ROMNEY — Tony and Phil Eash from Triple E Farms off Jersey Mountain Road have received news that $250,000 will be awarded to their family farm.
The funding was awarded through the USDA Rural Development Program, which encourages economic expansion, with an emphasis on helping small, rural farms. Only one other farm in the Mountain State received the same opportunity – but only about a third of Triple E’s amount.
The Romney farm has been around since 2015, but Tony Eash admitted they only started to promote their products around 2019. In 2021, the brothers made a business plan to become sustainable within five years so that he and his brother could work on the farm full-time. Though they’ve helped maintain their family farm since childhood, their love for farming grew deeper with their father’s sudden passing of a heart attack.
With their father’s death, the Eash family started looking deeper into the food industry to better understand the correlation between food and health.
Through that process, they learned some displeasing truths, such as most companies using carbon dioxide to keep their meats looking “fresh” for longer. They also learned that many products claiming to be U.S.-raised or grown were actually purchased from different countries and companies.
“We are in the process of becoming certified regenerative,” Tony said of their different approach to farming. The family tends to pasture-raised pork, chicken and beef and sells other items like raw milk and cheeses.
The definition of “regenerative” has variations, and while the word gained tremendous popularity recently, the term “regenerative organic agriculture” was coined by Robert Rodale in the 1970s.
At its core, regenerative farming emphasizes soil health; maintaining harmony in restoring degraded soil biodiversity while eliminating the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides – all of which aligns with Triple E’s goal.
The Es in Triple E Farms stands for “environmentally enhancing ecosystems.”
It demands additional work, but it’s well worth it, the brothers believe.
“We liked it too much to quit, but we weren’t sure if we could make it a full-time thing,” Tony explained of the early process.
Both brothers have been maintaining full-time jobs to keep up with the expenses of the farm and their goal for expanding, but with the grant, they will be able to provide a slow relief.
“So, essentially, it kicked us a couple of years ahead,” Tony Eash said of the award, adding that the farm isn’t simply receiving a large sum of money.
“It’s a slow release; we have three years to spend it,” and a lot of it will cover shipping supplies and costs to further their reach.
Their efforts are paying off, and their drive for honesty remains intact.
Tony added that many farms in the states who advertise their meats as “locally grown” often buy the cheapest animal available to them, pay for the processing of it (or do it themselves), and just place their label on the product.
Tony acknowledges that Triple E Farms products can be out of the price range for some families here – their main customers are D.C.-based – but considering the higher nutrition content of their items, it’s not nearly as costly as the long-term health effects of consuming conventional farming products.
Triple E Farms has an open-door policy, meaning curious customers can request a visit to see how the animals live and graze and learn more about their agricultural practices. Orders can be placed online and shipped to people’s doorsteps via TripleEFarming.com, or they can schedule a pickup.
“Our first goal is to be sustainable where me and my brother can work full-time on the farm. We would like to get into agritourism and do some events here on the farm,” Tony said of the farm’s future.
“Our mission statement is to improve people’s health through quality meats.”
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