Swallowtail Farm is located north of Alachua, along a fertile ridge of highland soil that crests the spine of Florida. We have crafted the farm as a model of sustainability and fine land stewardship, with a focus on appropriate scale, conservation of resources, and nature-produced fertility. No synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals will ever touch our fields or your food.
Noah Shitama was blessed with the arrival of his son Rain just a couple of years after graduating from Emory University. He was planting gardens and native landscapes for folks around Gainesville at the time, and felt further driven to provide better nourishment for his children. Inspired by the mentorship of Patrick Ross at Sandhill Farm, and after traveling the country with his family to visit and learn from farms near and far afield, he founded Swallowtail Farm in the Spring of 2009. It is his dream in practice that Swallowtail Farm becomes a model of authentic sustainability, a place of deep learning and healing, a source of true nourishment, and a reflection of the community that it serves.
Nicholas grew up in Central Florida and attended the University of Florida before moving out west to Colorado in 2010. He began his farming career in Paonia, Colorado after becoming more conscious about what he was eating and acknowledging his love for working hard outdoors. He apprenticed at Swallowtail Farm in 2013/14 and is returning to Florida to join the crew again in 2017. He is passionate about flowers, woodworking and spoon carving, knives, backpacking, saving seed, snowboarding, vinyl records, mushroom hunting, knowledge, traditional archery, attempting to play trumpet, repairing things, his 1985 Subaru, his dog Sandy, his cat Killer, and his girlfriend Margeux.
Mariana began farming in 2008 after studying Anthropology and Organic Crop Production at the University of Florida. She was fortunate to find a mentor in Rose Koenig, of Rosie’s Organic Farm where she learned to manage a 10 acre certified organic vegetable, herb, and flower farm and 100 member Community Supported Agriculture operation. In 2013 she joined the team at Swallowtail as the CSA manager, and crew leader. In 2015, Mariana founded Ladybug Blooms, the Floral Design Studio at Swallowtail Farm. Now, in addition to the CSA she manages all things floral on the farm including wedding and event design, market bouquets, and our flower CSA subscriptions.
Mattie is returning to Swallowtail following her apprenticeship during 2017/18. Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Mattie recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Psychology from the University of St. Thomas. She is braving the Florida heat to follow her passion for food--growing it, eating it, sharing it. Mattie likes to spend as much time outdoors as possible and has spent the past few summers working with young women at a wilderness tripping camp. When forced to be inside, Mattie enjoys reading, knitting, board games, and petting Midnight, the farm's adorable black cat.
Joelle Wood came to Swallowtail in 2014 as an apprentice interested in working with animals and quickly demonstrated herself as a fast learner, strong leader, and dedicated steward of the land and all its creatures. Now, Joelle manages the farm’s flock of laying hens and our pigs, sheep, and cows. She also manages our Farm to Table dinner series, assists with all types of field work, and helps teach our crew of apprentices each season. She is a lady of many talents and is passionate about butchery, chickens, pigs, succulents, roses, cooking, hide making, building things, old trucks, and has recently started her own homestead, The Old Fashioned Farmstead, just down the road from Swallowtail.
Although she was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rebecca has always felt like she was meant to be in Florida. And after becoming enchanted by Gainesville while serving in AmeriCorps NCCC with Alachua Conservation Trust she decided she had to make her way back someday. She fell in love with farming while working at Uproot Farm in Princeton, Minnesota and wanted to continue her farming career (while also escaping the cold and snow). She found Swallowtail and is returning for a second year to manage our dairy herd, spend time loving on the cows, and bring you delicious milk and yogurt!
Swallowtail Farm is possible in large part through the vision, generosity of heart, and cooperative spirits of Rick and Jane Nesbit, who own the land our farm is resident on. They are graciously partnering with me in the management of the farm as a whole, and have the foresight to see the farm as a beneficial complement to their home. It is with the utmost humility and gratitude that we grow food on their land without payment of lease or mortgage. In essence, they are thereby giving the great gift of facilitating our effort to produce the best food possible at a price that is accessible to the community. Farming on a small scale is increasingly obstructed by development and speculation, as these forces have made the cost of land prohibitive of itself. With this in mind, we consider it a blessing that our work has been relieved of this element of challenge.