ARTfarm Holiday Hours: 12noon – 5pm Today

The ARTfarm roadside sign features a new addition describing today's holiday hours.
Don’t drive too fast or you’ll miss the details! Open special hours today for pre-holiday shopping!

We have so much to be thankful for, starting with our wonderful customers! So that you can stock up for your holiday gathering, Turkey Day potluck or extended weekend beach picnic, we are open 12noon to 5pm today! (We’ll be open again Saturday).

We have hand-picked for you: Sweet salad mix, baby spicy salad mix, baby arugula, microgreens, beautiful crunchy radishes, crispy cucumbers, garlic chives, rosemary, mint, recao, Italian basil, zinnia flowers, passionfruit, lemon basil, lemongrass, fresh ginger root! From our partners: Nam Doc Mai mangoes and mamey sapote from Tropical Exotics, vegan ice cream from I-Sha, raw local honey from Errol Chichester, and Kim (sans Ryan) will be here with fresh fish again!

We wish you all a safe and joyful Thanksgiving. Island life is not always easy, but we have so much to be grateful for.

A grey baby turkey poult walks through grass in a garden.
An orphaned baby turkey poult (stray dog attack survivor) has had a lot of handling and now thinks she is human – she follows us everywhere and likes to snuggle on your neck. She’s a good worker and helps with pest control in the garden at ARTfarm!


Sheep & Cowpeas at ARTfarm

Over the sleepy summer and fall break, we grew some cover crops in the gardens at ARTfarm to help improve the soil for next year’s crops. Climbing up the golden dried stalks of harvested sweet corn were some large and very happy cowpea vines (Vigna unguiculata) replete with big green bean pods.

There is almost nothing in this world that our sheep enjoy more than fresh cowpea vines and beans. Friday afternoon we removed the upper part of the cowpea plants and offered them to all three groups of ovines. OMM NOM NOM NOM!

Cowpeas are a forage that is high in protein, helping the sheep to grow and put on weight. The roots of the cowpea plants fix nitrogen into the soil.

Your ARTfarmers are busy planning next year’s season and preparing garden areas to receive young seedlings. We have been blessed with some beautiful rainfall in September. We look forward to seeing all of you in just a few more weeks when the farmstand reopens. Watch this space!

Is ARTfarm Organic?

Q: Is ARTfarm food really “organic”?

A: It depends.

Luca has been farming on St. Croix to the specifications of the USDA’s National Organic Program (which regulates the certification of organic produce and farms in the USA) continuously since 1999. According to the techniques logged in our detailed farm records, we have either met or exceeded the USDA standards for the production of organically grown produce consistently over that entire period. ARTfarm in its current location is situated on pastureland that has been farmed and ranched (free of any chemicals or non-sustainable methods) continuously since the 1700s. However, we have not been certified officially by the USDA as a certified organic farm. Therefore, even though all of our produce is organically grown to USDA Organic specs, we cannot and do not legally claim that any of our products are “USDA Organic”.

MANY if not MOST small farms that fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA have chosen NOT to get certified, not because they aren’t practicing organic production techniques, but because it is a lengthy and rather expensive process that for the most part does not justify its expense. Unless you are a large farm growing commodity amounts of a crop to be sold as certified organic for use in packaged products, organic certification with the USDA is a marketing strategy. It does not change one’s farming philosophy or choice for or against sustainable techniques.

So, if a customer asks us if our arugula is organic, the answer is “officially, it is not considered organic by the USDA because it is not certified.” If a customer asks us if our arugula is grown to the standards of the USDA National Organic Program, we would say “Yes, all of our produce at ARTfarm is grown to the USDA organic specifications. We keep detailed records, we use sustainable farming methods, only when absolutely necessary do we sparingly use nonsynthetic treatments only of the type that are OMRI certified for use on organic farms. However we have not been inspected by a USDA approved organic certifying agency.”

If a customer asks us WHY we are not certified organic, we’d say, “We pursued it seriously and actively and found this: it’s incredibly expensive and not eco-friendly to fly in and house a USDA certified inspector from off island ANNUALLY, it involves reams of federal paperwork that is onerous and uses up many man-hours in labor, and we don’t believe our customers want to offset that cost in our prices. We’ve already got enough documentation chores from the local Department of Ag, and the USDA’s NRCS and FSA. We’d rather spend the time and energy growing more food. It simply does not align with our core values or the needs of our business to spend money and time getting USDA Certified.”

If a customer asks us WHY we bother to grow sustainably and organically, we’d say “We’re parents. We care about safety and want to trust that our farm is free from harmful substances. We’re artists. Organic sustainable growing is more harmonious, fascinating, challenging, and personally and aesthetically satisfying. We’re conscious humans. We care about stewarding the environment in the next seven generations and beyond. Big Ag loves to debate it, but we and the FAO think growing organically with sustainable practices is better for the planet. We’re foodies, and we agree with our customers and chefs who constantly tell us the food tastes better when you put that kind of care and love into it.”

Does it really matter if your produce is: locally grown with organic approved methods, by conscientious people you know personally, or: certified organic by a federal agency?

Our position is, yes, and no.

Endless Learning at ARTfarm – open Saturday!

The school year is upon us: a time to come out of our summer relaxation mode. At ARTfarm we are taking a little time off from food production to work on projects around the farm, including upgrading our bee boxes and getting a little more serious about our beekeeping efforts.

Christina is delving into her beekeeping books and resources and stumbled across a real gem to share with anyone who is on a learning curve or is heading back to school with new challenges ahead of them.

We were fortunate to have a visit in person from Mr. Michael Bush last year. Michael is a beekeeper, lifelong learner, teacher, and author of the 600 page tome “The Practical Beekeeper.” Here is an excerpt, (c) 2004-2011 all rights reserved by Michael Bush and republished here with permission from the author:

“The most important thing you can learn in life is how to learn… Most people don’t know how to learn. Here are some rules about learning that I don’t think most people know.

Rule one: if you’re not making mistakes you’re not learning anything.

“Making mistakes and learning are inseparable. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not pushing the limits of what you know, and if you’re not pushing those limits, you’re not learning. Make mistakes and learn from them. I’m not saying you can’t learn from other people’s mistakes or from books, but in the end you have to make your own mistakes.

Rule two: if you’re not confused, you’re not learning anything.

“Confusion is the feeling you get when you are trying to figure things out. If you think back to the last card game you learned, you were told the rules, which you couldn’t remember, but you started playing anyway. The first few hands were terrible, but then you started to understand the rules. But that was only the beginning. Then you played until you started to understand how to play strategically, but until you got good at it you were still confused. Gradually the whole picture of the rules and strategies and how they fit together started to congeal in your mind and then it made sense. The only way from here to there, though, is that period of confusion.

“The problem with learning and our world view is, we think things can be laid out linearly. You learn this fact, add this one and that one and then finally you know all the facts. But reality is not a set of linear facts; it is a set of relationships. It is those relationships and principles that understanding is made up of. It takes a lot of confusion to finally sort out all the relationships. There is no starting and ending point, because it is not a line, it is circles within circles. So you start somewhere and continue until you have the basic relationships.

Rule three: real learning is not facts, it is relationships.

“It’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. You start somewhere, even though it doesn’t look like anything yet. Everything you learn in any subject is part of the whole puzzle and is related to everything else somehow. It is much more important to have a few facts and understand the relationships, than lots of facts and no relationships. One little part of the puzzle put together is better than more pieces and none of them put together. Knowledge and understanding are not at all related. Don’t go for knowledge; go for understanding, and knowledge takes care of itself.

Rule four: it’s not so important what you know as it is that you know how to find out.

“Tom Brown Jr. wrote a survival guide. I read survival guides all the time, but they usually frustrate me because they give recipes. Take this and that and do this with it and you have a shelter. The problem is, in real life you usually don’t have one of the ingredients. Tom Brown, though, in his chapter on shelter, showed how he learned how to build a shelter. Telling you how to build a shelter and telling you how to learn to build a shelter are as different as night and day. What you want to learn in life is not what the answers are, but how to find the answers. If you know that you can adjust to the materials and situations available.

“With apologies to C.S. Lewis (who said in A Horse and His Boy, “no one teaches riding quite as well as a horse”) I think you need to realize that “no one teaches beekeeping quite as well as bees.” Listen to them and they will teach you.”

Thanks, Michael, for letting us share your words with our customers and fans. Michael’s book is available at

For Saturday, 10 AM – 12 noon, rain or shine: Sweet salad mix, teen spicy salad mix, teen arugula, cucumbers, onions with green tops, sweet potato greens, bunched arugula, garlic chives, basil, holy basil, Italian basil, lemongrass, recao, mint, papayas, bananas, passionfruit, and sweet soursop. From our partners: mangoes and avocados from Tita and Diego, Haitian kidney mangoes from Dennis Nash, a few dragonfruit from Solitude Farm, and artisanal breads from Tess.

Flood watches are in effect, so please drive carefully and err on the side of caution when passing through puddles.