Sustainability In Hand
When Steve Martin decided he needed a weekend get-away from his job with the Department of Defense he was only beginning to think of that time, years from then, when he would retire. He found two 10-acre contiguous parcels of land near Romney and started his farm. Located near the hamlet of Three Churches, his could see one across the fields, hence the name, Church View Farm.
Although they often worked near each other, Steve met Ruth when they both were moved to another location while the Pentagon was being repaired. She was thrilled with the concept of an early retirement and so, they made their escape from the crowds and then really got to work.
As they developed their concept it became apparent that they placed a high value on sustainability. While they recognize that they are part of a larger farming community as well as active residents in West Virginia’s beautiful Potomac Highlands, they understand that they can produce much of their own food needs themselves.
They raise Katahdin sheep and have had several lambs so far this spring and are expecting more. They sell some for breeding stock and others are processed for meat. Two companion mules help provide protection and they have not had any problems with predators, even in this rural area.
Turkeys and chickens are the other animals on the farm, providing additional meat and eggs. Several fenced areas are set aside for the chickens to free range. A small chicken tractor is used for a few more birds.
Raised beds provide extensive seasonal garden areas and the high tunnel extends the growing cycle. Ruth and Steve continued to harvest greens through this past winter and are seeing new growth in other crop areas. Always looking for ways to maximize space, Steve and Ruth are trying strawberries in gutters positioned inside the high tunnel.
Three varieties of table grapes, raspberries and blackberries and numerous fruit trees are planted near the house as well. Tree trunks have been wrapped to discourage the deer. Four beehives not only provide excellent cross pollination of plants but honey for them to enjoy.
Steve has installed solar panels on the roofs of two buildings, providing the majority of their electric needs. He hopes West Virginia follows the example of Virginia, which recently passed a law permitting private owners of solar fields to sell excess power to the electric utility company, thereby reducing the public need for other fuels.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ruth’s skills extend into the kitchen where she cans the farm’s produce and also makes soap to sell at market. The Martins are interested in Romney’s plans for the new co-op developing into a year-round indoor market.
Church View Farm
Steven and Ruth Martin