Butte Mountain Farm
Contact: Carolyn Boyd
Address: 17336 Butte Mountain Road Jackson, CA, 95642
Email Address:
Phone: 209-223-4814
About Us
Butte Mountain Farm is located 3 miles east of Jackson at about 1800 ft elevation. Most of the land was cleared decades ago for cattle grazing. No sprays, herbicides nor pesticides have been used here. Before 1997 I would venture that nothing was used either because it was grazing land.

The Farm is a “diversified small farm.” We raise vegetable crops, chickens for eggs and meat, sheep for wool and meat, nursery plants: vegetable and flower seedlings, culinary and medicinal herbs. Sometimes there are small flower bouquets available. We have dried herbs, dried fruit, beeswax candles, sheep fleeces and yarn for sale.

The farm is Certified Naturally Grown both for the produce grown and the livestock raised here. The soil is nurtured by tilling under cover crops, and manures from both the chicken and sheep operations.

Chicks arrive as day-olds from the hatchery and start out on a certified organic, soy-free chick starter. The chickens have two areas; there is a brooder coop with a yard for them when they are young. When they begin to lay they are moved to the hen house. Each group in the hen house has a inside coop about 8 x 20 ft where they eat, find nest boxes and roost for the night. Their day yard is about 200 x 200 ft and often they get let out of the day yard into the wide world. There are predators of every kind waiting to have a tasty chicken dinner, so complete freedom is only given under a watchful eye. Chickens are given feed from Modesto Milling, a cooperative mill that is certified organic by Oregon Tilth. They also receive wheelbarrows of greens & weeds from the garden everyday.

The Cormo, Cormo x Rambouilett and Merino sheep roam over about 30 acres of hilly grassland with wonderful oaks and pines. The sheep are grass-fed only. Their fleeces are extremely soft, the fibers having a very low micron count which translates into a very low “itch-factor.” Felters, hand spinners, and other artisans use the fiber in a variety of ways. Some is even sold to fly fishers to keep the line afloat!

Compost is made using manure from the sheep, chickens and sometimes the neighbor's cattle mixed with green plant material and dry grass or straw. Occasionally horse manure has been brought in to add to the mix. Manure may also be turned into the beds and then sit to decompose for a season before planting.

Compost is added to all beds that are being replanted and at times as a side dressing. The clay soil here is low in organic matter, and the major nutrients, NPK, so amendments are applied at each new planting. Only “home-made” or OMRI certified amendments are used.

Crops are rotated so that the heavy feeders (nitrogen lovers) go in first after the heavier application of compost. Then, fruiting crops, root crops and lastly a crop that gives back or helps build the soil, such as a legume or cover crop.

Seeds purchased are from mainly from organic stock. There are a few flower seeds that have been purchased as non-organic seed if they aren't available as certified organic. I also buy a few heirloom varieties that are open pollinated from Seed Savers' Exchange because I believe in the work they do. I grow most of my own seedlings. Sometimes we purchase a few new varieties from local producers who also follow organic growing practices.

I mix my own potting soil, based on coir fiber (cocopeat) instead of using peatmoss. Some perlite, homemade compost and native soil are also part of the mix. The water used is well water that has been tested and is safe to drink.

As mentioned above, crops are rotated to make best use of the nutrients and some areas are not planted each year. This also helps control diseases and pests. I continue to learn about planting cover and green manure crops and will increase my use of these techniques each year.