Green tourism and energy efficiency at Weatherbury Farm Vacation
Pennsylvania Certified Organic
2012 Sustainability Award
We are constantly working towards
providing “green” tourism both in our farm vacation bed & breakfast and
farm operations. Weatherbury Farm seeks to continue the concerns of the 19th
century and early 20th century people with minimizing external inputs by natural
recycling and conservation.
In 2007, we changed our farm operation from a traditional cow-calf operation to selling grass-fed beef directly to the consumer. Each pound of beef sold represents a ½ gallon of fuel saved (fuel that is not used to plant, fertilize and harvest corn to be fed to cattle in feedlots and fuel that is not used to transport cattle to feedlots).
In 2009, Weatherbury Farm's crop and pasture lands were certified organic; we have, however, been farming without herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers since 1988. In 2014, the mill at Weatherbury Farm opened. Certified organic flours, cornmeal, polenta and rolled oats are produced.
1996 Weatherbury Farm was awarded the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s
Sustainable Tourism Award, which recognized environmentally sustainable tourism
in rural areas of the Commonwealth. In 1999, the EPA, with its first Energy Star
Small Business Award, again recognized Weatherbury Farm Vacation for
The awards presentation program reads:
"Father and son, Nigel and Dale, along with Nigel's mother and Dale's wife Marcy, work together as a family to operate Weatherbury Farm in Avella, southwestern Pennsylvania. The farm produces certified organic grains and flours including soft and hard wheat, oats, spelt, open-pollinated corn, as well as emmer and einkorn, ancient heritage grains. In addition to raising grains and flours, Weatherbury Farm produces grassfed beef and lamb, and host farm vacations with a special attention to organic agriculture, green tourism and energy efficiency. The Tudor family's goal is to heal the lands they farm which have been stripped of nutrients with the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides applied before their ownership. Toward that goal, they strive to be a totally integrated farm, composting their animal manure to fertilize their fields. Weatherbury Farm is an extremely well manage farm, with exceptional records and excellent representatives of organic farmers!"
restoration work at Weatherbury Farm deals with retrofitting old, existing structures to
make them energy efficient while maintaining the look and allure of a 19th
century farm. We feel that we have a great deal of success in this regard and
plan to continue our conservation efforts with future projects.
The farmhouse was built circa 1880. Little had been done to make the house
energy efficient when we purchased the farm in 1985. As we restored each room,
we blew cellulose insulation into exterior wall, interior walls, floors and
ceilings. On cold winter days with high winds we could not keep the house warmer
than 60 degrees before insulating. The insulation cut our heating bill in half,
which saves us on the order of $1,000 dollars each year. The payback was less
than one year! In 1997 and 1998 we restored the Summer Kitchen into two
additional guest rooms. This building dates to the same period as the house and
was used for cooking and washing to keep the heat and fire hazard away from the
main house - a lesson in 19th century efficiencies. The ceiling was insulated
with specially ordered R-25 fiberglass batting. The walls with R-19 and the
crawl space with R-25 batting covered with 1 inch of rigid polyurethane
sheathing. In order to insulation the crawl space, we had to excavate
underneath, which took my husband, and son two weeks working like coal miners.
This building is heated and cooled with a wall mounted electric heat pump in
each room, which serves very nicely. No cost savings figures are available since
we do not have benchmarks in this case. The main house thermostat is maintained
at 62 degrees during the day and reduced to 58 degrees each evening. Our furnace
is serviced yearly to provide maximum efficiency. The Summer Kitchen rooms
operate on minimal settings when unoccupied.
we have retained our old windows because of their ambience and the charm of old
glass, the windows have been carefully caulked to reduce air leakage. Wooden
storm windows are planned to further reduce air loss.
COOLING: In the Livery, we utilize high EER, properly sized air-conditioners to
zone-cool our guest suites. Ceiling fans enhance the cooling effect. (The
summer kitchen rooms also use ceiling fans.) While our guests are quite
considerate about turning off air-conditioning when not in their rooms, we also
double-check when they will be out for a long period of time.
Electric timers are set up from a central location to operate lights so that the
house is well lit at the proper hours but not longer than necessary. This is
particularly important for a lodging operation such as ours.
As we replace appliances (or add new ones), consideration is given to the
energy efficiency rating. Our dishwashers utilize both air dry and water saving
capabilities and have a heat booster (allowing our main water heater to be
maintained at a lower temperature, while assuring proper cleaning). Our
high-tank toilets, while giving the feel of yesteryear (and a favorite of
guests) are, in fact water saving, as are our showerheads.
We ask our guests to let us know when they need clean towels. We estimate that we save 4000 gallons of water each
year, utilizing this green practice.
FARM VACATION OPERATION: We ask our guests to help us recycle cans, glass, plastic and
newspaper, both in our welcome letter and our “Everything you have every
wanted to know about Weatherbury Farm and what to do during your stay”
booklet. All of our guest room
furniture, kitchen cabinets, most of our bathroom fixtures and some bed linens
(mostly quilts) have had a former life and are refurbished as necessary to be
recycled for guest use. Our brochures and newsletters are printed on recycled
napkins are used at the table during our bountiful farm breakfasts. We
continually strive to cook accurate breakfast portions, while not appearing
parsimonious. Old linens are used for rags, negating the need for paper clean-up
water is tested annually for potability. An ultra-violet light is used to kill
Bottled water is provided for guest use.
Bottled water is provided for guest use.
is not permitted in any buildings, thus reducing a major source of indoor air
pollution. No animals are allowed in the guest rooms thus eliminated dander and
saliva as biological contaminants. A basement dehumidifier and exhaust fans
vented to the outside from the kitchen, bathrooms and clothes dryer eliminate
much of the moisture where biological pollutants thrive.
Although we live in a community, which does not support recycling through
garbage collection, we continue to recycle our newspaper, glass, plastic and metal at a
local centers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. We continue to
recycle plastic on the farm in a number of innovative ways. Plastic milk and
soda containers are saved to be used as starting containers for seed planting
and asexual plant propagation.
We also shred much of newspaper and junk mail for bedding for our chickens.
Newspaper is also used to make pots for the seed which we start.
We also shred much of newspaper and junk mail for bedding for our chickens. Newspaper is also used to make pots for the seed which we start.
also have recycled orange juice containers, having made a Christmas tree out of
250 of them. Our food waste goes to
garden compost pile. Used office paper is saved so “draft copies” can be
printed on the reverse side.
OPERATION: Weatherbury Farm
Vacation uses neither herbicides nor pesticides in its farm operations.
Weatherbury beef and sheep do not receive any growth hormones, antibiotics or other
chemicals. Farm buildings are currently being re-furbished using salvaged
Weatherbury Farm is a sustainable working grass-fed beef and sheep farm and produces all natural grass fed freezer beef for sale directly to consumers. Certified organic grains (soft & hard wheat, oats, spelt, open-pollinated corn, emmer and einkorn) are also grown on the farm. We are striving to be a totally integrated farm composting our animal manure to fertilize our fields.
We feed our free-range chickens organically using grains grown on the farm. (These same eggs are collected during morning chores for the next day's breakfast.) Our goal is to heal the lands we farm which have been stripped of nutrients (with the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides applied before our ownership).
Since 2009, certified organic grains (soft & hard wheat, oats, spelt, open-pollinated corn, emmer and einkorn) have also been grown on the farm. We have sold our grains to a regional flour mill, a micro-distillery, a micro-brewery and to other farmers. We are now selling our grains as flour directly to consumers. Additionally pasta will be made out of our flour to give consumers a ready-to-use product which emphasizes the flavorful nuances of the different grains we grow. We have a flour mill with millstones from Austria, an oat roller mill from Australia and a small Italian commercial pasta machine. Our food processing area has been inspected by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. In April 2013, we began grinding flour for sale directly to consumers.
With our flour milling operation we are doing something that is truly unique. In the news today you hear about food miles and how the average meal travels 1500 miles to the plate passing many processing plants on the way. This uncertainty of where your food has been and what has been done to it along the way creates the demand that our product will fill. From putting the seed into the soil to putting the flour into the bag all of the operations of planting, harvesting, grain cleaning and milling happen on our farm. Weatherbury Farm will be the only small farm producing estate flours, akin to an estate wine. The consumer can rest assured because our products are organically grown and processed. The organic certification means we have a rigorous annual inspection which verifies that our inputs, farming methods and processing are compliant with the USDA National Organic Program.
Selling direct to consumers allows us to cultivate relationships with the people whom our food nourishes. Currently all of our products are for pickup on the farm so people have the opportunity to learn where their food comes from. The flour and pasta will be available to the greater Pittsburgh region through a Penn's Corner Farmstand and will also be available for sale on the farm, on scheduled pickup days.
Flour ground from our certified organic grains is used to prepare breakfast pancakes.
GARDEN AND GREENHOUSE OPERATION: Our gardening, both vegetable and
flower, is done on an organic basis. Plants that attract beneficial insects have
been researched and are continually being added to our plantings. In 2008, we
increased the size of our garden by 50% and planting beneficial flowers
among the vegetables. In 2010 we increased our garden again -- this time by
nearly 90%. We added two additional annual vegetable beds and three beds
that will be used for perennial vegetable and fruits. Our ducks and
geese have the run of the farm (and the garden pests). Our guinea fowl are
particularly helpful in controlling our tick population.
In April 2010, we built a small 6' x 8' greenhouse and in April 2014 a larger 8' x 20' greenhouse which are being used to start plants for both the vegetable garden and the ornamental gardens around the farm. We are managing the greenhouse using organic principles. Eventually we may build an even larger greenhouse.
year we replant a portion of the banks along our road with flowers and shrubs
which are favored by wildlife; the plantings also reduce erosion.
POOL: Our swimming pool is maintained using a chlorine-free silver-ion exchange
system with chemicals being used only in extreme situations.
The Pool is open from memorial day to labor day.
The Pool is open from memorial day to labor day.
1061 Sugar Run Road
Avella, Pennsylvania 15312
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