A ten acre farm on a sunny hill in Rocky Ridge, MD near the Loys Station covered bridge.
After several years of improving, organizing and preparing the property, we established three growing plots, approximately 3 acres. At the time we weren't sure what to grow but we knew we had to put this beautiful land to good use.
In 2017, after years of growing certified organic cover crops as a green manure to build great soil. We chose one of our plots and decided to do something radically different. Instead of growing buckwheat, rye, peas and oats as cover crops, we decided to plant flowers as the cover crop. We chose Zinnia's because deer (which we have a lot of around here) don't eat Zinnia's and they are relatively easy to grow. To our amazement that one acre field blossomed into a sea of magnificent color and became a full season buffet for butterflies and other pollinators. Family, friends and neighbors came to see and pick the flowers. We quickly learned that flowers always put a smile on everyone's face. We were hooked!
Ray and Maria Soderberg (in Swedish, Soderberg means "South Mountain" or "A Dweller South of the Mountain") started farming with a little experience and the desire to grow good food and flowers using natural, organic and sustainable methods. They also desired a work at home life style in the quiet country after devoting many years working and managing businesses in other industries.
Ray has over 25 years in the railroad industry as a locomotive engineer, conductor and track maintenance. After the railroad, he spent several years in sales, marketing, business development and real estate investing. Through this experience he started a business in 2014 in the waste and recycling industry, which was sold in October 2021.
Maria has over 31 years experience in the retail food industry. Specifically managing retail personnel and day to day operations in large, high volume grocery stores. She has intimate knowledge of food quality and food safety and currently holds a food safety certification from the State of Maryland. She retired from store management in December 2021.
Both Maria and Ray now have all day, everyday to devote to the farm operation.
Sunny Hill Growers, LLC is on a small ten acre farm. We currently have two acres under production with room for expansion. We use permanent planting beds with closely spaced crops and perform multiple bed turn overs per year. We use only the best organic compost and natural soil amendments and organic cover crops to feed and enrich the soil.
Most of the time we farm by hand using basic tools. We have a tractor and other equipment to help us manage the farm operation efficiently and safely. These larger, mechanized "tools" assist us with maintenance and improvements to the property without overworking ourselves and the farm helpers.
We are thoughtful and careful about managing the land. We respect the earth and work hard to grow the best product using sustainable and regenerative farming practices. We only till the soil when breaking new ground and establishing new planting beds. After that, the planting areas are managed with no till practices to protect the soil structure and biology.
Our farm has received the Certified Naturally Grown designation which assures our customers that we follow strict, natural, organic and sustainable standards for all products grown on our farm. Absolutely no chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified (GMO) seed used on our farm. We only use open pollinated, USDA certified organic seed and only USDA certified organic or ORMI listed soil amendments and approved organic compost.
For more information, visit https://www.cngfarming.org/