After becoming increasingly disillusioned with industrial livestock production, and the lack of availability of locally grown organic products, Enrique Hernandez and Frances Cornett decided to purchase a small farm to begin making their own contribution to the sustainable food movement.
Summer Solstice Farm comprises 28 acres of meadows and woodland tucked along the confluence of Pohatcong Creek and the Delaware River in Pohatcong Township, NJ. Once the site of a basket manufacturing company, the property gradually entered into years of neglect. Since moving to the farm in 2011, the family has strived to clean and improve the land using sustainable practices. “We are currently in the process of restoring the native habitat for much of the property,” says Frances. “We’ve planted well over 1,000 native trees and established an apple orchard and thriving vegetable garden. The rest we have dedicated to raising our animals.”
Enrique and Frances, along with the help of their daughter and son-in-law, Bianca and Adam Starling, manage approximately 25 Cayuga laying ducks, which have all been hatched on their farm. The Cayugas are a traditional breed that originated in upstate New York, and are considered the only native domesticated duck in the Northeast. “The ducks free roam in the 2-acre apple orchard and vegetable garden,” says Frances. “The ducks work perfectly as natural pesticides, controlling slugs and snails and eating insects and larvae.”
Summer Solstice Farm pursued Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) certification because they wanted to be sure they were caring for their animals in the best way possible. The couple plans to use the AWA label to highlight their high-welfare, sustainable farming practices. “Many of our customers are eager to see how our farm is run and how the animals are treated,” Frances says. “Having Animal Welfare Approved certification appeals greatly to our customer base.”
Summer Solstice Farm’s AWA pasture-raised duck eggs are available direct from the farm by appointment. For more information, visit summersolsticefarm.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-505-5786.