On the Farm
It’s prime produce season at one of Alabama’s tastiest places, Oakview Farms
At Oakview Farms in Wetumpka, Ala., the air is filled with Mother Nature’s music: clucking chickens, buzzing bees, wind-rustled leaves and the occasional barking dog. The sounds only add to the hum of activity on the farm; whether its stone-ground grits, sweet honey, tender butter lettuce or dark, plump blueberries, Oakview Farms is constantly producing something good. It all began in 1998 with a stone gristmill that owners Joe and Patty Lambrecht use to make stone-ground grits, stone-ground cornmeal and stone-ground flours. In the 18 years since, the farm has expanded to include plenty of other incredible edibles.
Committed to sustainable farming practices, Oakview Farms is always looking for the best way to get the most out of every plant. Its hoop house is a prime example. The large plastic “bubble” extends the growing season for tomatoes, cabbages and other leafy greens without being heated or cooled, like a regular greenhouse is.
Growing lettuces hydroponically is another sustainable technique. Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil. It is more sustainable than traditional gardening as it requires less water. It also often results healthier, happier plants that give up greater yields at a faster rate.
While the farm yields abundant and diverse produce, you can also get fresh eggs from Oakview’s many hens. “We gather eggs every day,” Patty said. “People love them.” But laying eggs is not the chickens’ main job on the farm. “They are our first line of defense in pest control,” Joe said. “They love to eat grasshoppers and moths. They patrol the greenhouses for us.” Oakview Farms is also harvesting raw honey from its apiary.
Several Alabama restaurants depend on Oakview to add fresh flavor to their menus, but you don’t have to be a chef to appreciate or have access to the wholesome, healthy products fresh form Oakview Farms; the Lambrechts are always happy to meet new customers.
Get some of the goodness for yourself by shopping their on-site store, open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, or by visiting their booth at local farmers’ markets, including the market at The Shoppes at EastChase in Montgomery, held every Saturday, 7.a.m. to noon, this summer. Check the farm’s website and its facebook page to find exact dates and times.