724.587.3763

Green tourism and energy efficiency at Weatherbury Farm Vacation

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Pennsylvania Certified Organic
2012 Sustainability Award


Weatherbury Farm’s eco-friendly practices reflect our family’s quarter-century-old personal philosophy, forged while living in Germany in the early ‘80s. Information about how Weatherbury Farm is environmentally friendly can be found below and is also included in our newsletters and guest materials. Most importantly, we promote our eco-friendly environment by personally living it.

We are constantly working towards providing “green” tourism both in our farm vacation bed & breakfast and farm operations. Weatherbury Farm seeks to continue the concerns of the 19th century and early 20th century people with minimizing external inputs by natural recycling and conservation.  

In 2007, we changed our farm operation from a traditional cow-calf operation to selling grass-fed beef  directly to the consumer.  Each pound of beef sold represents a ½ gallon of fuel saved (fuel that is not used to plant, fertilize and harvest corn to be fed to cattle in feedlots and fuel that is not used to transport cattle to feedlots). 

The restoration work at Weatherbury Farm deals with retrofitting old, existing structures to make them energy efficient while maintaining the look and allure of a 19th century farm. We feel that we have a great deal of success in this regard and plan to continue our conservation efforts with future projects. 

In 1996 Weatherbury Farm was awarded the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s Sustainable Tourism Award, which recognized environmentally sustainable tourism in rural areas of the Commonwealth. In 1999, the EPA, with its first Energy Star Small Business Award, again recognized Weatherbury Farm Vacation for environmental protection. 

On February 2 2012, Weatherbury Farm was one of two farms statewide to receive the 2012 Sustainability Award at the annual Pennsylvania Certified Organic meeting  (PCO is Weatherbury Farm's organic certification agency.)

The awards presentation program reads:

"Father and son, Nigel and Dale, along with Nigel's mother and Dale's wife Marcy, work together as a family to operate Weatherbury Farm in Avella, southwestern Pennsylvania.  The farm produces certified organic grains and flours including soft and hard wheat, oats, spelt, open-pollinated corn, as well as emmer and einkorn, ancient heritage grains.  In addition to raising grains and flours, Weatherbury Farm produces grassfed beef and lamb, and host farm vacations with a special attention to organic agriculture, green tourism and energy efficiency.  The Tudor family's goal is to heal the lands they farm which have been stripped of nutrients with the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides applied before their ownership.  Toward that goal, they strive to be a totally integrated farm, composting their animal manure to fertilize their fields.  Weatherbury Farm is an extremely well manage farm, with exceptional records and excellent representatives of organic farmers!"

HEATING: The farmhouse was built circa 1880. Little had been done to make the house energy efficient when we purchased the farm in 1985. As we restored each room, we blew cellulose insulation into exterior wall, interior walls, floors and ceilings. On cold winter days with high winds we could not keep the house warmer than 60 degrees before insulating. The insulation cut our heating bill in half, which saves us on the order of $1,000 dollars each year. The payback was less than one year! In 1997 and 1998 we restored the Summer Kitchen into two additional guest rooms. This building dates to the same period as the house and was used for cooking and washing to keep the heat and fire hazard away from the main house - a lesson in 19th century efficiencies. The ceiling was insulated with specially ordered R-25 fiberglass batting. The walls with R-19 and the crawl space with R-25 batting covered with 1 inch of rigid polyurethane sheathing. In order to insulation the crawl space, we had to excavate underneath, which took my husband, and son two weeks working like coal miners. This building is heated and cooled with a wall mounted electric heat pump in each room, which serves very nicely. No cost savings figures are available since we do not have benchmarks in this case. The main house thermostat is maintained at 62 degrees during the day and reduced to 58 degrees each evening. Our furnace is serviced yearly to provide maximum efficiency. The Summer Kitchen rooms operate on minimal settings when unoccupied.  

While we have retained our old windows because of their ambience and the charm of old glass, the windows have been carefully caulked to reduce air leakage. Wooden storm windows are planned to further reduce air loss. 

COOLING: In the Livery, we utilize high EER, properly sized  air-conditioners to zone-cool our guest suites. Ceiling fans enhance the cooling effect. (The summer kitchen rooms also use ceiling fans.) While our guests are quite considerate about turning off air-conditioning when not in their rooms, we also double-check when they will be out for a long period of time. 

LIGHTING: Electric timers are set up from a central location to operate lights so that the house is well lit at the proper hours but not longer than necessary. This is particularly important for a lodging operation such as ours. 

APPLIANCES:  As we replace appliances (or add new ones), consideration is given to the energy efficiency rating. Our dishwashers utilize both air dry and water saving capabilities and have a heat booster (allowing our main water heater to be maintained at a lower temperature, while assuring proper cleaning). Our high-tank toilets, while giving the feel of yesteryear (and a favorite of guests) are, in fact water saving, as are our showerheads. 

LAUNDRY: We ask our guests to let us know when they need clean towels.  We estimate that we save 4000 gallons of water each year, utilizing this green practice. 

GREEN FARM VACATION OPERATION: We ask our guests to help us recycle cans, glass, plastic and newspaper, both in our welcome letter and our “Everything you have every wanted to know about Weatherbury Farm and what to do during your stay” booklet.  All of our guest room furniture, kitchen cabinets, most of our bathroom fixtures and some bed linens (mostly quilts) have had a former life and are refurbished as necessary to be recycled for guest use. Our brochures and newsletters are printed on recycled paper.

Cloth napkins are used at the table during our bountiful farm breakfasts. We continually strive to cook accurate breakfast portions, while not appearing parsimonious. Old linens are used for rags, negating the need for paper clean-up products. 

Drinking water is tested annually for potability. An ultra-violet light is used to kill bacteria.  Bottled water is provided for guest use.

Smoking is not permitted in any buildings, thus reducing a major source of indoor air pollution. No animals are allowed in the guest rooms thus eliminated dander and saliva as biological contaminants. A basement dehumidifier and exhaust fans vented to the outside from the kitchen, bathrooms and clothes dryer eliminate much of the moisture where biological pollutants thrive. 

RECYCLING: Although we live in a community, which does not support recycling through garbage collection, we continue to recycle our newspaper, glass, plastic and metal at a local centers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. We continue to recycle plastic on the farm in a number of innovative ways. Plastic milk and soda containers are saved to be used as starting containers for seed planting and asexual plant propagation.   We also shred much of newspaper and junk mail for bedding for our chickens. Newspaper is also used to make pots for the seed which we start.

We also have recycled orange juice containers, having made a Christmas tree out of 250 of them.  Our food waste goes to our garden compost pile. Used office paper is saved so “draft copies” can be printed on the reverse side. 

FARM OPERATION:  Weatherbury Farm Vacation uses neither herbicides nor pesticides in its farm operations. Weatherbury beef and sheep do not receive any growth hormones, antibiotics or other chemicals. Farm buildings are currently being re-furbished using salvaged materials. 

Weatherbury Farm is a sustainable working grass-fed beef and sheep farm and produces all natural grass fed freezer beef for sale directly to consumers. Certified organic grains (soft & hard wheat, oats, spelt, open-pollinated corn, emmer and einkorn) are also grown on the farm. We are striving to be a totally integrated farm composting our animal manure to fertilize our fields.

We feed our free-range chickens organically using grains grown on the farm. (These same eggs are collected during morning chores for the next day's breakfast.) Our goal is to heal the lands we farm which have been stripped of nutrients (with the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides applied before our ownership).

Flour ground from our certified organic grains is used to prepare breakfast pancakes.

GARDEN AND GREENHOUSE OPERATION: Our gardening, both vegetable and flower, is done on an organic basis. Plants that attract beneficial insects have been researched and are continually being added to our plantings. In 2008, we increased the size of our garden by 50% and planting beneficial flowers among the vegetables. In 2010 we increased our garden again -- this time by nearly 90%.  We added two additional annual vegetable beds and three beds that will be used for perennial vegetable and fruits. Our ducks and geese have the run of the farm (and the garden pests). Our guinea fowl are particularly helpful in controlling our tick population.   The garden itself is surrounded by electric fence netting to keep our sheep and goats out of the garden (sheep & goats are particularly fond of brassicas -- especially brussel sprouts!). Our goal is to organically raise the vegetables for our farm vacation guests' breakfasts and to feed our family.

In April 2010, we built a small 6' x 8' greenhouse which is being used to start plants for both the vegetable garden and the ornamental gardens around the farm.  We are managing the greenhouse using organic principles. Eventually we hope to build a larger greenhouse.

Each year we replant a portion of the banks along our road with flowers and shrubs which are favored by wildlife; the plantings also reduce erosion. 

SWIMMING POOL: Our swimming pool is maintained using a chlorine-free silver-ion exchange system with chemicals being used only in extreme situations.  The Pool is open from memorial day to labor day.

 

Home       About Weatherbury Farm      Lodging       Activities       Media Accolades
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News:      What's New at the Farm      Awards       Publications    Green Tourism @ Weatherbury

Weatherbury Farm
1061 Sugar Run Road
Avella, Pennsylvania 15312

phone: (724) 587-3763

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(Our email address is info@weatherburyfarm.com and we do answer all emails -- if you don't hear back from us, either your email or our answer has been lost in cyber space.)

www.weatherburyfarm.com

a kid friendly family farm stay vacation destination; far from the madding crowd, in the country, just 45 minutes southwest of Pittsburgh, PA -- fun & educational

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