About Us

About Us

 

History

What Does Biodynamic Mean?

What We Grow

  • Vegetables
  • Lamb
  • Fruit
  • Herbs
  • Hemp

What We Make

  • Fire Tonic
  • Pesto
  • Dried Herbs
  • Hemp-based oils, tinctures, salves, and cremes

Work and Volunteer Opportunities

History

Carlton Farms is a diverse certified organic and Biodynamic® family farm located in the Endless Mountains region of northeast Pennsylvania. We are in what once was a thriving dairy farm part of the country and the barns, all built in the Dutch colonial style reflect what was needed back then to support a full-blown dairying operation; a cow barn, horse barn, bull barn, heifer barn, machine shop, ice-house, and creamery.

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Herdsmen in white coats milked the beautiful fawn, and white Guernsey cows known for their rich, high fat, protein and B-carotene milk and workhorses pulled the plows and implements used for haying, and for growing corn and field crops.  Bottled milk, ice-cream, fluid cream, and butter were sold locally and also shipped to New York City.

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There were chickens, too; one house for layers and one for brooding.  The US Post office carried fresh eggs to the city in metal containers with tiny springs built in to absorb vibration and shocks. Evidence of these early operations, as well as some of the horse-drawn implements, can still be seen around the farm.

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Our 233 acres were pieced together in the late 1800’s by George Wells Comstock of New York City. George’s son, George Carlton Comstock, designed and built the farm in the early 1900’s as it exists today.

Today, we care for all the original buildings except for the creamery and icehouse, which burned down in the 1950’s. Six generations (and now 7) have shared, loved, and experienced life on the farm. Currently, members of the 4th, 5th, and 6th generations are involved in various aspects of the farm’s operations while the 7th generation gets to play at collecting eggs, and feeding the chickens and pigs.

Carlton Farms winter scene

What Does Biodynamic Mean?

A Biodynamic® farm follows cultural practices designed by the educator and scientist Rudolf Steiner who saw the farm as a self-reliant organism, growing and supplying everything needed to improve the soil continuously. Our livestock help us create rich compost that along with cover crops are the primary source of nutrients for our fruit and vegetable crops.

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We do not use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides. Instead, we apply plant, mineral, and animal-based preparations in homeopathic quantities to enliven the soil and vegetation. These, along with animal and plant-derived compost contribute to a high level of vitality in everything we produce.

Carlton Farms is also certified organic, which means we follow the practices set forth by the US Department of Agriculture. We are happy to do this, not only because we produce healthy food, but because it helps us to improve the environment.

What We Grow

Vegetables

Our vegetable fields produce an abundance of crops from traditional peppers of all kinds, greens, beans, beets, sweet corn, eggplant, cucumbers, fennel, flowers, garlic, ground cherry, herbs, various melons, peas, radish, squash, zucchini, turnip and tomatoes to less traditional tomatillos, okra, and Nepalese squash.  There’s nothing we won’t try.  Tasty Hatch peppers, for example, named after the town in New Mexico where it is said that soil, water, and growing season combine to make some of the finest
 
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peppers around.  We’ll see.  This year we are going for ginger and turmeric that we will use in our Fire Tonic.  We’re always experimenting!

Our smaller greenhouse is used for overflow, experimentation but mainly to start seedlings.  For that, we build a greenhouse within a greenhouse-warmed by a small heater.  We also experiment with warm-weather loving plants like fig trees and lemongrass.
 

 

Garlic

Of all the veggie crops, garlic deserves special mention.  We grow three hardneck varieties – German, Reisig, and Roja.  This fall we will plant about 20,000 cloves.  With any luck we will harvest that many heads for sale at the festivals and markets we attend.  We also use some of the crop in our Fire Tonic and in our pesto products.  In addition to creating a garlic bulb from each clove we plant, each hard neck garlic clove sends up a “scape,” which is the stem and the flower bud of the plant.  Scapes are quite delicious on their own with strong garlic flavor but without the intense “bite” of the bulb.  We turn our harvest of scapes into our signature garlic scape pesto, which is a highly sought after product in season.

 

Lamb

We raise heritage Tunis sheep, one of the original American breeds favored by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Tunis are “fat-tailed” sheep imported from Tunisia as a gift from the Bey of Tunis to George Washington in the late 1700’s.  Today, they are considered a rare and endangered breed, and we are happy to join in the effort to re-establish them. Everything about the Tunis suits our farm from their ability to thrive

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on pasture to their famed devotion to their lambs. Plus, we just like the way they look with their red faces and legs and creamy fleece. Because most of our pastures are visible from the country lane that crosses our land, joggers, and drivers to stop and take photos of our flock. We are proud of them, and they are an integral part of our farm.

Carlton frams sheep in shed

Fruit

Our berry patch produces some of the tastiest raspberries ever. No matter how many bushes, we plant we never seem to have enough to satisfy the demand at the farmer’s markets we attend. Our gooseberries are a rarity – few people at the farmer’s market have ever seen them before. Blackberries, currants and blueberries round out our soft fruit production.

Herbs

Our herb garden produces an ever-expanding variety of culinary and medicinal herbs. These include nettle, nasturtium, tulsi, violet, oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon, shiso,

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calendula, dill, cilantro, hops, lavender, sage, mint, lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon verbena, and equisetum.

Hemp

In 2019, we had our first crop of industrial hemp raised specifically for its CBD content.  In 2020, we are launching a product line made exclusively from our own hemp.  We are branding it AmaHemp, www.amahemp.net (Ama means “grandmother” in a number of languages) and will be selling it online, at the markets we attend, and in select stores within a short radius from the farm.

What We Make

Fire Tonic

Fire Tonic is our signature product first offered in 2013 when we realized that value-added products are what customers crave, especially off season when fresh products are not available or in short supply.  Made with raw apple cider vinegar aged with our own mix of onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, horseradish, and cayenne pepper, Fire Tonic is an effective immune system builder, anti-oxident, and anti-inflammatory remedy.

Pesto

Our pestos are made with every possible green from the farm except basil!  Our most popular version is garlic scape pesto — we can’t make enough of it.  Available for a short period in early summer when garlic bulbs produce a flower stem, people ask for it year round.

Dried Herbs

Our dehydrators see constant action starting with clover flowers right through to the last batch of calendula flowers.  Organic and especially Biodynamic herbs are a rarity in North America.

Work and Volunteer Opportunities

We delight in having people from all over the world volunteer to work at Carlton Farms through the WWOOFER program, https://wwoofusa.org/.  Locally, we have volunteers through the Master Gardener program.  We also have interns who work for a modest

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stipend and local farmers and gardeners who earn a wage.  Click here for an internship application.  If any of these opportunities interest you, please use the information located under the CONTACT tab to start a conversation.

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