was ready to venture out on her own. Purchasing the land from a retiring farmer, Becky is proud to be a young farmer keeping American agriculture sustainable.

Today, VRDNT grows a variety of seasonal produce including Good Apple favorites such as cherry tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, rainbow chard, yellow zucchini and onion. All VRDNT's produce is sustainably and organically grown utilizing bio-intensive techniques, such as double-digging, companion planting, and composting, as well as using organic, OMRI certified fertilizers.

Becky is committed to building an efficient local food system that is equitable and diverse and hopes VRDNT will help bring agriculture into the modern age.

Connect with VRDNT on Instagram @vrdnt.farm or check out their website at www.vrdnt.farm for more info.