Country Heritage Farms, a third generation, Food Alliance-certified farm operated by the Sweeney family, takes its duty of farming responsibly seriously, always striving for greater sustainability. The diversity of crops that flourish on the farm’s 1700 acres, including hazelnuts, marionberries, sweet corn, green beans, wheat, grass seed, clover, radish seed and cabbage seed, is one reason it has remained viable since its beginnings in 1923. “We are environmentally conscious; we take care of the land. It’s important that we all stay in business,” says Pieper. Inspired by Tom’s father, Sam Sweeney, “the epitome of a conservationist,” the family has set land aside for wetlands, planted conservation trees and constructed nesting poles. They use low-till and no-till operations in the fields whenever possible to prevent erosion and keep the soil from compacting, and as few pesticides as they can get.
Country Heritage Farms found Farmers Ending Hunger in 2008, through Norpac Foods, and has donated an acre of at least one crop per year as well as the money to process it. “It’s a waste for the farmers to donate crops if they cannot get them processed and to the people.” “People can’t eat and that’s just not okay. That’s probably why Farmers Ending Hunger is my favorite cause; participating feels like the right thing to do.”