Our Manifesto-Natural, Simple and Reclaimed

Here at the Farm we are about three things: natural, simple, and reclaimed. These tenets are the overarching guide for all our Farm endeavors. Most of these manifest in food. Growing, preserving, buying, selling, cooking, and of course eating food. But it’s also a lifestyle.

First an explanation of the name. Five Feline Farm is not a cat rescue. The name is an homage to the five charter cats who moved with us to the five and a half acres we call home. It is also a glimpse of our sense of humor. Who names a market farm Five Feline Farm only to explain ourselves over and over? Wait until you find out what we name our products.

I digress. 

Back to our focus on food.

Natural and Simple

Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes

So much of our food supply is heavily processed, loaded with ingredients that sound more like a chemistry lesson than a food label. I can only conjecture that the rise of these artificial ingredients is correlated to the rise of disease and lack of well-being in our society.

We strive to use whole ingredients wherever possible. Not only whole but a direct connection to the source. Our vegetables come from our farm or local (within 100 miles) sources. Sometimes this is difficult and exceptions must be made. We can’t grow coffee in Central Illinois but we certainly drink it.

In addition to the gardens, we are beekeepers. Our honeybee colonies provide enough honey for our own use, some to sell and wax for value added products. The more we learn about the benefits of honey, the bigger a proponent we become. Honey is an all natural, non-spoiling food that can also promote healing.

Sweet Honey
Bees At Work

You may call it recycling or repurposing. Whatever the nomenclature, it is a way of life. Even the farm we live on is reclaimed land. The property had been left to it’s own devices. Covered in wild  grape vines and multiflora rose. Smattered with old appliances, rusty fencing and dilapidated buildings. Think ancient outhouse, rodent infested outbuilding, termite and dry rot compromised barn.

In the midst of these horrors we found treasures.

Wild blackberry and raspberry brambles for food. A vacated basement transformed to a goldfish pond. Garden art from a rusty iron drill press. Barn wood graces the fireplace mantel in the house, logs form garden bed edging.

Acres of open land perfect for a house, gardens, orchard and apiary. Orchard Sign

Reclaiming happens in the kitchen too. No, we don’t forage in dumpsters, but we do make every effort not to waste. Leftovers are creatively combined into new dishes and branded “New Leavin’s”. If something can’t be used, into the compost piles it goes. Enriching the soil for next year’s crop.

As we reclaim the land, we reclaim ourselves.

There are outlets to try new things and expand our abilities. We often learn by trial and error. Like the hoop house dismantled by prairie winds rivaling a nor’easter.

Follow along as we share what we learn. You may decide to implement a few things for yourself.