Tomten Farm is a small diverse farm run by Brian Garretson and Autumn Campbell on 18 acres in Prince Edward County, Virginia. With 2.5 acres dedicated to annual vegetable production, Tomten Farm offers a wide array of organically grown produce and herbs for local markets, restaurants, and our CSA shares. Our goal is to offer high quality, excellent tasting produce for people who love to cook. While focused on produce, Tomten Farm is a diverse operation, which involves raising animals for meat on our pastures throughout the farm. Chickens (Red Ranger or Freedom Ranger) will be available June through December and Ducks (Muscovy) will be available in the Fall & Winter.
A little bit about us: we love food, growing it, cooking it, and eating it. Collectively we have worked over 20 years in the food and beverage industry and over 10 on farms. Brian grew up in the rural Midwest, and at 13 he got his first job working at a gigantic hybrid-seed corn operation. For the next six years he continued working on farms, developing a strong connection to the agricultural community. Years later while living in Portland, Oregon and working in the restaurant industry he began to research about how food can be grown sustainably. He started concentrating on small-scale gardening and eventually decided to move back to the country to work on small, diverse, sustainable farms so he could learn how to grow food in a traditional way.
Autumn’s childhood was filled with backyard gardening, a love for the land, growing food, and lots of cooking. These activities have taught her to value the deep connection between where our food comes from and excellent quality and taste. In 2006, while working for a specialty coffee company in Portland, Autumn had the opportunity to travel to coffee farms throughout Latin America and Africa for a ongoing documentary project. Observing every detail of the agricultural process, a farmers deep connection to their land and crop, coupled with generations of shared knowledge was inspiring. Realizing the immense craft that can be involved with growing food and raising animals, matched with a decade long dream of moving out of the city, she took the challenge and got a job on a small farm.
We moved to Virginia in 2011 after Brian spent time training on farms in Ontario, Canada and Western Massachusetts. Working together in Madison County on a diversified organic operation led us to fall in love with the farming community in Virginia and those who support it. In 2012 we moved onto our current property in Green Bay Virginia. This property has a long history as a farm dating back to the mid 1800’s, if not further. For many generations the Owen’s family owned and farmed the land mostly as a dairy, but also growing crops and raising pigs. We are honored to have the center 18 acres of this old farm and to carry on a tradition of growing food while striving to sustain and preserve the integrity of the soil, wildlife diversity, forests, and pastures on this piece of land.
Tomten (or tomtes, or nisse) were originally understood to be mythical creatures–usually small, old men with long beards–who would protect a farmer’s home, family, animals, and crops particularly at night.