309. Black Sun Farm CT | Rockstar Millennial + Listener Amelia Kellner


Author of


Ugly Farm

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am IDK if I am a rockstar but I am trying

NE CT, the poor part of CT, we’re not in Hartford

There’s a lot of farms in general in this part of CT

  • it’s not where I started farming
  • my husband and I bought a little piece of property
  • it’s sort of an Urban farm
  • we have neighbors we can see

1.2 acres

Oh, it’s um.

My husband and I were Goth kids in school

I’m really into growing black vegetables

love the black carrots

always buy those seeds

with the black tomatoes

If you forget to trim your tomato bush for a couple of weeks the busy parts are hiding inside are going to have big green splotches on them

either assume

the tomatoes are only going to be black

turn your tomatoes toward the sun

by the time that happens


slice them

they are black

from the top

taste great

make salsa out of

not as impressive if the whole

Baker Creek Black Beauty Tomatoes

almost every tomato I have ever had

still tastes in one shape or form

sweeter or nicer

tomato tastes like at tomato

black like your soul

black jalapenos

I thought they would be super spicy

picking them and eating them off the bush

the black nebula carrots

black all The way

blanch them for a two minutes

purple dye

You are just dropping golden seeds


Tell me about your first gardening experience?

my grandmother on my mother’s side

kind of a homestead

under an acre

being a little kid


fruit trees

they were getting older



something like that

when I was little

mother was used to gardening a vegetable

little kid

mostly you go eat green beans when you are seven years old

crazy flower plant lady

8 gardens at the house

plants on it

with he crazy plant lady

didn’t always like it

used to it

can’t remember my first gardening experience

childhood was surrounded by plants and gardens

life and enjoying things

I was in Vo-Ag

We have poultry


we have 2 goats

2 big geese

largest possible

that’s funny

they imprinted on her

that’s pretty cool

2 little boy goats

part of our 1.2 acres

1/4 acre is wooded area

just total junk

neglected the heck out of it

literal trash


out of there every year

puling things up

2 little weathers

able to go back there and eat a lot of stuff

like having 2 dogs

just lost 2 hens


somewhere else

Yeah! I understand the fence dilemma

we ended up having to replace our whole flock last year


our rooster was an Egyptian flume

they’re flighty


drastic measures

we got rid of everybody except our favorite couple of hens

heavy bird that wasn’t going to fly up

trying to raise partridge

super cute

one rooster and one hen

doing a big chick order in a couple of weeks

I forgot the train of thought

don’t get skinny

another lesson we learned the hard way

any garden

you build

fence in

especially if you have birds

we battled 3 different families of groundhogs

under the fence into the garden

burry your fence

tall fence

birds out

runner ducks won’t eat your produce they will eat the bugs

a lot of people


they will also eat half of your vegetables




they are terrible

compost pile

works out

they can eat whatever they want

it’s a good symbiotic relationship

warm and cooking

bugs are going crazy


bring me

save all their leftover scraps and what not

birds get a nice treat

helps keep food costs down


geese eat



apple cores

I keep them out

pet goose

get your but out of here

you know

How did you learn how to garden organically?

NO! I learned nothing organically from the family


my ex husband and I got divorced

this is the sad story

we were getting divorced

I had never heard of a farm apprenticeship

discovered that it was a thing

work on that farm

they give you a place to live for the growing season

I found a farm that I could move to

they were paying a pretty meager wage





pretty good deal

stay at home mom for 4-5 years

going to live on the farm

I only got to see my kids 1-2 daysSunday

4 and 1 1/2

it’s the hardest thing I had to do in my life

if anyone can avoid

I knew that my ex couldn’t afford to put me in an apartment

I’m gonna get out of the ouse

growing season

april – oct

do the whole

he had a good job

paid a baby sitter

June he lost his job

he and I had bought a house together

no money to pay the mortgage

I learned a lot!

60 hours a week

I learned a lot

loved learning

I was the only apprentice

there was a couple of people that worked full time/part time

knew what was going on

customer said


ties – Sunday


first got Sundays and Mondays off

point where I got

market in woodbury ct.

bosses wife

didn’t want to go any more

offered to split the profits

if I went to the market

find a place to live with my kids

even less time to see my kids


make some extra money

it worked out in the end

important learning experience

because of that being an apprentice

when you specialize in working

seasonal positions

desirable as a winter a

it was above their garage

contractor friends


his old refrigerator

composting toilet

I had to take care of

shower behind the barn

most of the time

you only had the end of a day to do anything

I was seeing him at the time

another farm in CT

he worked way worse then


good deal there

his farm living

literally a shack

run electricity to

toilets out way in the back

in a shack by the chicken and pig pens


12-15 hours a day


couple of hours off

8 hour a day on Sundays


I had it better then he did

farming is not easy

this was

6 years ago now

I have been

still doing it

you get in good shape

when you are busting your butt

different organic farm in MASS


seasonal nursery

over in Brooklyn

almost all ornamental

rolls at me

I get all excited when I see an edible plant

this has herbal value

I come home with

more of an herbalist now

vegetable gardening is going to be my first love

part time



organic practices


all I know is gardening organically

I already planted

  • garlic
  • onions
  • shallots
  • sweet potatoes
  • sage

one of the things I have been making with my herbal

  • smudge sticks
  • sage bundles

in a hippie store

made with white sage

difficult to grow

southwestern type of plant

which I do

inside the house all winter

  • minimal white sage
  • regular sage
  • garden sage
  • that field I am going to be renting

in a dryer area

some other potatoes

you would have to go back and water all the time

20 minute drive

don’e want to be there every single day


every different herb has a different meaning and use

look them in my special book

smudge blends

loose incense

take a class in that officially

that’s where I’m

technically 6A

treat it like 5 just in case

you don’t want to be

you shouldn’t buy a lot of plants that it does great zone 9-6

there’s a good chance it won’t make it as a perennial

if you get stuck on a certain plant

generally safer

if you are planning on it being a tree

buy anything that grows in anything warmer

you would want to make sure whatever your growing

make sure that it grows to zone 3

if you re growing something that taps out at zone

I mix all kind of things

  • sage
  • juniper

dry some and burn it next time you get it chance

get it so it’s crumbly dry

wood charcoal for our grill

stick it in a dish

helps once it gets smoldering

dried juniper

smells really nice


sweetgrass that I got from nursery

my husband’s from Wisconsin


raised with that

not raised full on Native American

1/2 and 1/2

summer camp for learning all the traditions and things

throw some yarrow in there


looks really cool

look more then being a super special herb

  • oregano
  • lemon balm
  • mints
  • yarrow
  • super tall

bundle them all up in your smudge stick bundle and let them dry

every herb because of it’s own special meaning

created it’s own blend


this will protect your house

good dreams


medical emotional ailments

I do, I just started this year

it’s really popular

OMGod! sage stick

smudge sticks that’s so cool

just applied for my cottage food license

tea blends

herbal blends

almost done with my certified


there’s one herbalist school in CT in Milford

1 1/2 time

don’t have that kind of gas money


Commonwealth center for herbalism

listen to their podcast

online course

heart of herbs herbal school

lady that runs this course

ran a 50% off sale at black Friday

still ended up on the credit card

less then expecting

you take tests and quizzes


file you are building

different profile for each different plant

  • rosemary
  • sage
  • red clover
  • plantain is like my favorite

heals everything

no body in the entire US that certifies or licenses herbalists

too close to saying you’re a doctor

can’t license herbs

certification course

prove to people that want to be

trusted to know what I am talking about

not allowed to give medical advice

I got diagnosed with crohns disease

what would be the best herbs

it’s along process

a lot of herbalism for free online

a lot of famous herbalist

will run a free class

school for evolutionary

taking it again this year

free course

herbalist podcasts

tons of free info

registered with the American Herbalist Guild

million books and things

learning for free for a year and a half

my second paid course

course from the UK

they do license people in the UK

learned what they have been teaching

so I can hopefully help some people

I forage

not bring something home with me

just a little bit

patch of it

to answer your question


people walk

waste areas

  • try to get it so it’s not one that people have trampled on a bunch
  • turned me on to being an herbalist for good
  • bug bite or sting driving you nuts
  • grab a piece of plantain, chew it up stick it on there


  • works on mosquitos
  • bee stings
  • helps a little bit for poison ivy

jewel weed


is awesome

find one or two little herbs learn how to use them

a could of

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

I grew green beans that were coming out of my years

can’t possible eat so much soup

coming and coming

not pick them

stand there in

throw a couple to the goose

she’s sees me picking


those are crazy prolific

make note have a ton of

I grew some extra tomatoes want one

it was massive

took over the entire raised bed

I couldn’t go in there and trim it

one of those orb spiders

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

we have spent the last two and half years preparing our large growing space

it’s about

I’d have to do the math

50 feet wide 65 feet long

it’s a pretty big chunk of the lawn

that’s the big garden

we spent an entire year mowing it down

the first year it was here

we paid a guy to take down the bushes

offered to till it

ended up tilling up poison ivy the entire season

the entire summer

he just mowed over it

if you mowed over it it wouldn’t be able to take hold

it worked!


layer and layer of cardboard and hay

in the fall every leaf I raked up

  • fb market place
  • I want your leaves
  • come grab your leaves
  • gonna call another lady

I’m gonna go get people’s leaves

another layer of leaves

some people will put a layer of wood chips

not a whole layer of

paths of wood chips


at a point in our lives

w’ere going to dot he fencing right the

tall enough

right length

burry it

building a big fence around it

this is my first real foray without raised beds

giant area of no till gardening

every year

more hay

you can get moldy gross hay


lay it all down

kind of an experiment this year

root crops in there really


  • not carrots
  • or beets or anything
  • they will have to go in a raised bed

spend this year growing some stuff int here

that will be my official farm garden

into the herbalism thing

planting lots of bushes and shrubs

  • apples
  • peaches
  • blueberry bushes

they’re not dead yet, that’s a success

herbal medicines

come from shrubs

  • cramp bark
  • vibrant
  • witch hazel

I just ordered a birch tree

birch oil with that

different berries

spreading it all over the place

centralized garden beds for vegetable growing

right kind of light

willy nilly in the yard

compost in the whole

hay and wood chips around it

changing the soil

making it better

slow long process

10 year from now


Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season?

Yes my peach tree

that’s all you really need if you are not selling a lot

I call it my baby, my baby peach

It came from a peach I ate at a farm i worked at

they look like a little donut

short flat round things

stuck them in a bag with a little moist soil in my fridge

in a pot with some better soil

managed to

planted it in the ground

it has exploded this thing

trunk has to be 5-6 inches in diameter

5 years since I ate the peach

last year I had tried to trim it

I had a book on how to trim fruit trees and I thought I trimmed it well

with peach trees you really have to prune them severely

in the spring it looked beautiful

100s of flowers


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Now Let’s Get to the Root of Things!


Black Sun Farm

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden.

squishing bugs

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden.

things that smell nice


I say on the farm don’t ever expect em cause I eat them all

I’ve had bugs eat them a couple of times

I have a couple of ever bearing

I don’t like the June bearing ones

you have etc plant more

I have the ever bearing strawberries

the little tiny alpine strawberries but they’re white

they’re prolific

pick it and stick it in a pot

they grow that easily

I am trying to convince my husband to build me a vertical strawberries

the flavor of the little white strawberries

worth it if its for yourself

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

I learned this lesson on the farm

large garden

write down a task and think it will take 15 minutes

you need to reconcile

a gardening task

it’s only going to take longer then you expect it to

not going to expect

gonna weed these garden beds it will take 10 min

you will not realize

trim the onions at the farm

when you grow onions from seed

set their little onion hair things

cut the tops off

before you plant them in the ground

trim the onion heads

done in early

no no no

never takes

standing there with the scissors

cutting of

flats of onions

could of rows and done

finish weeding

don’t sweat it though

it will get done eventually

you don’t have to get it all done at once

keep whatever pace


A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.

I love my soil knife

it is the best thing ever

I had a landscaping job for a month and a half


they gave everybody a soil knife I had to give e mine back

serrated edges

stab this thing in the soil


harvest things

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

The thing I love and make and love to tell people about

in working farmers market say ew beets I don’t like beets

well how do you eat them

beets boiled are disgusting

what you want to do with beets

you can use the greens

my kids will love them this way

slice them in bacon fat with a little onion and garlic

cook them till here

A favorite Podcast?

I listen to the commonwealth center for holistic herbalism

A favorite internet resource?

herbal academy of NY

Matthew wood institute of herbalism

for gardening

to be fair

Pinterest has some good s

growing chart for your state that your state puts out

during this time of month

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

I liked the organic medicinal herb farmer

market gardener

Gaia’s garden

little page Sherban


If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

if you can do an apprenticeship if you don’t have kids

I have seen a ton of people on line they go do an apprenticeship

your a farmer or you respect where your food came from forever

look up the laws in your state

if you want to mix teas

herbal salve

in CT there are a lot of rules

I can’t sell without a special license

just to sell a couple of jars with salve

I said forget that

get yourself a booth at a craft fair

sell pretty much whatever you don’t need

a little roadside table

still a roadside stand and I still get customers

get your card out there

I make this, I can make hat for you


WordPress site

personal level site

make yourself some business cards


craft fairs

easy things like that

friend is doing a flea market

try it out and test your market

doesn’t require any special insurance

test your market to find out

Final question-

if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

besides the plastic and trash pollution

comes and says

rant and rave about that

reusing what you are going to throw away

yogurt cups

anything you can possible

broken in half of this country

buy local

if you buy local produce from your local farmers

reducing the amount of greenhouse gases going into the air

you walking down to the farmers market handing the money to the farmer

doesn’t have to tell it to the store

handing your money


buy a couple of chicken or ground beef or bacon your having your money to that farmer

direct person to person

exactly where it was grown


you know how it was raised

I like to buy the meat

she lives down the road from my sister

bought bacon from a lady a couple of times away

that is the pigs

they’re amazing

vegetable farms

as long as you are not tramping through the vegetables

pick some kale

better for you

better for the farmer

not having to have all these other overhead costs

not having to transport

global economy

not really great for the planet

I like eating bananas

try my best to eat what’s in season

whatever vegetable

in season had to travel the least amount

I can probably get apples in Sept probably anywhere

early spring that’s when they’re growing

pay attention to what come out what time of year

you giving money to local farmer business

How do we connect with you?


Black Sun Farm

On Instagram

On Facebook


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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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