The Farm is located in Sussex County, Delaware, close to the historic coastal town of Lewes. The name “Black Hog” comes from a tributary in our local watershed, named “Black Hog Gut”. The "Gut" is referred to in colonial documents, so there was probably a small piggery there 200 years ago. The logo interpretation of the Hog was created by Viva Waite, artist and illustrator, and our daughter.
The property is 4.19 acres consisting of farmhouse, barn, ornamental and cutting gardens, enclosed orchard and wooded wetlands. We till about 0.75 acres of vegetables, have 0.25 acres raised beds, 0.25 acres propagated specialty shrubs in various stages of growth, and have 0.25 acres of blueberries and blackberries. There are also two greenhouses and a high tunnel for our microgreens. The remaining pasture is presently divided into paddocks and open area for ducks and geese – just not hogs!
We grow approximately 60 kinds of vegetables and flowers. It’s a pretty sight/site, looking at all the shapes and colors together, framed with large swamp maples and woodlands on one side, and the orchard on the other. The sounds of diverse species of birds nesting, feeding and going about their daily business are enchanting as one works.
We use sustainable growing practices. We have installed irrigation to water everything and use contour planting and French drains to manage drainage, We're at the bottom of our micro watershed so when there's a major rainfall we can be temporarily overrun.
We have Hazelnut trees, Fig trees, Persimmons, Apples, Pears, a Pie Cherry tree and a couple of Paw-paws. The flock of ducks (28) is laying but slows down in hot summer and freezing winter. Currently we have 3 adult American Buff geese on site, two are laying so we expect babies in late March and April (2017).
We have three beehives to help pollinate our fruits, carefully sited not to annoy visitors. They are faithfully managed by the Lewes Bee Club.
The blueberries and blackberries are growing well and we hope to be able to begin picking a little this year (2017) and more next year.
We made three batches of blackberry jam and single batches of quince and wild mint jelly in summer 2016. We canned lots of tomatoes and put up pickled beets as well.
Our partner Dr Ray Glick grew nine varieties of garlic here in 2016 and this year's crop (2017) planted and growing. He changed a few of the varieties and added three rows. Fresh garlic (and scapes) was very popular at the Historic Lewes Farmers Market in 2016.
Education at all levels is important to us and we try to facilitate field trips to the farm. Pre-school to college-level seniors and Osher SLL seniors can find something to learn from environmental topics, to basic botany and science, to gardening techniques to art subjects. Home-schooled children with parents are most welcome, with some pre-arrangement. Please call (302) 236-2437.
Sometimes we have plein-air painters on-site, something we love to see.
We encourage people to visit, although with only the two of us for full-time labor, it helps work flow very much to restrict casual visits to Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2 pm and 5 pm. We love to spend time talking to our visitors, and the only way we can have that time is if you would help us in sticking to those times. Please call in advance (302) 236-2437 – thank you.