Shepherdstown-based Green Gate Farm’s goal from the beginning was to be a source of the highest quality meats and produce for the surrounding community.
Owners Lars Prillaman and Leslie Randall are proud that their methods set them apart. “To do this, we raise our animals with love and care in a natural environment, and we grow the most nutritious produce with a minimal carbon footprint because we avoid synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fossil fuels,” explained Prillaman. “We feel that our customers and CSA members appreciate the care we give our livestock and the methods we use to grow our produce. They can see with their own eyes what’s different about our farm, and of course, the flavors set us apart, as well.”
An additional nugget: Green Gate is the only farm in the region that builds a business model on the backs of draft animals (horses in this case)—the primary source of power on the farm.
“In our opinion, the benefits to using draft horses rather than mechanization far outweigh any negatives,” Prillaman added. “Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that we do not use fossil fuels in any significant way on our farm. Of course, we have to use a vehicle to get to markets and some CSA drop-offs, but when it comes to the day-to-day farm work, we use virtually no gasoline or diesel fuels.”
Grasses, grains, and hay fuel the horses, and pastures are managed in order to produce that fuel, which powers the gentle giants. In turn, they provide manure, which can be composted and spread on the fields to continue the cycle. Horses also create far less compaction in the soil than a tractor.
“Perhaps, to us, the most important benefit is that the horses become part of the team,” Prillaman pointed out. “They are partners in our endeavors. May and Tulip, our two beautiful Percheron mares, are as important to the farm’s success as either Leslie or I. So we treat them as such. The horses are not simply a different tool being used; they are teammates to us.”
Farming for Lars and Leslie provides an undeniable greater-good reward, and serving the community is motivation enough to pursue this dream.
“We get to see satisfaction, week after week, on the faces of customers or CSA members when they purchase our products,” assured Prillaman. “And of course, our foods taste incredible—the people shopping with us know that what they’re getting is packed with nutrition and raised responsibly.”
For more information, click the above link, and find Green Gate Farm WV on Facebook.