Farm. Flower. Forage. That is the motto for Coosa Fancy, a full-service, organic farm on 20 acres in Rockford. The owner, John Burke, spends his days tending heirloom vegetables, fruit trees and heritage hogs. The land has been in his family for more than 100 years and has always had an active farm in place.
Although Burke has been running the farm for the last five years, when COVID-19 hit, he and his wife, Kelsie, decided to go full-time into the business. To fund Coosa Fancy, the couple decided to start a community supported agriculture project in the area. These projects have become popular in recent years, as they allow the consumer to buy directly from the farmer. The food is grown and serviced locally, which ensures fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Coosa Fancy is also a completely organic farm, and its produce can be found at the local farmers market on Main Street in Alexander City or the Eastchase Farmers Market in Montgomery. The focus of the owners is old-style heirloom vegetables, some of which are not very common anymore, and a culinary variety of herbs, which tend to be harder to grow. They also grow a large variety of gourmet lettuces, fresh greens and salad mixes.
“We are a market garden,” said Burke. “ When we go to market, our table is full of color and variety. We are giving customers the option to build a meal when they shop with us.”
Coosa Fancy usually adorns their farmers market table swith fresh-cut flowers, canned vegetables and homemade honey, jams and jellies that were prepped and canned in a special full-service, farm-only kitchen. And of course, all of the lovely vegetables and fruits they have grown for the season are on full display and available for purchase.
The CSA that Coosa Fancy offers is similar to the table on display at the farmer markets they attend. The box of food is rich in color with a mixture of fresh, seasonal, organic vegetables and fruits and occasionally jams, jelly or honey. Butcher cuts of heritage pork are also included in the CSA. Weekly deliveries are guaranteed in the Lake Martin area. Pick-up dates are available for all other locations.
“The weekly CSA share is enough for several meals, depending on the size of the family,” said Burke. “Our target market is people who live on the lake and want fresh produce delivered to their doorstep.”
The meal plan is set up to be enough food to feed a family of four to five people for the week. Don’t have four or five people to feed? That’s okay, too. Invite a friend or two over for a nice meal and serve up these beautiful vegetables; however, vegetables and fruit are not the only tasty treats found on the grounds at Coosa Fancy. They also raise heritage hogs.
“Heritage hogs are breeds that can be traced back to the Old World or Europe,” said Burke. “They tend to be much bigger than the average hog and even have tusks and hair.”
These cute little buggers live a very natural pig life. They feed on sweet acorns, roots in the dirt, fruits, vegetables, bark – the list goes on and on.
“These hogs get to about a year and a half before we process them. They live a natural life out on the pasture and in the woods. Having the availability of sweet fruits, acorns and vegetables gives the pigs a chance to add flavor to their meat naturally. They are happy, and happy pigs taste better,” said Burke.
Recently, Coosa Fancy purchased a Mangalitsa heritage hog that was imported by Auburn University directly from Hungary. It was bred with a Berkshire heritage hog, coining the term, ‘Berkalitsa,’ as the heritage of the newborn baby hogs.
“We like working with heritage hogs because the meat is excellent. It is a craft product, and we enjoy raising craft pork,” said Burke.
In addition to farming, Burke and Kelsie keep busy foraging for chanterelle mushrooms, native pawpaw fruit and other wild plants and berries throughout the year.
Kelsie has also decided to add another leg of beauty to the farm by growing a plethora of flowers. She wants to bring fresh-cut flowers right to people’s doorsteps, too. She is in the process of planning currently but looks to unveil a small-cut flower CSA for the Lake Martin area as soon as March.
For more information or to join the CSA, find Coosa Fancy on Facebook and Instagram @coosafancy or visit the website at coosa-fancy.com.