Little Bean Farm & Larder

A vendor with Countryside Farmers' Market since 2013.

Farmland: Little Bean Farm & Larder is a market garden sustainably growing vegetables, cut flowers, and dried beans on less than a ½ acre in Chardon, Ohio. Our garden sits at the top of a hill with sandy loam soils and shallow sandstone bedrock.

People: Liz & Tony Calvelage. Liz spent five seasons working on organic vegetable farms in Massachusetts and Ohio before working deciding to build her own small farm. She loves growing vegetables and is excited to be learning more about cut flower production and design. While working full-time off farm, Tony finds time to be our chief mechanic and long-term planner. Our daughter Camille enjoys picking flowers, finding worms, and eating our tasty baby carrots.

Products: We grow an assortment of vegetables and cut flowers, selected for flavor and beauty. We especially love providing our customers with fresh and dried shelling beans. This season our dry bean varieties include Cannelini, King of the Early, Kenearly Yellow Eye, Flageolet, Marfax, and Black Coco. On our small scale these beans are a labor of love and our limited supply sells out quickly in late summer/ early fall. We love to provide flowers for small events and are happy to work with brides who are interested in local, seasonal flowers for their wedding.

History: Little Bean began as a joint venture in 2013 by two young women who apprenticed together on an organic vegetable farm. After a season learning hard lessons on rented land, we moved to our permanent home in Chardon and are enjoying putting down roots, establishing perennial beds, and building the health of our soil.

Soil: Our garden has well-drained, somewhat sandy loam soils. Though it had been a garden many years ago, when we bought the property it had been overgrown with brambles and small trees. Having been covered with leaves for many years, it is high in organic matter. We’re working to preserve this through mulching with hay and minimizing how much we need to till the soil. We supplement this natural fertility with a composted chicken manure fertilizer and have worked to correct our naturally acid soil with lime.

Water Use: We provide water for our crops with drinking quality water from our well using water-conserving drip irrigation.

Weed Control: We manage weeds through a combination of hoeing, hand weeding, mulching, reusable landscape fabric weed barriers, and have started to use UV resistant tarps for soil occultation. This is a process where the soil is covered to allow weed seeds to germinate and die before planting to reduce weed pressure.

Pest Control: We try to manage pest pressure by growing healthy, resilient plants, protecting particularly pest-susceptible crops with row cover, and only in severe situations use insecticides approved for Organic use (Neem Oil, Safe-R Soap, and Diatomaceous Earth).