About us

Thornfield farm is a family operation. My parents, John and Linda Thornton have been working the land since before I was born. My farming career is just getting started.

We have just under 300 acres of rolling pasture land in Botetourt County. The farm has long been home to grass-fed beef cattle and free-range chickens. We even managed two different dairy herds early in the farm's life.

In 2015 we began producing organic and sustainably grown vegetables for sale in the Roanoke Valley. Come join us at the farmer's market and help make this new chapter in our farm's history a success!

 

Our Farm Practices. 

Our farming philosophy is that good quality produce starts with healthy soil. We strive to farm in a manner that maintains and even improves soil health for the future. We're huge compost and worm fans. We make our own compost from animal and vegetable waste and we have a burgeoning worm farm producing vermicompost to strengthen our crop yields and enrich our soil.

We also focus on crop rotations and cover cropping to build organic matter and increase the biological activity of the soil. Our approach to pest management comes from knowing that healthy plants that are able to get the proper nutrients they need from the soil will be better equipped to resist pests in the first place. We do not use synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Though we may use an organically allowed pesticide, we only to do so as a last resort. 

Many of our organic practices follow the work of Jean-Martin Fortier. His work inspires us as we strive to manage a sustainable, efficient, and productive small farm.  

Thornfield Farm is certified organic through the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Through this process all of our seedlings, vegetables and strawberries are certified organic.

Our flowers are grown with the same organic practices, but this year they are not eligible for certification. In accordance with the USDA certification protocol, our flower field will be under a 30-month transition period to full certification. Our flowers will be eligible for certification in 2018. 

Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about these distinctions.  

All of our land and vegetables are Certified Naturally Grown.

 

 

 

What is Organic?  

Organic is a United States Department of Agriculture labeling term indicating that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods.

  • Organic methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. 
  • In order to sell, label, or represent products as organic, operations must follow all of the specifications set out by the USDA organic regulations.

To learn more about the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and the USDA certification program visit www.oeffa.org

 

My Farming Story

In 2014, after many years of city dwelling (during which time I dug up more than a few gravelly urban gardens!), I took a leap of faith and moved from San Francisco to Bowdoinham, Maine to work full time at Six River Farm. This diversified, organic vegetable farm proved to me that small-scale, local agriculture could support the kind of community and lifestyle I've always imagined creating.

Nate and Gabrielle were (and continue to be) amazing farmers, mentors, and friends. I aspire to produce vegetables of the same quality, bounty, and beauty that they consistently achieve. With their support and guidance, I returned to Virginia to launch my own farming vision in 2015. Thank you Six River for giving me the perfect farm to emulate!

 

A Family Farm

My grandfather purchased our farm in 1969. I grew up on this land with my brother and sister and it will always be home to us. Over the years, our farm has served as an organic homestead, dairy farm, beef cattle ranch, and most recently as a coordinated estate. Our family believes in integrated farm, home, and life. We welcome you to join our community!  

To learn more about the Thornfield Farm housing development project please inquire.

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That’s me, Susanna. I took a meandering route back to Virginia. But, after a decade of work on and off farms around the country, I’ve discovered that my greatest impact can be right here; engaging directly with you, this community and this land. Happiness to me is knowing that I will get to spend the day with my hands in the dirt working to build a stronger community in southwest Virginia. Thanks for being a part of the effort!

In the words of TS Eliot, ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’
That’s my dad, John. He can be a curmudgeon, but he’s an amazing farmer and I am very lucky to have his support and expertise. While he has many jobs to manage keeping the entire farm running, he is also masterminding our compost system and generally helping me get the vegetable production going. Thanks dad!