Donnas Farm brings organic produce to Thanksgiving tables – Beaumont Enterprise

Posted: November 27, 2019 at 3:46 am

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Published 9:03pm CST, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Brent Heironimus and his father, Steve Heironimus, made their way through the covered growing houses on Donnas Farm in Fannett on Tuesday as they continued to harvest the multitude of organic produce grown within for todays pre-Thanksgiving market sale.

The pair pulled radishes, several varieties of turnips, spinach and more. This morning, the harvest will continue with beans, cabbage, broccoli, herbs all of which will be washed and bundled in time for the 3 p.m. opening of the stand at the farm.

The familys first pre-Thanksgiving market plans were almost dashed when their farm was filled with more than a foot of water during Tropical Depression Imeldas flooding two months ago. They lost all their cucumbers, green beans and tomatoes, but somehow, miraculously, Steve said, the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage all survived.

Steve recalls walking through the grounds, surveying the flooding that stretched around them as far as the eye could see and the damage it had caused.

The ducks loved it, he said. They were just floating around, dropping their eggs as they swam.

He said he collected the fresh eggs from beneath the clear water.

As the flooding receded, they began replanting the crops that were lost, and leafy pole beans and cucumbers quickly grew again, yielding a harvest just in time to see their holiday plans come to fruition.

Donnas Farm, which survived a near tragedy in Imelda, was born 8 years ago in the midst of an incident also nearly tragic.

Donna fell ill with food poisoning while on a trip to California with Steve. Her condition worsened dramatically as the illness sparked a flare-up of a dormant staph infection from a previous health problem.

The infection sprang up in the artificial heart valve shed gotten years before and almost turned septic. The couple was stuck for three months in California, where she remained hospitalized.

When they returned to their home in rural Fannett, Steves unattended construction business had suffered, and Donna still required constant home care while continuing to recover. Steve, whose father had always kept a garden while growing up in Central Texas, decided to start a garden of his own as something to do while caring for his wife.

He was joined later by son Brent, who had graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Together they learned about organic farming from the internet, YouTube tutorials and advice from other produce farmers, tailoring their knowledge to the climate of Southeast Texas, and eventually establishing a stable growing cycle.

They built covered houses within which to grow their produce, which gave much-needed protection from the damaging effects of wind, rain and insects.

They now have three, with another in the building process and designs for more to follow. In all, they plan to have eight houses amounting to an acre-and-a-half of covered growing space.

Fruit orchards and a farm-to-table restaurant are also part of the familys long-term plans for the 8-acre property as they continue to grow and find success as organic farmers.

Their produce already can be found in several area restaurants, including Monicas, J. Wilsons and Gathering: A Paleo Cafe in Mid-county.

Brent said they have also reached out to other area farmers, some of whom will contribute items to todays market sale.

They would like Donnas Farm to become a buy local, farm-to-table that offers year-round market sales from area farmers to augment the existing seasonal farmers market in Beaumont.

Those who would like to augment their traditional turkey and dressing with locally grown organic produce and herbs can visit the farm at 11073 Koelemay Drive in Fannett from 3 - 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27.

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Donnas Farm brings organic produce to Thanksgiving tables - Beaumont Enterprise

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November 27th, 2019 at 3:46 am

Posted in Organic Food