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The 863 Magazine

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s you cruise along the curves of Lake Elbert Drive in Winter Haven, the homes you pass seem like those in any typical residential area. The homes have front doors facing the lake, circular driveways and well-kept front yards. Presumably, these homes also have the usual backyard, with perhaps room for a family dog or cat to roam freely. However, Scott Naugler and Samantha Longster’s backyard is anything but typical.

for 19 years, moved into their home on Lake Elbert Drive in 2013, after spending several years looking for a home on 10 acres of land to accommodate their dream of farming. They fell in love with the lakefront home, and scaled down their vision to the lot’s single acre.

The couple, who have been together

While many homeowners work tirelessly for lush grass, the couple removed the grass to make way for their backyard farm.

“When we moved in, the backyard had pristine St. Augustine grass,” Longster says.

Naugler and Longster have a passion for eating healthy, and envisioned farming as a way to eat fresh, as well. Thus, began the S & S Microfarm in their backyard. “We saw this as our practice farm,” says Longster, who is the vice president of business development for a vacation home company in Davenport. “Scott is a chef, and at the time, I was doing Iron Mans.” Naugler, who operates a food truck in the Lake Nona/Orlando area, found that it was best for Longster’s training health to cook for her. The goal of the farm is sustainability. Occasionally, items must be purchased from local stores to round out meals, but for the most part, all food items come from the backyard farm. “We grow everything ourselves and the animals are free range,” Naugler says. “There are no pesticides and no fertilizers used, except for what we get naturally from the animals.” Stepping into the fenced-in backyard from the house’s back door, one first notices the use of space. Nearly all space is utilized in some way for the garden. Large, reinforced concrete planters overflow with many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Two lush moringa trees cast shade with their

Because the chickens pick on them, the three turkeys in the Winter Haven backyard of Samantha Longster and Scott Naugler live separated by a fence.

nutrient-dense leaves and branches. Three young turkeys wander among the planters. “They were with the rest of the animals, but the chickens were picking on them,” Naugler says of the turkeys, gesturing to a gate past the planters, where 31 chickens, 10 rabbits, one guinea fowl and two goats live free range. With the exception of the goats, both Nigerian Dwarf goats, all the animals are intended for food. “Since they may be food, we don’t name them,” Longster says. “But, the goats are Cupcake and Rowdy, and they are dairy goats and not to eat.” A fence protects the plants from the animals’ nibbling on what’s growing. Such a barnyard menagerie may seem surprising within Winter Haven’s city limits, but Naugler says their farm abides by the three rules regarding farm animals: They are not for profit, the animals aren’t at large, and there are no complaints from neighbors. Continued on page 17

The 863 Magazine - July & August 2017  

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