At Bee Conscious Farm, we support the organic movement, however we hold ourselves to the "beyond organic" standard. Organic farming can be far from regenerative or sustainable. We believe no chemicals or unnecessary soil amendments should ever be applied. With deeply intensive farming practices, Bee Conscious Farm aims to reestablish, preserve, and aid life.
Not tilling is of the utmost importance to us, allowing the underground life to flourish. Once no till has been established, you are working with living soil. With an abundance of life underground you strive for regenerative agriculture! This is what we strive for at B.C.F.
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-Meet The Crew-
Farmer Pat has always had a free spirit, wanting to be in nature as much as possible. When he and his wife relocated to Napa California, that's when the life as a farmer truly started. Patrick was able to take a five acre plot, on a 30 acre piece of land, and turn it into an organic sanctuary. That sanctuary supplied a very large family, as well as many local restaurants. Working on a beautiful, family owned farm in the heart of Sonoma was a wonderful experience. Being an organic farm opened the doors to endless amounts of wonderful resources. From connecting with local organic farmers and attending conferences, to experiencing first hand what you can do with a small piece of land. Time here helped mold his philosophy and outlook on what he could do in the future. It was here that "No till","Beyond organic" agriculture really struck a cord in Patrick's ukulele!
The passion for Regenerative Agriculture grew with every season that passed by. The Summer of 2019 Patrick and Alexis decided to take on the biggest project of their life. Purchasing their very own 24 acre jungle in Columbia, Virginia. Aspirations of farming any land the best way possible led Patrick to create his very own organic sanctuary on his land. He named it - "Bee Conscious Farm".
The sky is the limit couldn't be more true for this motivated farmer.
Pastry Chef Alexis
Alexis studied rigorously at the Culinary Institute of America, in St. Helena, CA. Her drive and enthusiasm placed her immediately as group leader of the BP25 class of 2018. Group leader heightens your experience as a leader of other Chefs/Peers. Adding numerous tasks to her daily check list came naturally. She embraced this process at the young age of 21, soaking it all up and taking chances when they came her way. Finishing First in the Bash Competition of 2017 in her very first semester is among one of her many achievements.
After her first year of school, Alexis became a mother! At the young age of 23 she now had a baby boy to love and nurture! She then took a year off school to balance schedules with Farmer Pat, in order to care for their newest family addition. This led her to working as the pastry chef at Brix Restaurant, in Yountville California, as well as accepting catering events. At this time she gathered more experience as a motivator for other Pastry Chefs! 2018 flew bye as she watched her family grow.
Starting school again in 2019 was a no brainer, and that is exactly what she did. Turning her 2 year experience into a 3 year experience, Chef Alexis finished her formal education journey a bonified Pastry Chef!
-Farm Power and Techniques-
We pride ourselves at making our own compost! Farmer Pat will flip the 15- 30 yard piles once a week for 15-20 weeks! This allows the media to form a wonderful marriage of Nitrogen and Carbon. All materials are coming from the farm work, as well as food scraps from our bakery. We do currently out source a small percent.
We will be starting small with a flock of 20. Our plan is to grow up to 200 laying hens. They'll provide us with the most wonderful eggs. We we allow them to forage in multiple spots on the farm to help gather the nutrients they need. All the while giving them the feral life they deserve.
Companion planting is deeply rooted in proper agriculture methods. Planting certain things next to each other will deter pest issues, inhibit more vigorous growth in all parties involved, and maximize your garden space!
Crop rotation is something we do to confuse any unfriendly fungal bodies in the soil. Removing the plants disease and pests have become familiar with and replacing them with new crops. This can happen multiple times a year in one bed.
Cover Cropping is a great way to build soil organic matter and establish life in the soil. At Bee Conscious Farm we mainly use wheat along with native annuals in order to overwinter and establish any beds.
The inspiration behind the project of bee conscious farm came from the knowledge of dramatic population reduction in the honey bee. For those who are unaware, bees pollinate 80 percent of the worlds' plants. 1/3 of all the food you eat is thanks to the bees. Some crops at B.C.F., such as the cherries and berries, are 90 percent dependent on honey bee pollination. The root of the problem effecting the bees is effecting us all, including their pollinator friends. Take the Monarch Butterfly as an example. Their population has decreased by more than 90 percent since 1997 (when scientists first took notice of the decline). It is as clear as when the widespread use of DDT lead us to the "Silent Spring". ROUND UP (Glyphosate) is the main culprit, being the most widespread pesticide in America. However, all pesticides, organic or not, contribute to this problem. Even the Dogmatically used Neem oil (ORGANIC) can be very harmful if you do not have the full knowledge of the product. Something as simple as spraying at the wrong time of year, not to mention the wrong time of day, can be extremely detrimental to your local bee population. We do the most we can to spread the word. We chose Bee Conscious Baking Company as our name in order to spark this conversation and to get more people interested, educated, and involved!
We use biodiversity as pest control at Bee Conscious Farm. By meticulously companion planting, which keeps our beds extremely bio diverse. Planting multiple crops per bed allows for an individual bed ecosystem. Bugs eating bugs, plants shading plants, and roots mingling. All conditions formulate to stimulate vigorous and healthy yields! No Till is most important here, keeping the life in the soil. Being proactive with your plants health is second. Seeding in the greenhouse and transplanting at the right moment is a major key to ensure health for our plants. Food grown properly for humans is seemingly unattractive for the majority of pests and disease.
The orchards will consist of apples, cherries, figs, hazelnuts, pecans, peaches, pears, and plums. We do have citrus in high tunnels, mainly lemons and oranges. As for the orchards, our chickens forage through sections of the trees. We move the flock each week, section to section. They will be cleaning up fallen fruit and devouring many pests in the process. This adds nitrogen into the soil during the process, feeding our trees.