Four Seasons Farm
Martin Schaffer of Four Seasons Farm in Leon came to West Virginia by a longer route than most of the Producers for the Wild Ramp. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia he studied animal science, not by choice but because he was forced into an agricultural field by the government.
He came to the United States in 1984 with limited English to work in the Charles River labs in Massachusetts. When there was a chance to relocate to a facility in the Florida Keys, he jumped on it. He loved the lifestyle there and spent seven years building a 40-foot catamaran when he wasn’t at work. When the place closed he became a charter captain for the next seven years. Martin said he loved it but something was missing. He realized he needed to be creative.
Looking back, as he works hard to build his vision, he wishes he had paid more attention to the stories of the “old ways” he heard as a child. He wants to build Four Seasons Farm into a sustainable unit.
Understanding that mono-culture (growing only one crop) tends to lead to problems in a farm’s ecosystem, he has embraced the concept that a diversity of animals and vegetation will improve the health of all. He is primarily using heritage breeds and planting heirloom varieties.
Starting this growing season and more and more as his farm matures he will be supplying the Wild Ramp with blueberries, peaches, nectarines, apples, plums, apricots, cherries as well as almonds, pecans, and English walnuts. He has a good size vineyard and will also be bringing table grapes into the market. A home garden with a large strawberry bed and asparagus as well as many vegetables is for personal consumption. Bees help the pollination process.
He raises milk goats as well as a dairy cow, Hampshire hogs, several kinds of chickens, ducks and geese, and two breeds of sheep.
He is proud of his farm and how far it has come, but welcomes the concept of help. Katherine and Jonathan Lea are Farm Friends and have visited the farm often and helped with some tasks. For example, Martin says Farm Friends can come pick the blueberries (in season) and keep one-third of what they pick. That way they are helping Martin harvest and can have fresh berries for themselves.
And now, about the puppies. Great Pyrenees make marvelous guards for many farm animals including herds of sheep and even flocks of chicken. I’ve posted several times about the Great Pyrenees dogs I have seen at work on my farm visits. Heidi is introduced here (http://wildramp.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/guest-post-heidi-the-great-pyrenees-puppy-10-months/) and Cooney Creek’s dog is shown on her station here ( http://wildramp.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/yearning-for-more-cooney-creek-farm/)
These dogs are large and as wonderful as their disposition is, they really are not an indoor dog for a suburban house. They are definitely working dogs and, with the proper training as a puppy, will provide a threat to predators, protecting the farm animals.
Martin has both the sire and the bitch and now, ten puppies. Five males and five females were born January 26 and will be available March 9. Contact Martin asap if you are interested to arrange to visit and reserve a puppy.
Martin Schaffer — Four Seasons Farm