Hazel Hill Farm is located in rural Avoca, Wisconsin, about 25 minutes drive into the hills from both Dodgeville and Spring Green, at the center of the triangle between Highland, Clyde, and Avoca. While pre-arranged visits are welcome, we have no plans to sell from the farm itself.
What We Grow
The 2016 season will be our first season in production. We’re planning on less than an acre of intensively grown organic vegetables, utilizing a 30’ x 96’ unheated hoophouse for season extension and hopefully year-round sales. We are also working to establish longer-term perennial planting of fruit and nut trees, small fruits, rhubarb, asparagus, and herbs. Last spring, we inoculated 100 oak logs with shiitake mushrooms, which will start producing this spring and fall. We also have the beginnings of a mixed herd of heritage pigs, who will be rotated through the pastures and woods as part of a holistic effort to improve the land and provide delicious, organically-fed pastured pork. There are plans for a roving band of hens, who will start laying eggs in the late summer. The whole menagerie will be protected from four-legged intruders by Bogart, a Maremma livestock guardian dog. Born in September 2015, he’s well on his way to an expected final weight around 100 lbs.
How and Why We Grow
Above all, we are dedicated to stewarding the land in the most sustainable way possible. To these ends, we will strive to produce as much food as possible on a very small footprint. We follow organic practices, and are in the process of becoming certified organic. Though the organic standards are a helpful starting point, we hope to go above and beyond to work towards true sustainability.
Why grow what may seem like a small amount of food when we could all just drive to the grocery store for whatever we need? It may be like a small effort, but it seems to us that given the chance, every bit of real action counts. All we can do is endeavor to live lightly on the land and provide opportunity for others in out community to do the same.
Who We Are
Hazel Hill Farm is the result of a series of befuddling decisions made by one Emily Martorano. After earning a degree in Anthropology from Harvard in 2010, she found herself in a series of strange jobs in Chicago. Foreseeing no time like the present, she bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome in the fall of 2011. Devoid of any funds to speak of, she decided to WWOOF around - that is, work on organic farms in exchange for room and board. Sometime between harvesting grapes and olives Tuscany, mucking out chickens on Scotland’s Black Isle, planting trees in Cork, and milking cows in Piemonte, her mind turned from memorizing Eliot to dreaming about what her own farm would look like. 2012 found her breeding goats and making cheese in Maine. She spent her first full season interning on a large vegetable CSA in western Connecticut in 2013, and in 2014 She returned to her ancestral midwest to apprentice with Boerson Farm in Princeton, WI. There she spent two seasons helping to grow organic vegetables for a small CSA and caring for a herd of pastured pork, grass-fed beef, etc. Family brings Emily to Avoca, where her aunt and uncle agreed to rent her an old farmhouse and a few acres to put into practice what she’s been learning along the way. None of her training can be blamed for this latest befuddling decision to discuss herself in the third person.