By Ashlee Oakley
Once you see the giant peace sign decorating the front of a shining white barn, you will know you’re in the right place. Drive past the house with alpacas on the shutters and whimsical window-pane art hanging in the lawn, and meet CJ and Paula Jeanniton. Along with their happy little boys, Charlie and Joey, the Jeannitons have an easygoing, contagiously cheerful way about them, and are prepared to talk with humble excitement about their ever-growing farm.
One gets the impression that they have grasped the dream to do what they love, and love what they do. The couple met at Alfred State University, and, between the two of them, they have earned many degrees and certifications in science, veterinarian assistance, engineering, and other areas. Their combined, extensive education is without question incredibly helpful in the implementation of their self-proclaimed “experimental” homestead farm— an experiment which started when they moved from Newark Valley, NY back to Paula’s hometown, Collins, in October 2015, which has bloomed gorgeously at their home on this New York state highway, Route 39.
You can sense the quiet contentment in this place as you travel uphill through their fields, a playful kitten weaving in and out of sight, wide varieties of produce and sunflowers as far as you can see, with bees busily pollinating the gardens, and a perfect country view from the top of the rise, which is occupied by an enormous and perfect peace sign, made entirely of sunflowers.
Their produce is all organic, with a wide variety of attractive and healthy stock in the stand in front of their house— carrots, kale, leeks, eggplant, peppers, turnips, tomatoes, yellow squash, onions, small pumpkins and gourds, as well as sunflowers are all available right now, for your produce and decorating needs, with more fall produce coming your way soon! The fruits of their labor are sold on the basis of free-will donations— pay what you can— and the Jeannitons say it gives them more than it takes, providing this service to the public. “It all evens out, and if someone doesn’t pay anything, they obviously need the food. We aren’t worried about it; we aren’t doing this to make money,” says Paula.
The Jeannitons explained they have mainly just planted this year, to test and observe what they can accomplish in the coming years, but also have animals for eggs and meat at this time. Ambitions to expand the farm even more than the impressive homestead they have this year are in the works. Some of their aspirations in the coming years include being a fully self-sustainable homestead, to turn their now three- acres of produce into 15 acres of working farmland, and to expand the roadside farm stand, so they may sell not only fresh produce, but also baked goods, dinners, and the like, using their own farm as much as possible to supply these foods entirely locally (inspired, certainly, by CJ’s youth in the Catskills, growing up with both parents in the restaurant business). They are also open to artists and photographers to come use their farm as inspiration and backdrop to their artwork. (They request that one contacts them via the Farm in Peace Facebook page for more information regarding using the farm for these purposes.) Next spring, they plan to promote and organize a plant-share, where you may freely split and trade decorative plants with your local community.
On top of all of this, the Jeannitons also own two successful Etsy businesses that they house in a workshop down the street from their farm: Plantables and Paper, and Journaling Jane. Look them up on Etsy for high-quality, low-cost paper products, accessories, and more distinct and lovely handcrafted goods at www.etsy.com/shop/plantablesandpaper and www.etsy.com/shop/journalingjane.
For 2017, they are offering a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Paula Jeanniton states, “The CSA program is essentially like purchasing a ‘share’ in our farm for the season, in exchange for a weekly box of fresh picked, in-season veggies. Each box would strive to have a mix of 6-10 different types of vegetables. The season would run for 16 weeks- from June to October 2017.” They will have 10 spots available for the CSA program to start with, and a waiting list for interested parties in the case of a surplus. Their free-will produce stand will still be available, but CSA boxes will be prioritized during the next growing season.
Please contact this kind, talented, and hardworking family via their Farm in Peace Facebook page (or stop by their farm and pick up a brochure) for more information regarding the CSA boxes- or come to peruse their variety of farm fresh produce, and feast your eyes on the unique slice of peaceful country life and palpable joy of giving the Jeannitons hold, just a few minutes west of Springville, at 3380 Route 39 in Collins.