Written by Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
Rora Valley Farms is a family farm located near Goodwater, Alabama. It is operated by Noah and Dorothy Sanders with help from their young sons, Enoch and Patrick, as well as other family members, who also live on the family property. From fresh fruits and veggies to pasture-raised chickens, eggs, and sprouted breads, Rora Valley Farms is one of my best local non-GMO resources to keep me stocked.
I first met Noah at Pepper Place Market. I always ask questions of the farmers from whom I buy and was impressed with him and his non-GMO, sustainable farm products. Lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, summer squashes, okra, baby cucumbers, and more are available, depending on the month. All of Rora Valley Farms plants are non-genetically modified and feature heirloom and open-pollinated varieties. Grown in a living soil free from chemical poisons, these vegetables harvest nutrients that we all need for good health. At Rora Valley Farms, they wisely focus on feeding the soil, rather than the plants, with applications of compost, mulch, rock minerals, and green manures.
I am an egg snob and only buy eggs that are pasture-raised. Every pasture-raised egg at Rora Valley is hand-sorted and collected. And with one look inside their cracked eggs, it is easy to see why eggs are their most popular product. The plump yolks are deep orange in color with no wrinkling of the yolk. These eggs are laid by the farm’s mixed breed hens including Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, and Black Australorp. And as nature intended, the hens are kept outdoors and rotated around the farm, so they can forage in the pasture and woods. They are also fed a natural grain ration mixed locally by Frank McEwen of Coosa Valley Milling. And a recycled cotton wagon is used for a portable roosting shelter and nesting house and is rotated with the chickens to protect them from ground predators. The flock is also surrounded by a portable electrified netting, which is powered by a solar energizer. The netting encloses around one quarter of an acre at a time. And geese are kept with the flock to provide hawk protection. In addition to eggs, Rora Valley Farms also offers grass-fed whole chickens.
I always look for their sprouted bread products. The sprouted blueberry muffins make for a healthy breakfast. I fill their sprouted tortillas with Rora Valley veggies for lunch. Their sprouted, braided loaves of bread pair well with any meal. I use their vanilla flavoring exclusively in my baking.
Rora Valley Farms also offers online buying of their products. A Basic Farm Membership is $10, which allows access to the online farm store, where you can place weekly orders for their products. The products can then be picked up at one of their drop-off locations. And the premium/buy down membership is $100 or more, which gives a $100 or more credit to use in their premium online store that also discounts items 5 percent. Learn more at RoraValleyFarms.com.