Homestead Organics Farm
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Good food is best enjoyed with friends
Homestead Organics Farm has been growing certified organic produce, poultry, and seeds for over a decade. Seated between Highway 93 and Montana Highway 38/Skalkaho Highway in Hamilton, Montana, it is an ideal location for community gatherings, workshops, and camps. The farm is owned and co- operated by Laura Garber and Henry Wuensche, who have worked consistently to connect our community through food and build community engagement by offering volunteer opportunities, internships, summer camps, workshops, tours, catering services, and seasonal and private parties.
Homestead Organics Farm is the perfect location for the Cultivating Connections family of programs to inspire, motivate, and put into action the growth and change the world needs!
The farm encompasses 14 acres of rich, former Bitterroot River bottom lands. There are six unheated greenhouses on the farm, offering a total of over 15,000 square feet of growing season extension. The cropping area of the farm is split by three, 350 foot long rows of fruit and nut trees and is capped off with five rows of mixed trees for windbreak and wildlife habitat. The hub of the farm business is the Farm House located just off Skalkaho Highway. The FarmStand grows out of the front, and the rear contains the certified commercial kitchen. Growing off the side of the building is the newly constructed and opened Montana Poultry Growers Cooperative Poultry Processing Facility, the first cooperatively managed poultry facility in the country! Homestead’s produce and poultry can be found in local stores, included in a cooperative, a multi-farm CSA, at the Tuesday FarmStand on the farm, at the Saturday Hamilton Farmers’ Market, and in healthy catered foods prepared by Zen Kitchen in the farm’s commercial kitchen.
The facilities at the farm allow for large groups to meet, work, learn, and eat together. The commercial kitchen can prepare food for and serve up to 1000 people. The Pole Barn provides nearly 2000 square feet of covered meeting space. The newly constructed Stage Platform is 25'X25' of performance space situated in the heart of the farm. It can also be used as an outdoor yoga studio, classroom, potluck feast hub, and so much more! The Stage Platform construction was supported by the Red Ants Pants Foundation in 2016. The field around the stage can hold over 1000 people for art and music performances. With added tents and
port-o-potties, the farm can host any number of large or small events.
Laura Garber graduated from the University of Montana with degrees in German, Liberal Studies, and Elementary Education and has been farming organically since 1999. Through her three years of work as an AmeriCorps Member with both Volunteer Montana! and Volunteer Action Services, she gained extensive experience managing people and leading groups. Laura has also actively served on the boards of the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO), the Montana Organic Commodities Advisory Council (MOCAC), the Montana Organic Association (MOA), Triple Divide Organic Seed Cooperative, the Hamilton Farmers Market Cooperative,the Center for Spiritual Living of the Bitterroot, and the Ravalli County Right To Farm and Ranch Board. Laura started the 'Loyal To Local' Community and Agriculture Cooperative in 2015 as a way to connect farmers, break down competition barriers, and bring more locally grown food to the plates of community members. She has worked with youth living at the Linda Massey Bitterroot Youth Home since 2001, bringing residents to the farm for weekly experiences. Laura has worked as a camp counselor for both the Missoula, Montana, and Brookfied, Wisconsin, YMCAs. She has designed and directed Farm Camp, now working towards its sixth season, at Homestead Organics Farm.
Henry Wuensche brings a great deal of experience and expertise to Homestead Organics Farm. Henry came to Hamilton, Montana, in 1997 from a small village just outside East Berlin, Germany, where he grew up. Henry was trained as a Bee Keeper and became a professional Zoo Animal Keeper. He worked at Tierpark Berlin for eight years before immigrating to the United States. Henry learned the trade of log home building when he worked at Pioneer Log Homes for three years. He mastered the craft of timber framing while working for Bear Creek Timberwrights for eight years. Henry is an accomplished wood worker, builder, and animal keeper.
Erin Belmont & Matt Galiher
Fementologists and owners of House of Ferments, Erin and Matt run the small fermented food and beverage company out of the Homestead Organics Farm kitchen, giving them access to the freshest local and organic vegetables and fruits. They create flavorful and healthy fermented foods and beverages such as various krauts and kombuchas. Their farm to ferment small batch krauts provide a year-round source of live, raw, local foods for our community. When Erin isn’t in the kitchen doing her best mad scientist, she is out enjoying the beauty of the Bitterroot Valley. Erin is excited to share her passion for fermented foods and help develop a resilient local food community. Matt loves all things skiing and you will find him in his red patrol coat at Lost Trail when he’s not working away in the kitchen.
Zen Kitchen Catering
Zen Kitchen, a catering company run by Laura Garber and Henry Wuensche, provides fresh, organic food service to Western Montana from the commercial kitchen at Homestead Organics Farm. They serve events of all types and sizes, including private parties, barbecues, weddings, fund raisers, and community gatherings, from small groups up to large 500+ person events. Zen Kitchen will feed all Cultivating Connections program participants using Homestead's own, as well as Loyal To Local's organic produce, poultry, grains, and lentils, and will co-host Kitchen Workshops throughout the season offering an opportunity for participants to learn variety of cooking and baking techniques and recipes.