Nestled within the serene expanses of Maryland, Fox Briar Farm embodies an extraordinary symphony of art and agriculture. The passionate grower of this magical half-acre is Kathleen Moss, whose unwavering love for farming, community engagement and aesthetic innovation breathes life into the vibrant tapestry of vegetables that her farm yields.
Her journey into farming began during her college days when the seeds of fascination for the land were sown. After a brief stint working in an office in Washington, D.C., she returned to her calling, drawn by the inherent pull of the land. In 2014, Fox Briar Farm started on a small plot in Salisbury, Maryland. In 2019, she moved the farm to Hurlock, Maryland, where it continues to flourish, embodying her agricultural vision.
A deep commitment to the preservation and reverence of the natural ecosystem underlies Moss’s approach to farming. She employs no-till farming methods, viewing the land as a holistic organism deserving of care and respect. She sees her relationship with the land as an intimate dance, where every step must harmonize with nature. Despite not being certified organic, Moss insists on maintaining organic practices, as she sees it as her duty toward the land and her customers.
Her carefully selected seeds, predominantly heirlooms and Italian varieties, show Moss’s farming philosophy. She sources her seeds from Johnny’s Seed Catalog, Uprising Seeds and Fruition Seed. The choice of seeds, she believes, is more than a decision about which vegetables to grow. It’s a commitment to preserving the rich narratives and history associated with heirloom seeds, celebrating the diversity of life our planet offers.
An eye-catching array of radishes, eggplant, tomato, celery, beets, squash, cucumbers, carrots and scallions color the fields. However, due to the farm’s limited scale, Moss intentionally omits certain land-intensive crops like beans, corn and watermelons.
Fox Briar Farm’s aesthetic philosophy goes beyond the field’s confines. It’s in every aspect of Moss’s approach to her work. From the farm, it extends into her customers’ homes through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. This innovative model, introduced in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, provides not just a consistent cash flow but a platform for Moss to experiment with crop diversity and share her love for lesser-known vegetables with her members.
Moreover, Fox Briar Farm maintains a strong presence at The Historic Lewes Farmers Market, an integral part of the local community. Here, Moss cherishes the opportunity to meet her customers, learn about their preferences and needs and introduce them to vegetables they might have yet to consider. These interactions, often loaded with smiles and stories, are a vital feedback loop that enables her to cater her offerings to her community’s needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges for the farm, as it did for everyone. Yet, her determination and adaptability turned the crisis into an opportunity for innovation. The CSA model, a direct response to the pandemic, strengthened her bond with her community.
Moss’s commitment to her farm, community and the land extends well beyond long hours in the field and at the market. She is actively involved in A Million Acre Challenge, a Maryland-based regenerative agriculture initiative helping to shape a more sustainable and resilient future for agriculture.
Looking ahead, she has plans to extend the CSA into the fall season, offering her members an even broader array of vegetables. For those considering a foray into farming, Moss provides the wisdom of her experience: seek mentorship, be prepared for hard work and explore creative solutions to startup hurdles like land sharing.
Fox Briar Farm thrives under Moss’s devoted stewardship. Every vegetable grown and harvested is not merely a vegetable, but a piece of art. Her farm offers a feast for the senses and is a testament to the vast possibilities when art, culture and community intertwine. It’s a love letter to the land, written in the language of seeds, soil and harvests.