Kids Gardening/Cooking Class on Sat, Nov 12th from 9:00am to Noon!

Emma Feeding Cow

Emma Feeding Cow

Friends, bring your children to Four String Farm for a combined gardening/cooking class on Saturday, November 12, from 9:00am to Noon! Children of all ages are welcome!

Your kids will learn how to plant a small starter garden and how to cook something delicious out of it! We want your little ones to go home with the skills to prepare their own meal from produce they grow themselves.

Kid’s Gardening/Cooking Class Agenda

The kids will begin the class by tending to the pigs and interacting with our goats and cows along the way. They will feed the laying hens and learn about egg production. These activities are designed to show kids where food really comes from.

Next, the children will plant their own starter garden. They will get their hands in the dirt, dig, plant seeds, and water their garden.

Then they will prepare a meal from their freshly-picked harvest. They will make their own homemade pizza from scratch and dress the pizza with ingredients from the garden.

Parent or Guardian is Required

Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Your job as an adult in this class will be to keep your little ones safe and make sure they behave. There will be some walking and standing for you while the little ones plant their garden.  For the safety of the children and our animals, farm rules must be obeyed at all times!

During the cooking portion of the class you can cook with your child or relax in a lawn chair in the shade and enjoy complementary water or a delightful refreshment from Groovie Smoothie (available for purchase).

How to Sign up for the Class

This will be a small class to make sure each participant gets the most out of this experience. You must register and pay for this class in advance. Registration closes November 11 or when the class is full.

Click to register one or more children for this class.

Once you complete your payment online, we will email you directions to the farm and additional details and information about this class.

We are so excited to have you and your little ones out at the farm! We look forward to a wonderful day of learning and fun!

Mud Pies are NOT on the menu in this class!

Mud Pies optional but not on the menu in this class!

Corpus Christi Caller-Times Video of Our Farm!

Friends, click this video for a sneak-peek of a Corpus Christi Caller-Times article about Four String Farm coming out on Monday.

Kayla and I had an in-depth interview this week with Natalia Contreras of the Caller-Times.  Courtney Sacco took photographs of us moving chickens, planting seeds, and other routine chores.  We are so thrilled that the Caller-Times took an interest in our farm!

We will forward the article when it comes out.  Thank you Natalia and Courtney, we are so grateful for you guys!

Whole30 Workshop this Saturday at Four String Farm

Kayla Butts (photo by Michael Diamonte)Join Brittany Barnes and Kayla Butts at Four String Farm this Saturday, May 7, from 9:00am to noon, for a Whole30 Workshop!

Brittany is a Certified Natural Health Professional and Kayla is a registered and licensed dietitian (see more about the instructors below).

In this workshop, Brittany and Kayla will deconstruct this popular 30-day program to help you regain a healthy metabolism and decrease the amount of inflammation in your body.

The premise of the Whole30 program is “to change your life in 30 days”, and you can do it! This workshop will unlock the secrets and details of the Whole30 program and offer you insightful tips for a healthy diet.

Kayla Butts MS, RD, LD will begin the class by giving you an educational tour of the Four String Farm gardens and animal paddocks, explaining and illustrating how farming methods affect nutrition and health.

The second half of the class will take place indoors, where Brittany Barnes will lead a discussion of the Whole 30 program. She will prepare one of her favorite Whole30 dishes and answer all your questions in the process.

The class will include a meal plan as well as recipes for you to take home.

The cost for this class is $35. This will be a small class with personalized attention by Brittany and Kayla, and pre-registration and payment is required.

Please register for this class by clicking here: We are so sorry, this class is closed!  Please sign up on this site to receive updates about future classes.  Thank you so much!

What: Whole30 Workshop

Where: Four String Farm in Rockport, TX

When: May 7th, 9:00am to Noon

Cost: $35 (Pre-registration is required) We are so sorry, this class is closed!  Please sign up on this site to receive updates about future classes.  Thank you so much!

About the Instructors:

Brittany Barnes is a Level One Certified CrossFit Trainer who trains at Rockport Health & Fitness and for individuals. She completed her certification during her Senior year as a homeschool student. Whole body fitness is her passion, which led her to becoming a Certified Natural Health Professional in March 2016. She understands the balance between healthy eating and exercise which aid in a more productive lifestyle, and desires to help others achieve their goals also.

Kayla Butts is a registered, licensed dietitian, farmer, food writer, and home chef. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from The University of Texas and her Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Her passion is making nutritious food accessible and practical. She loves teaching kids how to prepare their own meals, especially her three daughters.

Brittany Barnes 4-28-16

Look for Heirloom Produce at Kimmi’s Store

Pattison Strie Melange

Pattison Strie Melange

Friends, stop by Coastal Bend Health Foods in Rockport every day this week for beautiful heirloom produce freshly delivered from our farm.

This week, we are featuring rare heirloom squash that you won’t find anywhere else in South Texas.  We have more than 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs now ripening in our gardens.  These pictures show Kayla and Madeleine picking them for you!

We have some lovely French squash, called pattison.  You can find strie mélange, panache blanc et vert, and marbre.  You can also find the rare Italian ronde di nice.  Look for striped green cushaw, which is a very old Native American variety, along with Caserta and other unique varieties.

You will also find butternut, yellow crookneck, striped zucchini, scallopini, and many other tasty squashes.  There are freshly picked carrots, beets, collards, prima rosa chard, lettuce, Tuscan kale, nasturtium bouquets, and many other veggies.

We can’t wait for you to try these squash and let us know how you like flavor.  The techniques we employ to grow the sweetest and most flavorful produce are really beginning to tell.  Each squash has its own unique taste.  We hope you love these wonderful squashes and other veggies as much as we do!

Stop by Kimmi’s store to try this produce.  The prices are great and Kimmi will always greet you with a smile!

Caserta Squash

Caserta Squash

Patisson Panache Blanc et Vert and Lemon Squash

Patisson Panache Blanc et Vert and Lemon Squash

Ronde de Nice

Ronde de Nice

Prima Rosa Chard

Prima Rosa Chard

Super Sweet and Delicious Carrots

Super Sweet and Delicious Carrots

Patisson Golden Marbre

Patisson Golden Marbre

Nasturtium Bouquets

Nasturtium Bouquets

Luogo Blanco

Luogo Blanco

TAMUK Student Work Day

TAMUK 10 4-17-16

This Saturday, we had a workday with students from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Dr. David Ruppert is assistant professor of environmental soil science in the department of agriculture, agribusiness, and environmental science at TAMUK.  He brought his Soil Fertility students out for a day of work and learning. Dr. Ruppert has been studying and teaching about soil for more than 20 years. We are thrilled that Dr. Ruppert has taken an interest in our farm and the methods we employ to grow healthy soil.

Dr. Ruppert wanted his students to learn about small-scale farming through hands-on experience.  The students put in a full day of good work. Among the many tasks the students performed, including companion planting and adding soil amendments, they put down a lot of mulch.  To be specific, they placed about four tons of native leaf mulch on our gardens.

This raked-up, bagged leaf mulch was donated to our farm by our good friends in Rockport.  With the help of the TAMUK students, we were able to recycle these leaves and put them to good use.

The TAMUK students we met are the future farmers of South Texas. Several of them already work full-time in family farms, and most of them hope to soon find work farming. After spending a day with these students, I know that the future of agriculture is in good hands.

Thank you, Dr. Ruppert and students, for a wonderful day. You improved our farm with your presence.  You are welcome back to our place anytime.

TAMUK 2 4-17-16TAMUK pepper planting 4-17-16TAMUK JB 4-17-16TAMUK 1 4-17-16TAMUK 3 4-17-16TAMUK 4 4-17-16TAMUK 5 4-17-16TAMUK three sisters 4-17-16TAMUK 6 4-17-16TAMUK 7 4-17-16TAMUK 8 4-17-16TAMUK 9 4-17-16TAMUK 11 4-17-16TAMUK 12 4-17-16TAMUK 13 4-17-16

Three Sisters Workshop this Saturday at Four String Farm, 9:00am to 11:00am!

Kayla with Harvest in a Three Sisters Garden

Kayla with Harvest in a Three Sisters Garden

Friends, please join us for a Three Sisters gardening class at Four String Farm this Saturday, March 19, from 9:00am to 11:00am.

The Three Sisters is the ancient Native American technique for companion planting corn, beans, and squash (plus pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, nasturtiums, and herbs). This method is an easy and efficient way to grow a tremendous amount of food with minimal work or expense.

The Three Sisters method is possibly the best-kept gardening secret in America.  But on Saturday, we will share the secrets of this ancient technique to help you grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers right in your own garden.   Our farm will be featured in a Smithsonian exhibit demonstrating this method.

In this workshop, we will teach you everything you need to know to plant a small or large Three Sisters garden. Whether you want to fill a little planter in your front yard, or grow enough produce to feed your family, this workshop will give you with the skills to do it.

We will begin with bare dirt and plant several variations of the technique. We will even show you how Squanto taught the Pilgrims to bury fish as fertilizer!

This workshop will be held out-of-doors on our farm.  Please wear long pants, close-toed shoes, and bring a hat.  This will be a small class with personalized instruction, and we will answer all your gardening questions as we go.

As part of the cost of this class, you will receive a starter seed packet prepared by me and Kayla, as well as seed packets of heirloom corn, beans, and squash.

The cost of this workshop is $35 per person, and a portion of the proceeds will go to a local charity. You must pay in advance for this class. Directions to our farm with more detailed information will be e-mailed to you once you complete the payment.

We are so sorry, this class is full.  To find out about upcoming classes, please subscribe to this blog to get updates about classes and other information.  Thank you, have a wonderful day!

Thank you, we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Four String Farm to Appear in Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit

Kayla with BD Watermelon

Friends, you have seen a lot of information on this site about the Three Sisters, the ancient Native American technique for inter-planting corn, beans, and squash. We have explored the benefits of this method, its sustainability, and its rich history. Here is something about the future of the Three Sisters.

Beginning this month, we will appear in a Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit called “H2O Today”. “H2O Today” explores the beauty, the diversity, and the great challenges of global water resources in the 21st Century.

I am thrilled to announce that Four String Farm will be featured in this exhibit. We appear in the section devoted to agriculture, in a case study about the irrigation techniques of the Zapotec Indians a thousand years ago.  An image from Four String Farm is used to illustrate the components of the Three Sisters technique. Our modern thriving farm in Rockport is contrasted with the Zapotec civilaztion at Monte Albán, in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The Smithsonian featured our farm because it is a working example of sustainable agriculture using traditional methods. Visitors to the interactive exhibit can click on our website to find a wealth of information about the Three Sisters freely available to the public. These water-saving techniques point to the future of agriculture in a water-dwindling world.

What’s more, the “H2O Today” exhibit will travel to more than thirty cites across America from 2016 all the way to 2020. The educational opportunities of this exhibit will reach tens of thousands of people in every corner of this great nation. (I will post more about the exhibit once it is completed and on display.)

I have visited farms all over the world, in jungles, mountains, deserts, and rich fertile plains, but I have never seen the Three Sisters used anywhere in agriculture. I discovered this method in history books, and taught myself the technique through trial and error while building a pioneer farm out of a wilderness. And now our modest gardens will appear in the Smithsonian.

I have long said that the Three Sisters is the best-kept gardening secret in America. But now, with the power and scope of the Smithsonian, I don’t think the Three Sisters will be a secret for long.

A Special Note for Shannon at the Smithsonian:

Shannon, you made our day/month/year when you contacted us. I never imagined that in this career, I would one day sign a contract with the Smithsonian!

I know it took work for you to find us, to wade through all the information out there and drill down to this site, not to mention the thousands of sites and materials you covered in your research. Then, to take all that information and bring it to life, is just remarkable. The Smithsonian is the best institution of its kind in the world because of people like you.

Please know how thrilled our family has been to be part of this process. Thank you for finding us and making us a part of this living history you are presenting to the world.

(The image in the Smithsonian is reserved for their exclusive use–here are other images from our Three Sisters gardens!)

Purple Bean Flowers on a Corn Stalk Trellis

Purple Bean Flowers on a Corn Stalk Trellis

Three Sisters Garden

Three Sisters Garden

52 days after planting


Hopi Indian Corn on Left, Melons and Squash, Sunflower Hedgerow in Back

Hopi Indian Corn on Left, Melons and Squash, Sunflower Hedgerow in Back

Gardening Class at Four String Farm!

Working in a Winter Garden

Working in a Winter Garden

Friends, we will offer a gardening class at Four String Farm on Saturday, January 30, from 10:00am to noon.

This will be a small class that includes a private tour of our gardens and animal paddocks. Space in the class is limited to allow the most personalized attention to the attendees. You must register and pay in advance to reserve your place–please see steps below.

The Secrets of Heritage Gardening

Our gardening methods are a unique blend of techniques I learned from visiting farms all over the world. Most of our techniques I discovered in history books, and I have never seen them in practice until we planted them on our farm. You will not find these methods in a typical gardening book.

We will begin this class by sharing an overview of heritage gardening: creating healthy soil; where and when to plant; intensive beds; companion planting; natural pest control; mulching; fertilizer; and irrigation.

We will take a walking tour of our gardens and animal paddocks during the discussion to illustrate these principles by example from the garden. We will even plant a starter Three Sisters garden with your help! This class will demonstrate how we start with beach sand but go on to harvest such incredible yields of healthy, delicious, chemical-free produce.

Our goal is to help you translate these methods to your own garden. We want to empower you to grow your own produce, a lot of it, without chemicals and with minimal work and expense. This class will be guided by your questions, so come ready to find out everything you want to know about growing your own food.

Class by Reservation and Advance Pay Only

This will be a small class; space is limited. To attend, you must pre-register and pay in advance. The cost is $25 per person. Please click on the links below to register and pay.

I will send you an e-mail once we receive your payment to confirm your reservation. Once you are registered, we will send you all the details you need for the class, including our address, what to bring, and directions for parking.

Our friend Danya Heck has graciously agreed to bring Groovie Smoothies to the class! She will have some refreshing beverages for you before and after the class, and you can pay her directly for something tasty.

Expect a Rustic Environment!

We have a true “pioneer” farm, and you will know why we call it that once you get here. You must wear long pants and closed-toed shoes to take this class, preferable blue jeans and boots. Also, dress for the weather—we will hold the class rain or shine. Wear a hat and bring bug repellant.

You will have to walk about half a mile through tall grass, weeds, brush, and uneven terrain during the tour. The class will be something like a nature walk through woods without a trail.  If you can’t safely make this walk through rough terrain, this class in not for you.

Step 1, Register for Class:

First, click here and complete the form to begin your registration:

We’re sorry this class is now full!  You can sign up to follow this blog to get updates and to find out when our next classes are announced.  Thank you!

After you complete the registration form, come back to this page and pay for the class.  Please note, you are not registered for the class until you complete your payment.

Step 2, Pay for Class:

Next, click here and pay:

We’re sorry this class is now full!  You can sign up to follow this blog to get updates and to find out when our next classes are announced.  Thank you!

Please note:  You are not registered until you complete the form and pay for the class.

Once we receive your payment, I will send you and e-mail with your confirmation, plus details, including our address and what to bring.

We look forward to having you! Get ready for a fun and exciting day!

Winter Issue of THE BEND

Friends, take a look at the winter issue of THE BEND MAGAZINE.

Turn to page 91 for a wonderful story written by Kayla.  These gorgeous pastries with recipes are the work of Claudia at Fillingood Bakery in Corpus Christi.  Nice work Kayla and Rachel!

Click here to subscribe to this beautiful magazine!

Faces at First Light

Mae Burke Emma sunrise 11-18-15

Our friend Mae Burke wanted pictures of Kayla and the girls at sunrise, without makeup, still a little sleepy. As part of her series, Mae Burke, Moments of Motherhood, Mae is capturing images of moms and their little ones in beautiful natural settings.

I asked Kayla how she felt about having pictures without makeup after just waking up. She pointed out that I posted pictures of her without makeup, in harsh hospital light, after not sleeping for 48 hours, and having just had a baby.  She thought Mae would be a little more gentle with the camera.

Mae Burke Emma looking at Madeliene 11-18-15

I went out in the still-dark morning to do my chores and Mae was sitting quietly on the porch, kindly waiting for everyone to be up and moving before she knocked on the door. They all went out to the lake to wait for sunrise.

I feel like these pictures could have been taken last week, or a hundred years ago. There is something timeless about the light, the gardens, the lake, and the people in the photographs.  To me, a really good picture makes you want to go there, to get into the picture.

My heart is in these pictures, rising with the sun, shining on these loves of mine, holding and beholding their faces at first light.

You can see more of Mae’s photography at Mae Burke.

Mae Burke Kayla Emma Madeliene field to left 11-18-15

Mae Burke Kayla Madeliene long view 11-18-15Mae Burke Madeliene Emma looking 11-18-15Mae Burke Emma dragging blanket 11-18-15Mae Burke Sunrise Kayla Madeliene 11-18-15Mae Burke Kayla holding Madeliene 11-18-15Mae Burke Kayla Emma looking left 11-18-15

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