The Tonoloway Story
We are Tonoloway Farm, located on the rocky, wooded slopes of Bullpasture Mountain in Highland County, VA. We produce forest foods sustainably among the hardwoods of our Appalachian mountain home. These forest foods include syrups from our native trees: maple, black walnut and hickory, as well as mushrooms grown in the forest.
For most of our working lives, we served overseas on humanitarian assignments with the UN and the International Red Cross. Lauren is a data analyst and Christoph manages economic security programs and relief operations. Through a decade abroad in disaster and conflict-affected countries, we found that a community’s greatest asset is their bond and knowledge of place: what grows well, how ancestors lived, and how we must care for it. International aid workers can help, but real recovery comes through homegrown solutions. In 2014 we decided to search for our own place to set roots, finally finding our home in the storied mountains of Highland County, Virginia.
Tonoloway Farm is a dynamic forest farm, and we invite friends and visitors to join and learn with us. We initially came here with visions of frolicking sheep and pastured poultry. It didn’t take long to learn that the mountain will tell us what she wants. This is steep, rocky Appalachian hardwood forest, and the wild shows us what grows well here. Maples, walnuts, mushrooms, and wild fruits abound. Our aim is to grow more of what thrives naturally, while fostering diversity that supports sound ecology. Research indicates that temperate forests can yield double the productivity of grasslands. We aim to experiment, observe, nurture, and help the forests prove their case.