In this blog post I am interviewing Andrew Hollister of Hollister Farms. Andrew and his family produce local food naturally on a farm in southern Lancaster County and market it through a number of methods, including a couple of local farmers markets. Follow along with this photo blog as we tour the farm.
Andrew takes his meat and produce to the Hickam Farmers Market on Saturday morning, which he helped get organized this year. He also participates in the Bennet Farmers Market in eastern Lancaster County on Wednesday afternoons.
The Hollisters purchased this high tunnel with the assistance of the NRCS EQIP Program. It has allowed them to grow a variety of different vegetables almost all year round. One of the more uncommon vegetables they grow is the tomatillo, shown in the first row of plants in this photo. The high tunnel allows them to get a jump on the market in spring and produce cool-season crops into the late fall/early winter. It also provides a duplicate of the crops grown outside in their garden.
Andrew plants primarily heirloom plants on their farm. They are certified naturally grown. Here is some kohlrabi he planted in the high tunnel.
Beets are another vegetable Andrew likes to grow. Here are some golden beets. Notice the newspapers on the ground. These are used as a mulch in the high tunnel and help hold moisture in the soil.
Andrew likes to be as efficient as possible. Here are some eggplants intercropped with tomatoes in the high tunnel. Other vegetables he grows in the high tunnel include: peppers, basal, onions, squash, cucumbers and even some sweet corn.
Andrew and his dad constructed this greenhouse last year. This year they used it to start plants for their own farm, but also grew vegetable starts to sell, providing another source of income. They have sold plants to Prairie Pine Farms, Community Crops and a group of moms in both Omaha and Lincoln.
This photo shows an outside view of the greenhouse and raised beds in Andrew’s perennial garden. Some of the plants grown in the perennial garden include: lavender, herbs, oregano, rosemary and Egyptian onions.
Andrew also plants several crops in his irrigated outside garden. Notice the drip tape across the raised beds in the garden. Andrew plants broccoli, green beans, cucumber, basil, peppers and okra in this garden. Produce is sold at farmers markets, on the farm, on Facebook at his on-line store and through the Nebraska Food Coop.
Livestock and poultry are also a major component of Hollister Farms. This pasture is where Andrews ducks and geese forage during the day.
Andrew’s flock of water fowl in this photo. He collects duck eggs and sells them to restaurants and individuals. There is an excellent market for duck eggs. He also has a few geese that will be sold later this year as possibly someone’s holiday main dish this fall/winter.
Andrew and his dad continually are upgrading facilities. Here are the chicken coops for his small flock. He collects and sells chicken eggs as well to several customers.
Rhode Island Reds are a major breed in the laying flock of chickens on Hollister Farm. I caught a photo of several hens inside the coop.
Swine are also a big part of Andrew’s operation. He sells a significant amount of pork to his customers. Here one of his sows forages on some waste food that Andrew obtains from Whole Foods in Lincoln.
Here a sow cools off in the hog wallow. This is very important because hogs can not sweat and they need this as a way to cool off, especially in the severe heat we have experienced this month.
As you can see Andrew’s swine herd enjoys some feed on this warn summer morning. He will have several hogs to sell for meat later this year.
Andrew actually started out raising goats and sheep. He has a nice flock of meat goats, which have a strong percentage of the meat goat breed Boer in them. There is a good demand for goat meat in the Lincoln area too.
Goats can go out to the pasture to graze too on the Hollister Farm.
The final component of the Hollister Farming Operation is the flock of Katahdin sheep they have on their farm. These are hair sheep, meaning they do not have to sheer them and are produced for their meat.
This concludes the photo blog of Hollister Farm. I want to thank Andrew for his time and allowing me to interview him and also take photos of the farm. As you can see the Hollisters have a very diverse farming operation with many moving parts. It will be interesting to see how this farm develops over the years. In the mean time, be sure to look for Hollister Farms at the local farmers markets, on Facebook, on the Nebraska Food Coop or just stop by their farm near Princeton, NE. They are another source of local food in southeast Nebraska.