The story for Of The Earth starts over two decades ago with Patricia Sappington Pierce; then resident of Buckner, MO. Patricia began combining her love of herbs and her love of art in the creation of clay garden markers. These were so popular with family and friends that she began selling them at local farmers markets. Since clay and herbs both come from the earth she named her enterprise Of The Earth.
In the early 1990s Jim C. and Patricia Pierce moved to a small acreage north of Rayville, Mo. As they built their new home and developed surrounding herb, vegetable and flower gardens they received a gift. Their oldest son, Jim D., gave them an assortment of heirloom apple trees. This sparked an interest in Jim C. that continues today.
Over the years the apple tree assortment has grown to a seven acre orchard that includes 26 varieties of apples, two varieties of Asian pears, and two varieties of peaches.
Jim D. was introduced to Eau de Vie at a Fruit Growers Conference. This "Water of Life" captivated his attention and he began to research fruit brandy production. This research lead to the idea of a value added product for Of The Earth; Eau de Vie made from fruit and herbs grown on the farm. In 2011 Of The Earth Farm Distillery was born of this idea. The first batch of apple Eau de Vie was released in December 2013. Check the Products tab often to see what new offerings are available.
Sarah joined the operation in 2009. Sarah's strong animal husbandry skills and a knowledge of direct marketing meat inspired an expansion. A Katahdin sheep flock and Berkshire hogs were introduced to increase the farm's sustainability and offer customers the opportunity to purchase locally produced grass-fed meats.
The Katahdin sheep flock was started in the fall of 2012. The 18 ewes and their bodyguard, Alfred the Llama, rotationally graze the pastures under the direction of Jim D. and Sarah. After the apple harvest, the flock is moved to the orchard to feast on the stockpiled vegetation under the trees. Half and whole lamb orders can be submitted via phone or email. Deliveries will be made to area processing facilities in December.
Custom raised Berkshire pork was added to the farm in 2013. The spent fruit and grain mash are fed as a supplement to the hogs. This provides a sustainable way to dispose of the mash while making for extra happy hogs.