Blue Moon Acres is a 63- acre certified organic farm in Buckingham, Pennsylvania and Pennington, New Jersey. It is the result of Jim Lyons’ hard work and dedication for farming and agriculture and his willingness to change the way people eat and think about food.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Lyons at his beautiful Pennington, New Jersey farm to discuss his interest in farming, family and his philosophies on organic food production.
According to Mr. Lyons, food became an interest in the early 1980’s while studying ancient Chinese medicine and working in the natural food industry. He soon realized farming and agriculture was his true passion. Owning a farm that produces certified organic produce simply made sense, especially with the understanding of “how food effects not only how we feel but how we behave.”
But it didn’t start out that way. In the early 1990’s he purchased five acres “by rubbing two nickels together.”
It included a house in Buckingham, Pennsylvania, where they continue to live today. “The main goal was to put food on the table and pay the mortgage.” They began growing only micro greens and reached out to local restaurants in the New York and Philadelphia area and now locally in Princeton, New Jersey and New Hope, Pennsylvania.
He is not alone in his journey. His wife Kathy manages the micro green production. She also manages the herb production, which has resulted in a bath and body line. Eldest daughter Ashley manages all the marketing and social media for the farm.
As production increased so did the farm. Later on they acquired the Pennington, New Jersey location allowing them to grow a diverse selection of food crops ranging from tomatoes, peppers and squash, during the height of the summer growing season, to baby leaf, spinach, cole crops and even rice, which is dedicated to three acres.
All produce is sold upon harvest at their on-site market. Rice, on the other hand is planted in the spring and harvested late summer, cleaned and stored, allowing it to be sold later on during the season. In addition to being sold by the pound they are also made into rice cakes and are looking to produce rice-based pasta. They are in talks at the moment with Triumph Brewery to possibly use their black rice to brew a dark beer.
As the demand for organically grown produce increases so does the evolution of the process of growing. Lyons states that right now they are transitioning for the better through better soil management by creating their own soil and specialized compost. “When you really improve your soil health your plants are less disease and bug prone. It is the solution to the problem of world hunger. I don’t think genetic modification is the way to go. The same cannot be true for conventional farming where you become dependent on the chemicals you are using.”
For Jim Lyons, his family and Blue Moon Acres the process of growing organically has becomes easier through time and innovation.