FRESH

Farmers Raising Ecologically Sustainable Healthy
Food for Southern Wisconsin

Hilltop Farm

CONTACT: Rob McClure
PHONE: 608-257-6729
EMAIL: robmcc666@msn.com
WEB SITE: www.hilltopcommunityfarm.org

Hilltopís 60 acres, including 25 of restored prairie, overlooks the Big Creek valley of northwest Sauk County. Working mostly by hand, we provide a limited number of 20-week shares (mid-May to mid-October), typically using less than a pint of fuel on-farm per yearly share. Subscribers can expect to receive raspberries, currants, apples, pears, quince and hardy kiwi in addition to a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. We support re-localizing and redistributing wealth more equitably and will therefore consider accepting partial payment in trade or local currency. Pickup is Sunday evening on North Baldwin Street, east isthmus. CONTACT: Rob McClure or Erin Schneider PHONE: 608-257-6729 (Madison), 608-985-7621 (Farm) EMAIL: robmcc666@msn.com or e.schneider.hilltopfarm@gmail.com

At Hilltop, we continue to pursue whole-farm practices which will lighten our ecologic footprint. The orchard we installed in 2010 was designed as a forest garden to compliment the adjoining forest-edge biome and to require little in the way of energy-use once it becomes established. It should continue to consume less and less fuel, and provide more and more food energy, as we go forward. We have been fortunate to re-enroll our prairie in the Conservation Reserve Program, and hope that through continued careful stewarding -- periodic burning, annual culling of invasives and broadening the native species mix -- we can lure back grassland birds like meadowlarks and bob-o-links that were endemic at Hilltop until the mid 1990s. We installed a 5.1 KW photo-voltaic array in July 2013 which has made us a net energy producer, even with the addition of a walk-in cooler in 2014. A highly-efficient well-pump, added in 2013, has also saved us energy. We have harvested rainwater from our roofs since 2011, and our 2,500 gallons of storage capacity has enabled us to use gravity-fed irrigation for a large proportion of our watering needs. We plan to add another 1,000 gallons of storage in 2015. Explanation of change from "Y" to "N" (Sept., 2012) under "Non-Production Land Synthetic Herbicide" in Farm Practices Grid: Prior to 2008, we occasionally used spot applications of glyphosate on problem weeds in our prairie and stump-killing compounds on thickets of autumn-olive and multiflora rose after cutting. We have ceased both practices and are extremely unlikely to return to them, but continue to judge worrisome episodes of spreading invasives on a case-by-case basis in order to be responsible land-owners. Any future change will be reflected in appropriate changes to the Practices Grid.