Our Story

The US government transferred our land to the Duffy family in 1876. The Duffy's farmed the land for a few short years but lost it upon Mr. Duffy's early death. Many owners would come and go, but we chose to honor the original American owners by naming our farm Duffy Meadows.

When we stepped on the land for the first time, we saw so much possibility and we imagine that is how the Duffy's felt as well.

Our first order of business - to clean up the land. Years of farming debris (nails, sheet metal, rotten boards, equipment, nails, barbed wire, old appliances, and nails) littered the land. Did I mention nails? We have removed buckets and buckets of nails and are still finding them! This clean-up takes more work than you would imagine - especially without big equipment to help.

Then we started planting trees. When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago! So we started right away. We planted a windbreak of balsam fir and blue spruce on the western edge of the property. Then we planted 25 autumn blaze maples, so we would be able to tap for maple syrup in the future. Our sandy soil prevents us from growing our favorite maple - the sugar maple, but the autumn blaze will do the job. 

The soil is sandy with a noted difference between the pastures and the field. There is a higher percentage of sand in the tilled fields, due to years of erosion. Looking at aerial maps taken every decade from 1939 to present, it's clear that the land was continuously cropped.

Before we took ownership in 2016, the land was home to a team of horses and the field was rented for oats and rye.

We decided to end the commercial rental agreement and restore the tilled field into native prairie. Tillable acreage is more valuable than "wild" acreage (and provides an income), but restoring the land is the right thing to do. The prairie cover will replenish the topsoil while also providing habitat for wildlife - including bees.

Our acreage is surrounded by oak/aspen forest, pine barrens, wetlands, and farmlands. It's a beautiful glimpse at untouched nature. Of the 40 acres, we will only farm 2. Those acres consist of perennial orchard - apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries, blueberries, asparagus, currants, honeyberries, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, and herbs. A small plot is reserved for research into annual plantings, fruit grafting, and plant propagation. The rest is wild!

Our research currently focuses on native prairie/wild plant seeds (harvesting/propagating/improving/planting), improving rare fruit breeds for northern climates, and honeybee health & productivity. In the future, we will expand into cold hardy nut tree propagation and heritage farm breeds (possibly ducks and cattle.)

Food production is a side effect of our research. Our primary goal is to work with nature to improve our food choices, our production methods, and product quality. Any food produced at Duffy Meadows is currently given away. Right now, we only have enough production to give samples and gifts. In the future, we will sell our produce at Farmer's markets, direct to consumer, and possibly through CSA.

All of our food products are produced without the use of external chemicals. We use compost, mulches, and mineral amendments to improve our soil. Good soil produces good food. 

The land is maintained to sustain the natural habitats of the wetlands, forests, pastures, and prairie. We actively engage with the land to improve its condition. This includes managing dead or dying trees, surveying the wetlands for invasive species, mowing/burning the prairie, cutting trails, and cooperating with local conservation agencies. 

Duffy Meadows is completely off-grid. This provides many challenges to completing work, but it also provides a beautiful escape from the wired world of today. The cabin at Duffy Meadows is also off-grid and is rented to University research personnel, hunters, and as a vacation getaway. 

Over time, this land should bear much fruit - both in scientific discoveries and actual fruit!

Thank you for being a part of that journey!

 Check out our Blog for Updates!

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