Local farm harks back to simpler times

Local farm harks back to simpler times

July 17th, 2013 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

Jarrod Winkler of Simpler Times Farm sells a carton of eggs to Signal Mountain resident Amy Meller.

Photo by Emily Crisman

Amanda Winkler is unable to drink dairy milk, but her husband Jarrod got her to try the milk from their goats at Simpler Times Farm, and now she drinks nothing else.

"I only like his goat's milk," she said.

"It's better than anything you get at the store," added her husband.

The Winklers began to change their lifestyle and eat healthier about four years ago.

"We've always been fairly healthy, but the more we thought about it, the more we wanted to stay away from chemicals and genetically modified foods and go back to the way things used to be," Jarrod Winkler said, adding that the desire to return to "simpler times" was the inspiration behind the farm's name.

The couple started gardening at their home on Flat Top Mountain and acquired some dairy goats, then added chickens to the farm last year.

Jarrod Winkler works for a tree service by day and farms on the side.

"It's a peaceful way to get away from the day to day," he said of farming.

"We eat healthy, so we like growing our own food," said his wife. "You know what you're getting that way - it's peace of mind."

They started selling their eggs, milk, produce, cheese and baked goods at the Signal Mountain Farmers Market last year. While many farmers attend several markets around town, the Winklers only sell their goods on Signal Mountain.

"The goats are his babies and the chickens are my babies," said Amanda Winkler.

They currently have 34 chickens, plus seven full-grown goats, two yearlings and 17 baby goats born in April.

Simpler Times' eggs come from free-range chickens fed with organic feed, said the couple. The eggs go so fast at the market that customers sometimes call Jarrod Winkler to reserve a carton or two, he said.

Their goat milk and cheese are only available through a herd-share program, because direct sale of those products is illegal, he added.

"We always have samples of milk and cheese," said Jarrod Winkler.

Each week, he and his wife bring at least three different types of baked goods made fresh that day. Options may include homemade bread, dinner rolls, carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies, granola bars, banana bread or pumpkin bread. The couple also offers pancake and biscuit mixes.

"We always bring something gluten-free," Jarrod Winkler said, adding that all breads are baked with organic grains and as many other organic ingredients as possible. "We also offer special orders if someone wants a particular baked good."

He asks for at least a week's notice for all special orders.

The Winklers' garden is late to sprout this year, he said, so the farm is not currently offering produce at the market.

The Signal Mountain Farmers Market is held at Bachman Community Center, 2815 Anderson Pike, Thursdays from 4-6 p.m.