STEVENS POINT — Visits to Seattle farmers’ markets got Tommy and Samantha Enright thinking.
And the more the couple thought about knowing where their food comes from, the more they considered growing it on their own.
So six years ago, after five years in Seattle, the couple decided to return home and start a farm.
“My wife and I moved from Seattle to start a farm in Central Wisconsin,” Tommy said. “We just got interested in local food and decided to move back and start our own farm.
“Land was a little cost-prohibitive out there.”
The Enrights both grew up in Wisconsin, Samantha in Waupaca and Tommy in De Pere. They met at UW-Milwaukee and moved to Seattle, where Tommy worked in the music industry in Seattle, while Samantha worked in the medical profession.
Upon moving back to Wisconsin, the couple bought a small farm on the Tomorrow River south of Amherst, where they are making a go of things as first-generation farmers.
At Black Rabbit Farm, the Enrights pasture-raise about 300 rabbits, 500 chickens, 60 turkeys, several ducks and 18 sheep on about 6.5 acres. They also grow vegetables and have raised hogs and plan to again next year. The sheep were a new addition this year.
“We started things off pretty well diversified,” Tommy said. “It’s not a big farm by most standards, but we certainly pack it in.”
This year for the first time, the Enrights grew hemp for CBD oil in a high tunnel. Tommy said he plans to continue with hemp next year.
“It did pretty well,” he said. “The high tunnel saved us from a big storm that came through in July.
“Our CBD content ended up really high this year, so that was very encouraging.”
The Enrights grow their vegetables and raise their animals without the use of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or herbicides. Black Rabbit Farm is not organic, but the Enrights follow organic practices and serve organic feed to their rabbits. They are certified Naturally Grown.
Weaned feeder rabbits are pasture-raised in tractors that are moved once or twice a day across the prairie grasses on the 6.5-acre farm. Between 20 and 30 rabbits a week are harvested during the spring, summer and fall and commercially processed at 11 to 12 weeks old at about 5 pounds live weight.
Rabbit meat is higher in protein and lower in calories, cholesterol, and fat than most other meats, Tommy said.
The Enrights attend Appleton and Stevens Point farmers’ markets in the summer. They also sell some meat wholesale to restaurants and butcher shops and do some direct-to-consumer sales.
In the winter, the Enrights attend the Stevens Point Area Winter Farmers Market, which runs Saturdays through March from 8 a.m. to noon at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 900 Brilowski Road, Stevens Point.
Tommy and Samantha have two children, and they both also work off the farm. Samantha is currently finishing nursing school and Tommy is communications and special projects associate with Wisconsin Farmers Union.
“Every year on the farm has gotten better,” Tommy said. “We wouldn’t have it any other way. We really like having a small farm.”
For more information about Black Rabbit Farm, visit their website at www.blackrabbitfarm.org or find them on Facebook.