Farmer Ross leads Harvest community, Argyle back to intentional farming practices

Farmer Ross leads Harvest community, Argyle back to intentional farming practices

Farmer Ross leads Harvest community, Argyle back to intentional farming practices
August 25
18:22 2018

Situated right off I-35W is the Harvest community, a small suburban area centered around a farm where residents receive fresh produce weekly, as well as classes on sustainability and intentional farming practices.

The farm is single-handedly run by 27-year-old Ross DeOtte, who residents all call “Farmer Ross.”

“The centerpiece is the farm, so it’s all about connecting people with their food and gardening,” DeOtte said. “We have a lot of different events to promote that. I do a bunch of different workshops for kids and adults, and we have lots of different gardening pieces on this 6-acre little area here.”

Currently, there are approximately 1,000 homes in the Harvest community, although it is looking to have around 3,200 homes by the end of its development. The 6 acres of farming land will continue to be shared by residents even with the addition of more families.

The farm is sectioned off by its various types of produce. There are fruit orchards occupied by apple, plum, pear, pecan and fig trees, from which families in the community can pick from.

Additionally, there are two sections of milkweed to attract monarch butterflies, as they can only pollinate on those specific flowers. Then, there is a gated space for residents to have their own plots of land to till and grow. A playground of half-tires and a quaint coffee shop in the shape of a bright yellow house are nearby.

However, what truly stands out is the large greenhouse on the premise, which makes up most of Misty Moon Farms, DeOtte’s private business. Fresh produce grown in the greenhouse is sold to restaurants and farmers markets in the North Texas community. DeOtte has a large customer base in Denton, including restaurants like Hannah’s Off the Square, Juice Lab, Chestnut Tree and Queenie’s. Other restaurants that purchase produce from DeOtte are mainly situated in Dallas.

Radishes grow in the greenhouse at Misty Moon Farms. Will Baldwin

Far-reaching roots

mmunity for a little less than two years, although the community itself has been in existence for five.

“I drove by one day and saw a harvest, so I called them and said, ‘Hey, do you need a farmer?’’’ DeOtte said. “So here I am.”

He first expressed interest in farming as a 10-year-old when he dug up his mother’s backyard to plant seedlings.

“It’s been an off-and-on relationship since then,” DeOtte said.

In 2015, he got a job as a manager on a 175-acre farm in Celeste, Texas. Following that, he worked as a farmer at the Garden of Eden, a revolutionary hippie commune in Arlington, Texas.

DeOtte is also a heavily involved member of the community at the Rudra Center for Enlightened Awareness, otherwise known as the “big pagoda” on Locust Street. He is a tai chi instructor there and says he takes what he practices at the Rudra Center and applies it to his farming practices.

“We do shamanic studies, and there is actually a medicine wheel around this whole farm,” DeOtte said.

He has also installed a stereo system in the greenhouse to play music for the plants.

“There are various ways of connecting with the plants that most people would think are very weird,” DeOtte said. “You can plant certain things in the ground to promote the soil because the soil is actually a living thing that plants feed off of. Everything eats everything else.”

In the same way that animals die so that we can eat them, plants have to die as well.

“So there are ways of charging the soil with crystals and mantras,” DeOtte said. “Same thing when you’re planting the plants. It’s all about intention.”

DeOtte is dedicated to the naturally intentional growth and consumption of food. He does not use pesticides or any other chemicals. In the same way he cares for his plants, he also cares for people.

DeOtte’s girlfriend, Ashlyn Mansfield, 22, often helps him sell his produce at the farmer’s markets and the like.

“It’s great working with Ross because he is so passionate about what he does,” Mansfield said. “He is very clear on his vision of sharing high-quality food with the community. Some kids don’t even realize that their vegetables come from the ground, so we really care about connecting people with the earth and reigniting this respect.”

Members of the community also show great appreciation for DeOtte, as they realize that running a farm is hard, continuous labor.

“Farmer Ross is a reflection of what it means to live in Harvest,” Harvest resident Laura Liverman, 35, said. “He has a deep appreciation for producing fruits of honest labor, and it shows daily. We are very blessed to have him at the helm of our Harvest Farm.”

Featured Image: Ross DeOtte runs and operates Misty Moon Farms in Argyle, Texas. His interest in agriculture formed from his childhood interest in the growth of plants. Will Baldwin

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Claire Lin

Claire Lin

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