Know Your Farmer: Nora Crist of Clark’s Farm

Nora Crist has a passion for good, local food. At Clark's Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland she sells 100% grass-fed beef, pastured non-GMO pork and delicious vegetables. At the farm, they hold conservation and the environment close to their hearts and they take care of their land and natural resources accordingly. They want to show the community where their food comes from and educate them regarding the value of local food. Check out this interview with Nora Crist to learn more.
Name: Nora Crist
Farm: Clark’s Farm
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Products: 100% Grassfed Beef, Pastured/non-GMO Pork, and All-natural Vegetables
Know Your Farmer: Nora Crist of Clark’s Farm
What is your favorite thing about your farm?
My favorite thing about my farm is its location! I live on a quiet, peaceful farm but within 5 minutes I can drive to the post office and 100 other stores. This is also my least favorite thing about my farm because of the traffic on our roads and the fact that we are not surrounded by other farms.

How did you get into farming?
I grew up on our family farm, but I never thought about farming as a career! My grandfather had slowed down and no one was earning their sole income from the farm, I didn’t see farming as a full time job. (whoa, was I wrong!). I knew I wanted to work outside so while at college I studied animals, mostly horses. During that time my mom started a petting farm operation and there was suddenly a place for me to work on the farm after college. Once I was back on the farm I started learning about the local food movement and began to wonder where my food came from too! From there we started raising 100% Grassfed Beef, pastured pork, and expanded our vegetable garden! Now I know where my food comes from and am excited to share it with the community!

Know Your Farmer: Nora Crist of Clark’s Farm
Why is being an eco/sustainable farm important to you?
My grandfather always said that the farmer was the first environmental conservationist and we take that seriously on our farm. My grandfather helped start the farmland preservation program in our state and our farm was one of the first into the program. This means that our farm can never be developed into houses or a shopping center. As a result, we know we are going to be farming here for a long while and we take care of our land and natural resources to the best of our ability. Before my grandfather passed away he had a stone placed outside of his farm house with the etching “Never Sell the Land”, so we have our instructions and we are happy to keep farming this land!

Know Your Farmer: Nora Crist of Clark’s Farm
What do you think is the largest problem facing our food system today?
I think on a global scale, distribution is our food system’s biggest problem. It is hard to get healthy, fresh food to those who need it. Locally I think education is our biggest challenge, and therefore opportunity! It is hard and time consuming to farm, but we also need to be out there educating our community to the health benefits of locally grown food not just for them, but also the health benefit for the animals, farmers, and land. Connecting people with the source of their food is so important, as is showing customers that it is not that difficult or expensive to shop straight from a farm!

Know Your Farmer: Nora Crist of Clark’s Farm
What do you want non-farmers to know about farming?
I would like non-farmers to know that farming is hard. It is down right hard, exhausting, frustrating, at time disheartening and overwhelming, but it is also the most rewarding and fun work! There are many jobs out there that are hard and exhausting, but very few where you get to see and taste your work at the end of the day. Farming is never a 9-5 job, our animals and plants constantly need our attention. It is also hard because many farms are also small businesses. That means that the farmer who is growing your food also handles the accounting, marketing, customers relation, employee management, and many more jobs that go into operating your own business. One last thing I would like non-farmers to know is that most of our decisions are made well in advance of harvest day and a lot of planning goes into those decision. It isn’t as simple as planting more tomatoes or processing another steer, months and sometimes years of work and patience go into that product, and hopefully nothing goes wrong while its growing! With all that said, what makes me feel the best is when our customers enjoy our products, because that makes it worth the work!

If you weren't a farmer, what would you be?
Hmm, I don’t know. I have never given it much thought! Before I came back to work on the farm, I had always planned to work outside with animals just in a different way than I am now.

How do you satisfy your sweet tooth?
It doesn’t take much to satisfy my sweet tooth, I gave up eating sugar a few years ago. I make my own chocolate with raw honey, coconut oil/ghee/or butter, and raw cacao powder. I also love making homemade ice cream with honey in the summer!

Clark's Farm's products, including 100% grassfed beef, pastured pork, and GMO-free and beyond organic vegetables are available to order at their online store for pickup at the farm or at the roadside market during the summer.

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