Keep up with the Vested Heirs (if you can!) as they plan, plant, weed, grow, harvest, and teach their "wee ones" where their food comes from and how to care for the land. They'll also keep you in-the-know about what's available for sale and what's happening each week on the farm.
November, how did you sneak up on us so fast? It seems like just yesterday we were trying to figure out how tall of a fence we needed- woven wire or high tensile, 7 strands or 9? What vegetables were we going to grow and what variety, not to mention how many of each. The kitchen became the strategic planning zone, its table covered in seed catalogs, reference material, and cups of coffee…lots of coffee.
We sat through classes trying to absorb all this new information being thrown at us. Fertilizers, raised beds, drip tape, soil samples, weed control, pest control-so much to take in.
How would we take all this new information and use it ensuring our farm would be profitable and not put us deep in debt in our first year? The fence was built, a business plan written, individual crop rows were drawn in on the production plan, seed trials were started, and the soil was prepped for the raised beds yet to come.
Our first rows weren’t very straight and our planting holes were not always exactly where they were supposed to be but, the seeds went in the ground and we waited to see what would happen. Miraculously despite the cold temperatures and the season long drenching, little green sprouts began popping up and with that, Vested Heirs Farm had its first season.
We have amazing customers including individual farm sales, local restaurants, farmers market, and the local foods stores. We have great relationships built on delivering a quality product fresh from the field and making a personal connection with as many as we can. We loved going to the farmers market and seeing repeat customers and watching kids run up to buy our carrots, eating them right there as they browsed through the other booths. We deeply believe in getting fresh vegetables on the trays of school children and have been thrilled to be part of the WV Farm to School program. We sold to 3 different county school systems and hope that next year we can expand that. Healthy foods mean healthy kids! Vested Heirs is very proud to be part of this movement.
All through this process we have felt the presence of Darla and Debbie’s dad, David. It seemed like every time we would start a new project, we would find a reminder of him. It felt like he was watching over us and reminding us that we are just carrying on what he had been doing for all the years before us. When we made the difficult decision to tear down the main barn because of its deteriorated state, we found his baby footprint in the cement right outside the milking parlor. When we started working on the old potato cellar, we power washed the floor, only to find another one of his footprints in the cement. David would have turned 80 this month and we think he would have been pretty darn proud of what we have accomplished.
We are now in the process of the season winding to a close. The last of the kale has been picked, the winter squash put in storage, the strawberries and asparagus mulched, last of the beets canned for ourselves, and items put in the freezer to be brought back out at Thanksgiving. We truly have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. We cannot thank our ancestors enough for deciding that on this mountain in Aurora, they would build their home, start their family and till this soil. We can only hope that when we are old our wee people will love this land just as much and want to carry on what their great great grandparents started so many years ago. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may your cup overflow with your blessings. Ours definitely have.
Welcome to Vested Heirs Farm! We want to take this opportunity with the first blog to introduce everyone and tell you a little bit about what we do “down on the farm”. First let us tell you how we decided on our name. Vesta and Fred Stemple started this adventure over 80 years ago. We took the first few letters of Vesta’s name “Vest” and added it to the last two letters of Fred’s name “ed” to form Vested. Debbie and Darla are direct heirs of Vesta and Fred. With that... Vested Heirs Farm was born.
We are deeply vested in this adventure and just as dedicated as that early generation. The only difference is our crops. We currently have over 3 acres in produce growing on this fertile land. We are growing everything from asparagus to carrots to snow peas.
This was our trial year. A year for us to figure out what would grow well and what our customers really wanted to buy. Some crops we have said we definitely will do again and others won’t make the cut. It has been a labor of love. We go to bed tired, sore and knowing we have done everything we can to make this a success.
There are four partners, BJ and Debbie Fike, Darla Stemple and me... Cindy Murphy. We are family and friends and have a cast of extended family that put their hands in the dirt to make this dream a successful reality. Debbie and Darla’s mother Delores Stemple, lives on the farm and frequently helps plant and harvest. She’s also a big help watching the “wee” ones while we do things that they can’t help with. Debbie and BJ’s daughters Kimberly and Kaylen have given us our greatest gifts. Three “wee ones” that are frequent little farmers that love to help plant, care for and pick our produce. Richard is 5 while Addison and Colin who are twins, are 3 years old. They make us laugh until we cry sometimes with their antics and will be frequent topics in our photos and blog.
All through the winter, we didn’t have a single fruit or vegetable to sell, so we sold our story, our dream to awesome friends and future customers. We used Facebook to show and tell everyone all the things we have been doing on the farm to make this dream a reality. We wanted people to be invested or “vested” in our story, to see who we are and what we do. We have made some amazing friends who have helped us in ways too numerous to mention and a loyal customer base who have followed this dream from its first steps to where we are today.
So welcome to this new electronic venture. Our very own website where you will be able to see more of what we do, how we are doing it and even order your produce in advance of your visit to the farm. We plan to do a small monthly blog to fill in the details of all the pictures you see and keep you advised of what will be ready for sale soon. We hope that you become “Vested” in our story and enjoy the “fruits and vegetables” of our labor.