What's in a Name?

I’ve been thinking about farm names.  One day I’ll have a farm, and I want it to have the perfect name, of course.  Maybe it’s kind of like a group of musicians trying to pick out a band name, or maybe like an entrepreneur crafting the perfect name for a new business endeavor. Maybe it’s like picking a name for a new baby–sometimes the name has been chosen for years before the child is born, sometimes it takes a few days to know the baby before the perfect name arises.  I bet choosing a farm name comes in many different forms as well–how do farmers come up with them? What is the significance behind a name?

I’ve worked on a few farms: La Finca de Lapas (Parrot farm) in Costa Rica, Little Sugar River Farm in Wisconsin, Spring Creek Farm in Alaska and Sun Circle Farm in Alaska.  But what about other farms? I’ve volunteered on a few: Pioneer Produce in Alaska, Calypso Farm in Alaska, Brown Dog Farm in Alaska ,and Blue Moon Community Farm in Wisconsin.

Welcoming sign for visitors at Spring Creek Farm in alaska

Welcoming sign for visitors at Spring Creek Farm in alaska

Recently, I asked my partner, “What was the name of your family’s farm?”  He replied that his farm didn’t have a proper name that he knew of, it was just known as the Pederson Farm.  It probably had a name for tax purposes, but he didn’t even know it, let alone other folks in the area.  I guess the idea that farms have names beyond the family name was kind of odd to him.  However, with the rise of small farming operations and niche operations, there seems to be a growing number of wonderfully named farms.

The name a farmer chooses for her farm is very important.  It is the first step in marketing her produce and in gaining familiarity in her community. I think this would make a very interesting research project, but I’ve just done minimal internet research into the naming game.

First, farmers choose if they want their farm to be identified as “farm,” “ranch,” “gardens,” or “acres” among others.  These are the predominant defining words for these farms.  Next, farmers describe their chosen tract of land with a few options:

1. Person’s Name or Surname

Many farms, like Evan’s family’s Pederson farm, are named after the current family operating the farm or perhaps the historical owners of the land the farm is on.  Spring Creek Farm that I worked on for a while is also known as the Kellogg Farm because of historical ownership.  This seems like the easiest naming method.  It seems to work best if you have a distinctive and easy to pronounce surname.  Wilson Farm? Maybe a bit boring…Blaszkiewicz Farm? a bit hard to say.  Mary Jane’s Farm?  Perfect.

2. Named After Location/Nearby Geography

This one is easy, too.  Chugach Farms in Alaska is named after the mountain range it lies in the heart of.  Talkeetna Grown CSA is in the town of Talkeetna, Alaska.  Gardens of Eagan in Eagan, Minnesota made great use of their city’s name in their clever title. Driftless Organics in Wisconsin is aptly named after the Driftless Area of Wisconsin.   

In this category, water sources seem to dominate: Spring Creek Farm and Little Sugar River Farm are named after bodies of water that are on or near the farm property.  When perusing through list of Wisconsin Farms, quite a few of them were named after creeks, rivers and ponds.

Little Sugar River Farm in Wisconsin

Little Sugar River Farm in Wisconsin

3. Modifier + Noun + Farm/Ranch/Gardens/Etc.

This method of naming creates some really fun names.  Many of you have probably heard of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri, what a fun-loving epithet!  What about Emerald Meadows Family Farm or Misty Meadows Dairy both in Wisconsin?  They are such a lovely and inviting names… My friend’s Brown Dog Farm is named after her brown dog, Oliver.  Arctic Organics Farm in Alaska doesn’t need any explanation!

4. Hidden Meaning

Calypso Farm, Amitaba Gardens, Pioneer Produce, Sun Circle Farm–where are these from?  Amitaba refers to a Buddha in one sect of Buddhism.  Calypso could refer to several things: the nymph in The Iliad, Trinidadian music or maybe the flower.  I’m not sure.  The farmer at Pioneer Produce didn’t choose the name, the land came with the name.  It probably refers to the large number of homesteaders that came to Alaska.  Sun Circle Farm refers to the sun circling overhead during the height of summer.  These names seem to hold special meaning for the operators, yet remain memorable and easy to say for customers.

Cabbage leaf hats are necessary at Sun Circle Farm with the sun circling high overhead!

Cabbage leaf hats are necessary at Sun Circle Farm with the sun circling high overhead!

Of course, there are MANY other forms of farm names, but these four categories were the most notable in my brief research.  What will I name my future farm?  Perhaps it will be Future Farm! Maybe Wilder Acres…or Fluffy Cloud Gardens.  Maybe I’ll end up next to the most perfectly named river that I cannot resist naming my farm after.  Maybe the farm will just tell me in its own sweet way and time.

Do you own a farm or have a favorite farm with the perfect name?  I’d love to hear it!

Until next time Farmgirls,

Sending you Peace and Love,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

  1. Margo Giunta says:

    We named ours Second Chance Homestead @ Prinzy’s Roc Farm. 2nd Chance comes from the fact that I discovered homesteading and Paleo at age 62 after a diagnosis of Diabetes, So truly a 2nd chance at a healthy life… Prinzy was my mother in laws name, and our ancestral homestead used to have an attached grocery store by that name; Roc is short for where we live..Rochester, NY

    Great Post by the way!!!

  2. MM Eagan says:

    My husband and youngest son had been to Africa hunting 3 times when a farm that my son has always loved came up for sale. We put pretty much everything we had into buying our farm. Since there would be no more pricey hunting trips to Africa after the farm purchase, they named it “Last Safari Ranch”

    PS we have a very large rock out front with the name engraved on it.

  3. Deb Bosworth says:

    I love the name Second Chance Homestead too! My husbands family named their farm Bosworth Farms. What a fun thing to dream about! You’ll get there one day Alex!
    love, Deb ( the beach farmgirl )!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      It is fun to dream about these things! I’m in no big hurry to start my own farm, but I know it’s in the not-too-distant future. Thanks for your kind words, Deb!

  4. Gail Willie says:

    Our farm name is For The View Farm…as you can guess the name is about our daily view of the horses and woods that surround our farm!

  5. kimberly says:

    It took us awhile to decide on a name for our farm. We tossed around all sorts of ideas for over a year. We are now Orchard House Farm. We have a small orchard in an area that once was all orchards. I’m also a HUGE Louisa May Alcott fan whose home is Orchard House, so it all works well.

  6. Joan D. Mcguigan says:

    We hadn’t moved onto our small farm for a few weeks when my husband named it Windy Knoll. I was tickled because I was mentally trying names without knowing he was, too. His was perfect! You guessed it. The wind blows (mostly) all the time here…that and it sits on a small rise above the road. We’re mostly retired, grow a big garden, can and freeze our harvest, welcome our 8 children and 14 grandchildren’ visits…as well as assorted wildlife. Blessings to you and your new baby. Peace and All Joy living the country life!

  7. Carol A Hagemeier says:

    We have been working on naming our place for a long time. You would have thought it would have come to me by now, since we have been here for ten years. Now it’s time to get serious I will be raising honey bees very soon. But it has to be just right. My husband came up with a name because of our brand, but I never liked Rocking Hooters and refuse to use it. Your post has helped give me suggestions to finally come up with something that represents us and our place, but represents the Hill Country of Texas. It has to be just right. Love names like El Rancho costa a plenty. So now I will work on the name and get back to you. Maybe even include a picture. Thanks so much for the suggestions.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Wonderful! I’m tickled that this post was helpful for you. Please let us know what you decide to name your place. I fully support your refusal to use “Rocking Hooters”! I imagine you might end up with some unwanted visitors while scaring away some folks, too. I bet the perfect name will come to you at an unexpected time. Can’t wait to find out what you choose. Best of Luck!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Well, we’re still looking for the perfect little farm but now we will be looking up near you (transferring to Anchorage – whoohoo!). Since my husband is quite the punster (a pun-ishing job for me at least), we already have a name: D’yoks Onu – same as our fancy but cheap chicken coop!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hahahahaaaa! I love it. Where are you moving from? Growing produce up here is pretty awesome/crazy with these long days of summer. I hope you enjoy it! Welcome to AK

      • Elizabeth says:

        We will be coming from Texas – I’ll be out at VA/JBER but will be checking into gardening classes etc for husband – can’t wait to get out of this heat! Love looking at all the gardening pictures from up there!

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