Our Story

 

Red fern farm

Founded by Clark and Katherine Mizell in 1996, Red Fern Farm is a family-owned and operated farm located in Gray Court, South Carolina, about 30 minutes south of Greenville. Over the last seventeen years, the 100 acres that comprise the farm have evolved from clear-cut woods and bare red clay into lush gardens, rolling pastures, and mature hardwood forests. Our operation has grown and changed alongside our family, but our love of the land and the desire for sustainability has always guided us. Meredith Mizell, Farm Manager

Meredith is the manager of Red Fern Farm, where she picks up rocks and wrangles chickens just like she did at age eleven. After a brief post-college stint in corporate graphic design, she returned to work full-time on the farm and now supervises our day-to-day operations. An avid student of herbalism, she has studied at the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism and through the Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center.

 

Clark Mizell, Owner/Operator

With an extensive background in accounting, Clark maintains an off-farm day job as well as the farm’s finances. After years of experience with livestock and pasture management, he’s our resident soil and grass expert and also oversees our vermicompost operation. His own childhood experiences in rural Illinois have inspired him to pursue a wide variety of homesteading activities from splitting wood to Lacto-fermentation.

Red Fern Farm is devoted to growing culinary, medicinal, and aromatic herbs and educating the public on their cultivation and uses. We believe that restoring our connection with nature through the powerfully creative processes of gardening, medicine-making, and outdoor experience is the best antidote for our consumption-driven culture of isolation and disconnection. Through our work, we seek to empower and inspire the individual to regain control over two of her most basic needs: food and medicine.

immature-elderberriesCommunity. Independence is a myth; no man is an island. We strive for interdependence by nurturing our connections with neighbors, friends, and customers both near and far. We support fellow farmers and artisans, believe in cooperation rather than competition, and would like to see the barter system make a comeback!

Nourishment. Our bodies aren’t machines made of malfunctioning parts to be replaced, they are ecosystems ebbing and flowing, our microenvironments affected by the macro environment around us. We believe that clean food, pure water, and whole plant medicines are necessary to address the imbalance and support proper function. True health places an equal emphasis on the cultivation of the body, mind, and spirit.

Quality. We take pride in the quality of our work; there is no mass production here. We’re dedicated to producing well-made goods and providing excellent services. We use the best supplies and ingredients, craft in small batches, and offer educational experiences in a positive, welcoming atmosphere.

Resilience. Small is not just beautiful, it’s antifragile. We’re committed to the realization of a local food system (and economy) that can successfully weather environmental, macroeconomic, and political changes. We prefer small-scale, handmade redundancy over large-scale, industrial efficiency, and pattern ourselves after natural processes and cycles as much as possible.

Reskilling. We remember that we were once a nation of creators, not just consumers, and we know the value of making something with your own two hands. We hope to contribute in some small way to the preservation and dissemination of traditional skills and knowledge and to encourage and equip the next generation of farmers, gardeners, and eaters.

corn-seedlingWe are not certified organic, but we consider ourselves “practicing organic” and do not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on the farm. Organic pesticides are very rarely used as an extreme last resort for vegetable crops and are never used on our herbs in any circumstances. We rely on beneficial insect predators, mechanical controls such as hand-picking and pruning, and crop rotation for control of pests and disease. We start all of our plants from seed or propagate them from vegetative material, and work them up in a mixture of professional-quality potting soil and our own vermicompost produced here on the farm. We fertilize with OMRI-listed hydrolyzed fish and liquid kelp and use clean water from our own wells.

We do not use mineral oil or petroleum-based additives, parabens, synthetic colorants, or artificial fragrances when crafting our herbal skincare products. All of the herbs we use in our value-added products are either grown chemical-free here on the farm or purchased from reputable suppliers of organic and ethically wildcrafted herbs. All of our value-added products are crafted in our on-farm, SCDA-approved kitchen facility.

The information contained on this website regarding herbs has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease and is not a substitute for the care of a licensed medical professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, or on prescription medications, always consult your health care provider before using herbs.