Starting a Family Farm in Vermont


Open for Business!! ——
December 15, 2006, 12:53 am
Filed under: Farming, Pigs

Hi all — This blog is to let everyone know that Asmall Farm’s Pork is official for sale. Our first sale was to a family in Londonderry, VT. Melissa has since spoken to the woman who purchased our chops and a fresh pork roast and she said, this is the pork she remembers eating as a child in England. I can’t wait for them to try our Heritage Pork (Gloucestershire Old Spots  and  Tamworths) which will be available in early to mid ’07. There really is something to be said for naturally raised, homegrown meats. Knowing everything they ate and how they were raised really makes a difference on many levels. First these animals were happy! I can’t tell you how many times I have jumped into their pasture and played with them, scratched their bellies, or just hung around with them at my feet. As far as their diets go, we are very particular about what they eat. Their diets consist of Green Mountain Certified Organic Grains and fresh vegetables. I receive hundreds of pounds of vegetables weekly from a variety of outlets. That’s it. No antibiotics or hormones. Whatever you raise this way, will result in an outstanding quality and delicious final product. I have had many inquiries about shipping our products. Currently I am researching the best possibly outlet for internet sales and shipping. I can say I’m sure the shipping is not going to be cheap but anyone purchasing directly from our Farm will receive wholesale prices. I would love to get some feedback from potential customers. I assure you that any purchase from Asmall Farm, is a purchase you won’t regret! Feel free to contact me at John@AsmallFarm.com . John



More Pigs —–
November 21, 2006, 1:29 am
Filed under: Farming, Pigs

 

Pigs are remarkable animals. It has been said that the only part of a pig you can’t use to consume is its squeal and it’s true. Today I picked up our first pigs from the butcher. We raised them on the Farm from 8 weeks old. It is amazing and not least unsettling to see the end result of these animals. When I got home I had a full “Asmall Farm” breakfast of our Organic Eggs and our Naturally Raised Organic Fed pork in the form of breakfast link sausages. It was delicious. From the 2 pigs I brought to the butcher, I received a little over 200 lbs of pork. It’s all frozen and has packed the new chest freezers I just bought. I think we are going to need a walk in freezer because we have some new araivals. 

 

Melissa and I love the Heritage Breed of pigs. I was able to buy 5 Tamworth gilts from the butcher whose Sow had them around 5 or 6 weeks ago. Unlike the GOS pigs we have the Tamworths are on the Threatened List. This means there are fewer than 100 annual registration in the US and the estimated global population is less than 1000. I think we will save the 2 gilts we like best and use them for breeding. We may wind up crossing the GOS with the Tamworths. Hopefully this cross will work well for us. —- John



I See SPOTS!!!!
November 5, 2006, 12:24 am
Filed under: Farming, Pigs

 

This morning I went to Lyndeborough, NH and picked up 2 beautiful GOS gilts. I got very lucky after putting an ad in the GOS Group on Yahoo. I received a response from David and Kathryn Schmechel of Bittersweet Farm. They had 2 Gloucestershire Old Spots  (GOS) gilts (immature female piglets) to choose from that are around 8 weeks old and are from different litters. We bought them both and they will become our Farm’s Sows.

Our Our goal with the GOS is to  breed them when they mature — Ely with the 2 new gilts (PiggySue and Charlotte) — and use their Male offspring for  Asmall Farm’s Naturally Raised, Organic Fed Pork — The Females will be for sale for other interested breeders.

 

The GOS are a heritage breed of swine that is on the ALBC’s critical list.  The critical list means that there are fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States and the estimated global population is less than 2,000. What does this mean for the breed? If farms such as ours don’t exists to breed them, they wont exist! It is a great feeling knowing that we are not only breeding these pigs for consumption but for the continuation of this breeds existence.  John



Welcome Elysia —-
October 21, 2006, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Farming, Pigs

 


Today was a typical day if you are starting a family farm… I woke up early fed the animals and was off to Elysian Fields Farm to pick up our Farms GOS Boar. I was thinking of a name because he will remain on the farm and it came to me on the 1:45 min drive to Sloansville, NY. Elysia — we will call him Ely for short. He is awesome. He is younger than his 3 cousins that we have now. Currently away from the other Old Spots we have 2 Yorkshire that are doing very well. They have around another month or so left here. One is already sold. Half is going to my brother in-law and the other half to a friend. The second will be used for family and cuts will be available for purchase.

In other news I was in search of a GOS gilts for our boar and found two! They are coming from New Hampshire and will be here in early November.

A representative from the state of Vermont’s Agriculture Department came last week to inspect where our retail store will be. Hopefully I will receive both my wholesale and retail licences from the state this week.

Lastly I will be posting Asmall Farm’s pork price list very soon.  Stay tuned for further updates —-  John



Farewell to Sugar —
October 18, 2006, 1:08 am
Filed under: Farming, Pigs

 

I’m sure people that have been following me are saying whaaaaaat? In a post a while back I stated how Sugar, our first pig, was staying on our Farm. We wanted to keep her as our Sow but after serious consideration we decided to raise and breed the Gloucestershire Old Spots (GOS). We have 3 GOS piglets on the farm now all of whom are castrated and will become Organic Fed, Naturally Raised Pork. This weekend I am going to buy a young Boar that will remain as our breeding boar.  I am currently in the market for a young Registered GOS Sow or a Gilt. Then we will be on our way.

Now, back to Sugar — Early this morning, I brought her and another pig we were raising to a Slaughterhouse in Benson, Vermont. This was my first experience with the slaughter of any of our livestock. I can’t say it was easy, but this is all part of farming. We are a family of Omnivores and to be able to say we raise our meat naturally, respectfully, and give these animals a wonderful life while they are with us is priceless! Many have asked how our children are dealing with it. I have to say wonderfully. They know that we raise livestock and when they eat pork, they are actually eating a pig. We don’t feel the need to hide from them that this was in fact a living and breathing animal at one point. The real question is how did it live, what did it eat, and was it raised by someone who actually cared for it the way we care for ours. I think the experience they are getting from this is fantastic and wouldn’t change a thing. —- John



Gloucestershire Old Spots Piglets —
September 23, 2006, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Farming, Pigs

 

Our newest arrivals joined the Farm this past weekend. The Gloucestershire Old Spots Piglets (GOS).  I got up early Saturday morning and drove to Elysian Fields Farm in Sloansville, NY and picked up the first of our Heritage Breed piglets. We got three males and they are something else! Besides being cute they are extremely friendly and trusting. I have already noticed a difference between the Yorkshires and the GOS. The Yorkshires are wonderful as well but when I got the piglets home it took them a while to adjust. We had to work a bit to gain their confidence as providers of food, shelter, and of course Respect. The GOS seem to be more friendly and less head shy. We do have the Respect of all of the Yorkshires now, it just took a little work. 

I arrived at Elysian Fields around 8:30am, and had a great time checking out Debi and Laurent’s operation. They were very nice and more than willing to help a novice in any way they could. Before I knew it, what seemed like 10 minutes turned into an hour and half . It’s so nice to have a conversation with others that share the same passion for nature, animals, and farming.  — John



Australian Lowline Angus —
September 14, 2006, 7:58 pm
Filed under: Cattle, Farming

   

Our Lowline Angus Cattle arrived last night! We got 4 heifers all of whom are bred for spring calves. They are great. Melissa and I became interested in the miniature breed of cattle last year. Since we want all of the cattle housed on our property the miniatures were very appealing to us.

Here are some miniature cattle facts — 

  • Cows and bulls measure between 36 and 44 inches at 3 years old
  • They are more docile than full size cattle
  • Consume 1/3 less feed and finish better on grass than full size
  • Ease of calving and great mothering skills
  • Diversified Usage – Milk, Beef, Breeding Stock, or Outdoor Pets
  • Fantastic quality of meat
  • Much easier on the land
  • Perfect for today’s smaller Family Farms.
  • Thanks again to Rod and Marilyn Hewitt of Dayspring Farm for all of your help! — John