We own a 3 acre farm in Charlotte County, VA, where we've lived since 1993. We talked about having a better choice of naturally raised food sources, so starting in 2004, we decided to raise chickens for fresh eggs for ourselves, family and friends.
In the Spring of 2015, we decided to add heritage hogs for pork meat. Tim did a lot of research on breeds, natural nutrition for all our animals, and what was involved in processing the pork. In 2018 we decided to add sheep to our farm, so Tim did his research. In May, we traded a processed hog for 3 Katadin sheep. We got 2 ewes and a ram so we'll be able to offer lamb at some point.
We talked about possibly offering the pork and eggs to others at the Lynchburg Community Market. Thankfully in the Fall of 2015 we started selling at the LCM on Fridays. Then we got a permanent table outside on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We sold at the LCM up until Dec. of 2018. At the end of January in 2019, we moved over to Schewell Hall on the campus of University of Lynchburg off of College St.
We try to only raise heritage hog breeds. Their blood line can be traced back hundreds of years, without having been cross bred. It takes up to 8 months for them to get to market weight, at least 250 LBS. Their meat is known for it's rich and hearty flavor and distinct marbling. This is due to the shorter muscle fibers and the great distribution of fat throughout the fibers. If we can not find heritage hog piglets, we search for piglets with at least 50% of the heritage hog gene. There is a definite taste and texture difference between commodity hogs and naturally raised heritage hogs. It's highly recommended that when cooking the meat, that it is done slowly. This makes the meat very tender.
We raise Red and Black Star hens, which lay brown eggs. We also have White Leghorns, which lay white eggs. We chose these breeds because they are great producers of large eggs, year round.
The color of the shell has no effect on the quality & nutritional factor of the eggs. It is the genes of the different breeds that determine egg shell color. The diet of the hens i what determines the taste, nutrition, and quality of the inside of the egg. This is why we let our hens out everyday to forage on plants, bugs and rocks for at least 5 hours a day in the summer and 4 hours in the winter to ensure high quality eggs.
The pictures below are of all the animals we've had on our farm since 2015. We currently do not have any hogs on the farm. We have to fence in the last section of our field for the hogs because we gave the original fenced in acre to the sheep.
For more information on our farm and our animals, please check out our information page.