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Just outside of Aiken, you’ll find one of the most bio-diverse agriculture systems in the state: Woodland Valley Farms. Allyssa Ferguson and Chase Renninger, the husband and wife farmer duo behind Woodland Valley, are dedicated to maintaining their roots in permaculture, organic practices, and humane animal husbandry as they work to continually grow their farm to serve more of our community. Their farm was originally farmers market centric before the pandemic encouraged them to switch business models to become a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. In this model, families can pledge to support a farm and help the farm in return eliminate waste, save time, and have more control over their bottom line.
Woodland Valley Farm raises 200 heritage hogs a year, nearly 1,000 free range conventional and heritage meat birds, 100 free range laying hens that provide fresh eggs, 40-50 hair sheep, a small cattle herd of about 20, and a small dairy goat herd. All of these animals contribute to the weekly “farm shares” that are built and delivered to the 40 family CSA that supports the farm. Typically, each share includes meat (chicken/beef/pork/lamb), seasonal vegetables, one dozen eggs, and a handful of fresh oyster/shiitake mushrooms, all of which are produced and harvested on the farm. The variety from week to week is immense as Allyssa and Chase introduce their customers to new items while supplying many of their favorite ones, too.
Allyssa and Chase are all in with their farm. Through their hands-on work, they are continually growing as people with the day-to-day challenges of farming, encouraging them to be innovative, to heal spiritually, and to strengthen their bodies while at the same time working to heal their land and harvest nutritious, delicious meals for our community. Woodland Valley Farm is about more than simply raising animals and harvesting produce. It’s about education, too. They both love to sit down with their customers and teach them how to cook the produce from their farm—including produce their customers may have never tried before—and educate them on how to choose healthier ways to eat.