Janette Ryan-Busch is the operator of Fae Ridge Farm in Iowa City.
Fae Ridge Farm
5140 Rapid Creek Road NE
Iowa City, IA 52240
While I was visiting her farm a week ago, Janette gave me permission to cuddle some of her adorable Golden Seabright Bantam chicks she recently purchased.
Bantams are the miniature of the chicken family. There are more chickens in the world than any other type of bird, because people raise them for eggs and meat. Chickens feed on small seeds, herbs and leaves, grubs, insects and even small mammals if they can get them. Janette said the job of her Bantams on the farm will be to eat bugs and look cute for visitors. The eggs she sells come from her large chickens.
Janette is keeping the chicks in a cage with a heat lamp. For Saturday visitors, Janette had the cage in her store, where she sells dozens of homemade products, as well as tools for spinning wool and knitting.
Janette loves to spin wool and knit! She shears her sheep, spins the wool, then makes everything from scarfs to hand puppets to sell in her farm store.
You must visit her farm! You will be amazed by all the wonderful products she makes! The farm is open to the public every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Janette even teaches wool spinning classes. The classes are $65, and that price includes rental of the spinning wheel – so you can take it home and practice!
One of my favorite items is the stick horse.
Outside in the fields, I was able to visit the sheep and lambs who provide Janette with her wool. The sheep and lambs are shorn every six months. Janette prefers to keep her sheep family small. The young males are eaten by the family or sold for meat, while the young females are either kept on her farm, or sold to a different farm that want to raise long-fleeced sheep for wool.
I also visited the rabbits, who main job is to be cute, just like the Bantams! The rabbits also have the job of eating garden leftovers.
Since it was a cold, windy day, I didn’t stay outside long enough to get a photograph of her llama “Aldo,” named after the great conservationist Aldo Leopold. Fae Ridge Farm is famous for Aldo, and for the herbs Janette grows and sells to stores and restaurants in Iowa City, such as the New Pioneer Co-op and Atlas Grill.
Thanks, Janette, for running a beautiful, interesting and viable sustainable farm in Iowa City!