Sweet Greens Farm
Sweet Greens Farm is a family farm located on a serene 65-acre property in southern Albemarle County near Scottsville. The farm is owned and operated by Jim Marzluff and Claudia Seixas. They grow an amazing variety of vegetables and beautiful wildflowers using ecological, regenerative practices focused on developing rich soil and healthy, nutrient-dense food.
This farm is a true testament to the values of organic farming. It’s a place where you just want to run your hands through the rich loamy soil and pluck ripe vegetables to munch right there in the fields. Surrounded by a sea of spectacular wildflowers, with an army of butterflies flitting through the air, the resounding peacefulness is as healthy as the food growing from the earth.
Soil is the foundation of any regenerative food production, and Jim and Claudia certainly make it their focus for the 2-acres they currently have under production. The biodiversity they foster through the mix of annuals and wildflowers attracts beneficial insects and keeps pests at bay. Beehives along the perimeter help foster pollination. As their farm grows, they expect to enhance its diversity through reforestation and planting perennial crops such as fruits and nuts.
Other ecological practices they adhere to include the use of cover crops, crop rotations, biodegradable weed fabric, row covers, and composting. They also aim to keep tillage to a minimum so as not to disturb microbial life in the soil. They never use chemical pesticides or fertilizers or synthetic inputs. As a new farm, it is not currently certified organic, as it’s a process that takes three years. But Jim and Claudia desire to go through the process as a validation of their efforts. They have experience with certification in their past work experience.
Claudia and Jim met in college outside Philadelphia. She’s a New Jersey native, and he’s from South Carolina. Claudia’s grandmother had a farm in Pennsylvania and Jim studied plant science in college, so farming seemed a natural fit. They worked at several farms around the country, and even at one in the Caribbean. Their first opportunity to run their own operation was at the Dirt Works Incubator Farm near Charleston, South Carolina. It was where they came up with the name Sweet Greens, which describes the savory taste of greens after the first frost. The name also underscores the contemplative spirit of this farm, embodied by Claudia’s mindfulness as a certified yoga teacher.
They searched extensively for a farm of their own and settled on this spot near Scottsville, which was formerly used to grow hay and graze cattle. A visit to the property makes it visually easy to understand why Jim and Claudia chose it. It’s just a short 20 minute drive from Charlottesville, and very near the town of Scottsville, which perches along the James River. In fact, a creek that’s a tributary of the James, bisects Sweet Greens Farm, and Claudia and Jim are hoping to one day farm the other side. They currently have two hoop houses and a green house, and in Spring 2017 they built a barn to facilitate their harvesting.