Farmer Profile: Hundred Acre Farm
Please introduce yourselves.
Ellis & Crystal Johnson.
Tell us about the farm. Please include what you provide in terms of lodging and accommodations with the Farmhouse Inn, as well as the various livestock and gardens that you tend.
We are primarily a bed & breakfast that also hosts various groups throughout the year, from weddings to leadership retreats. Our current accommodations consist of five private guestrooms and a larger, five-bedroom guesthouse, for a total maximum capacity of 28 guests. That number will rise to 34 in a couple of months once we finish renovating our six-person Hillside Cottage.
Our livestock includes approximately 200 chickens, a turkey, two horses, a miniature donkey, seven goats (four babies), a flock of young guinea fowls, and a young peacock. In and around our garden we grow tomatoes, beans, asparagus, zucchini, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, muscadines, scuppernongs, peaches, rosemary, crabapples … everything except dinosaur food, we like to say!
Do you make an effort to use what you produce at Hundred Acre Farm in the meals that you serve guests? If so, what are some popular items that are utilized in your kitchen?
Absolutely! The main staple of our breakfasts are fresh eggs from our free-range chickens. We will supplement that with crabapple jelly, rosemary biscuits, a fresh fruit & yogurt bowl, blueberry pancakes, and goat cheese when the goats are nursing. All of that comes from right here on our farm, and what we don’t have here (bacon, sausage, etc) we buy from neighboring farms whenever possible.
How long have the current owners run the farm, and what improvements or additions have they made since they have been operating the farm? (Could talk about the church and a number of other things here)
Dr. Johnson bought the farm in 1990. At the time, there were only two animal barns (which are still in use today) on the property. Since then, the land has seen several changes that have allowed other to appreciate it while also helping to preserve it for generations to come. The bed & breakfast was opened just in time for the 1996 Olympics, and a large solar panel was installed in 2011. A small trail network allows our guests to explore the natural beauty. Most recently, we moved the old Sugar Creek Baptist Church sanctuary onto our property in order to use it as an indoor wedding and retreat center.
Some of the animals at Hundred Acre Farm have some great names. Please tell us about some of Crystal’s favorite animals and their names.
One of the newest major additions to the farm in terms of animals is our miniature donkey, Moses. He shares a pasture with our two horses, Jasmine and Snowpea, and was actually traded to us in exchange for one of our Great Pyrenees puppies we had last summer. Out of ten puppies, we kept one and eventually named him Gray, although we often refer to him as Goober due to some of his more simple-minded tendencies. He and his parents, Mudpie and Zorro, are always hits with our guests.
Our most unique animals, ironically, may be our chickens, particularly those of the Polish breed. They’re quite distinctive due to the tufts of feathers that stand up on their head, which gives them the appearance of a classic rock star. For that reason, we have given a darker chicken the name Prince and a lighter one Rod Stewart. While not of the Polish variety, we also have a large, white rooster with a light yellow head who goes by the name of Donald Trump.
Why do you feel that supporting local farms and local agriculture is important?
Having a robust, local agricultural scene is a win-win for us. By sourcing as much as we can locally, we can promote further investment in an area that is already one of strength in the regional economy. Once sign of success has been the establishment of Farmview Market, which has brought more awareness and prosperity to the local agricultural scene and, therefore, promoted more investment. We do believe this is a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, and supporting what we have allows that tide to rise even higher.
What job or task on the farm brings you the most satisfaction?
There is no task quite so satisfying as picking fresh fruit and vegetables from our garden. After putting in all the associated work and care for several months, it is such a reward to literally taste and see the fruits of your labors, and to see our guests and customers enjoy them just as much as we do.
What is your least favorite chore on the farm?
Cleaning out the chicken coops, for obvious reasons (ugh). But without the coops, we would have no chickens and therefore no eggs, so it’s all necessary.
Do you have any plans for the future to expand what you offer to guests or what you produce? If so, please describe. (could be adding more hiking or riding trails, more solar power, growing more produce, etc.)
In addition to the renovations of the Hillside Cottage, we are working on adding honey to our variety of products on offer. In the coming months, we will begin operating beehives! This is something we have often considered, and with the recent plight of honeybees we think there is a need for more beekeeping and a place for honey in our portfolio.
Please tell readers how they can find out more information about your farm or make reservations to stay at the Farmhouse Inn.
Anyone interested in more information about the farm or the inn is welcome to visit our website, www.thefarmhouseinn.com. We are also part of the Farmeander tour of local agricultural establishments and can be reached by phone at 706-342-7933.