Have you ever thought about how the vegetables you eat are grown? Do you think about the farming processes involved? Well, at Four leaf farm, we do not just grow vegetables, but we practice organic and regenerative farming by taking care of the soil the right way and growing chemical-free vegetables in a healthy and earth-friendly way fit for consumption.
Born out of a passion for sufficient living and sustainability, Four leaf farm, a regenerative organic farm based in Saintfield, Northern Ireland, was founded by a small team of Michael and Alex in 2020.
Since then, we have not looked back and have gone on to carry out community supported agriculture, growing healthy organic vegetables such as Microgreens, Potatoes, Beetroot, Rainbow Radish, Broccoli, Carrots, Scallions, Spring Onions, Swiss Chard, Kohlrabi, Fennel bulb, Dill, Rhubarb, Tokyo Turnip, Kale, Coriander, Chive Flowers, Tomatoes, Basil and now, fresh eggs.
Acknowledging the downside associated with conventional food production, we decided to try an alternative method by following a more natural path to sustainable food production, which has led us at Four leaf farm to develop a garden market.
As a result of our love for sustainable living and community, we are on a mission to produce healthy food using regenerative agriculture principles by growing organic and fresh salad leaves, vegetables, and recently pasture-raised eggs. It is all part of our mission to serve our community better by offering organically grown vegetables and fresh eggs from our free-range hens at a very affordable rate.
We do not only sell but create a connection between our local community and us. Also, we do not only pay heed to a set of principles that goes beyond organic farming but focus on improving soil health each year, producing nutrient-dense and healthy food, and growing in a way that
nurtures the microbiome around our plants and in our bodies.
It means we prefer the natural approach and do not spray any chemicals on our plants, not to mention we try to replicate the ecosystem of a forest floor following a 'no dig' method of growing, made known by growers such as @charles_dowding and richardperkins.co.
Furthermore, we use mushroom and green waste compost for our bed forming, which acts as a mulch to smother out weeds below while feeding the plants and soil life. The mushroom composite comprises straw, chicken manure, peat moss & gypsum and is full of mycelium. Each year, we have to top up with a small layer of good compost which will feed the soil for that season.
The beds will never be dug over or rotovated, which keeps all the needed things like fungal networks, worms & soil structure intact. We occasionally broad fork to aerate the soil without turning it over. Sometimes, we provide extra nutrition to heavy feeding plants with pelleted chicken manure and seaweed feeds. We alongside employ the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) solution. Bacteria like these are found all around us and are some of the strongest. It is essential to know that the same bacteria are present in some fermented foods such as sourdough and kimchi and are beneficial to gut health.
As part of the green box program, selected greens and vegetables at their prime are made available to those in our community each week. These items vary throughout the season. These boxes contain seasonal salad mix, cooking greens/ head lettuce, Herbs, and micro greens. Some things that will also feature in the boxes throughout the season are tomatoes, cucumbers, roots, and edible flowers.
Our products come in small and large packs, a single plastic-free option, a few handy pick-up points that suit everyone, and possible delivery for people whose homes are close to the farm. A great size of our growing space is devoted to leafy greens, herbs, and tomatoes. Furthermore, it is tasking to source them locally and super fresh, which is why we are maximizing a small space like ours to make them available for our community.
You can look forward to fresh mixed salad bags, beet, spring onion, spicy oriental greens, sweet cherry tomatoes, coriander / parsley / basil, and pardon peppers.