I have been travelling into, out of and through the DC Beltway area for about 8 years and I never knew so much agriculture was so close to the Nation’s Capitol. Jehovah Jireh Farm is a small family farm that is producing food in a model I definitely would love to see propagated throughout the nation.
I called ahead to get a tour, and although Myron was away getting bulk feed for the chickens, I was escorted around by his son Joel who is very savvy and answered all my questions thoroughly. Once on the land, Joel swept his hand to show that they were stewarding pretty much everything that you could see from “tree to shining tree.”
A hay field in the front, vegetable garden, pastured broilers, sheep, the family dairy cow, honey bee hives (with five supers on top!), layer hens—the firmament teems with multi-speciation throughout. Multi-speciation along with good feed, sunshine, good diet and great care means that you can drive up to the farm and buy meat that was raised and processed right where you are standing.
If you want to ask a question about livestock diet, animal density, quality of feed, glyphosate-based herbicides on the pasture, pharmaceuticals, that is no problem. They will look you in the eye and tell you about the purity of the food you are about to buy—try doing that at your local grocery store. The transparency for food is so vital to the safety of our food.
The farm has benefited from trial and error, diligent study and observation (like this data cart in the egg coop picture above). Joel said that they have synthesized a lot of Allan Savory, Joel Salatin, Dr. Carey Reams and others' work into their practices on the farm. The Horst family says that they take their most weighted advice from the Holy Scriptures by implementing practices like staying out of debt (Romans 13:8). Joel described how one time in the past they could not afford enough of a certain kind of fencing for a particular project, so they stuck to the debt-free principle and developed an even better technique with materials on hand.
This is not a hobby farm, this is a working farm and I really can appreciate that. The eggs are just as good as the ones we get from our chickens at home (the secret ingredients are bugs and sunshine). Whether you are farming for a living or tending a garden patch, anyone can benefit from this piece of advice from Joel, "You have to find a way to cut the labor if you are going to make it a profitable system." One way to do that is to let nature do a lot of the work for pest management by taking care of the plant or animal's immune system.
Joel and I got into a conversation about plant nutrients and it became abundantly clear that he had read a lot and he knew how to apply it. The Horst family takes their farm inputs very seriously, and they take great pains to keep their plants and animals healthy within the humble boundaries of the created order. Watch below as Joel shows us how to use a refractometer to measure how well he is helping boost the plant’s immune system to fight pests:
I would urge you to check out this farm’s website (it is where I found the Egg in a Nest recipe!) and be sure to sign up for their newsletter. They feature great articles that any homesteader or gardener can use. Although you may not be in the DC area to pick up your food locally from their farm, I would encourage you to search for farms who raise ethically produced food in your local area.
Go ahead, get to know your local farmer, find your community’s farmer’s market, look up your CSA or start one (even better)!
Pro Deo et Patria
All photos and videos by Pantry Paratus