MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

July 29, 2013

Organic farmers dig in

— A bird chatters inside the barn where Cassie and Andy Herringshaw live.

The Herringshaws actually live in a travel trailer inside the barn. They built the barn shortly after they moved to Muskogee in February to start an organic farm.   

“We’re planning to build a house fairly soon, but we decided to build the barn first, so we could do a lot of our farming things,” Andy said.

“We built the barn with a lot of recycled stuff. The outside planks are flooring from 18-wheeler trucks. This used to be a drive-in theater, so the floor used to be a snack shed and projection house. The trusses are from a building Dad tore down years ago.”

The Herringshaws plan to build a house with straw bales, covered with stucco to keep the straw from decomposing, Cassie explained. Such houses provide ample insulation, she said.

The Herringshaws haven’t always been so close to the land.

“My grandparents had a garden, and I hated it back then,” said Andy, a Muskogee native. “My brother and I used to sell vegetables at a roadside stand in front of our house and passed our summers that way.”

Cassie grew up in Goltry, a community in north-central Oklahoma.

“I helped my grandparents a little with their farm, but neither of my parents were farmers,” she said.

Meet Andy and Cassie Herringshaw

AGES: Andy, 31; Cassie, 29.

HOMETOWN: Andy, Muskogee; Cassie, Goltry.

CAREER: Educators and organic farmers.

EDUCATION: Andy, bachelor’s degree in finance, University of Oklahoma; master’s degree in sustainable agriculture/economics, Iowa State University. Cassie, bachelor’s degree in zoology, University of Oklahoma; master’s degree in stream ecology, Iowa State University.

FAMILY: Andy has two parents, Ken and Vicki Herringshaw, and one brother. Cassie has a mother and stepfather, Carolyn and Rodney Redman; father, Scott Pierce, four brothers and a stepsister. They have a dog, Pepa, and two kittens, Nado and Canie.

HOBBIES: Andy enjoys bicycling, tinkering and alternative energy projects. Cassie enjoys playing guitar and reading.

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