Emerald Farm and Fibers grew out of many cold Connecticut nights, snuggled under blankets, watching as much farming television we could find.
Bottom line, we are a family of closet farmers. What is a closet farmer, you may ask? A closet farmer has overalls in her bottom drawer, just dying to come out, routinely walks around in Wellies for no reason and always has dirt under his or her nails. And if you are a true closet farmer, at some point you have to make the decision-- are 10 containers on my porch enough to scratch the itch or do I need to have chickens to feel at home. I remember the night when we cashed in weekend trips to New York and reliable internet for... well... poop. With a series of nervy moves, we moved from Charlotte, to Connecticut, to Greenville to the 30 acres we now call home in South Carolina.
So we had the farm. Now what? When we thought about farming, we knew our limits. We couldn't depend on income that depended on taking the lives of our animals. We also knew that farming produce might be too scary to hang our hats on, as our thumbs were not entirely green. So we decided to pool our talents.
What I knew and what Gearoid had a passion for was fiber-bearing animals.
As a kid, I learned about sheep on the Colorado Mesa 4-H program. I helped friends show and feed their sheep. I also learned about fiber production from sheering to crocheting. However, all my book learning and couch crocheting would be nothing without Gearoid. He is the one who has spent his life learning how to build, moving to the world of fencing, learning how to take care of the feet, vaccinate and generally making sure we all behave. Together, we finally came to define our dream to own a fiber farm.
What is a fiber farm, you ask? A fiber farm is one that supports animals whose primary product is their hair. Fiber is not life-taking. In fact, as you will learn in our "Why Fiber?" blog post, sheering fiber-producing animals is essential to their health. A super cool thing about fiber producing animals, is even the boys matter. So many boy goats are killed or sold for meat because they have no purpose in the milk world. In the fiber world, they are king! So let's lay this out:
Sheering is essential for animal health.
We can keep the boys.
We can support heritage breads.
These animals improve our land.
Everyone matters :)
So we had our business plan and purpose and we got to work. In 8 months, we found our farm, built three paddocks, housing and with the help of the SC Department of Agriculture, have 5 Nigerian Dwarfs, who helped us practice handling goats, 4 angora goats, who will provide our first fiber products and found the guardian dogs to take care of them. We adopted Callie and Sassy from the Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta . They grew up on a goat farm and when the farmer got too old to continue had no home. They have been great teachers to all of us and now rest on their big beds inside each night; work done. Then we got the puppies: Bonnie and Clyde. As their names suggest, they are the outlaws of the farm. It is amazing to see them grow from little puppies to forces of nature.
This is our plan and passion. We are creating a business built on sustainability, kindness and traditional Irish arts and crafts. As an Irish/ Irish-American couple, we use our heritage as inspiration. (Check out our catalogue.)
By summer 2022, we hope to open our roadside stand, welcome guests to see our animals, have angora rabbits and offer a full catalog to our growing customer base. We also want to give back to our community building the passion for kind-fiber products and kind-farming practices.
Stay tuned here for:
Quick "how to" lessons.
Pictures and stories from the farm.
Free downloads for the kids
Growing catalogue of unique gifts, fashion and woolen goods.