Starting a Family Farm in Vermont

Sugar is Stayin’, Pullets are Layin’, Barn is Raisin’!
July 21, 2006, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Chickens, Construction, Pigs

                                                                                                  There have been a few recent developments on the FARM over the last couple of weeks. The first is that our pig, Sugar, will remain on the farm. She was originally being raised for a neighbor for a pig roast. He has since decided that he doesn’t want her. I can honestly say we couldn’t be happier. She will now be kept to breed and her offspring will be used for pasture raised pork. She is so nurturing to the other piglets we just got and we can’t wait for her to have her own. With her fun personality and fantastic characteristics, she will make a great Sow.                                                                                                                                                                                  The second news is that our 45 Pullets ( hens before maturity ) have begun laying eggs. Our chicken headcount is 65. At full production that will equate to around 5 dozen eggs a day. Melissa started an egg delivery business several months back and we have been selling out weekly. This added supply will help us  meet our current demand.                                                                                             The last developement is the barn. All the rain has stopped and the foundation has been poured. This picture was taken several weeks ago. They have really been moving on the construction. I think we are probably 6 weeks away from completion. I will continue to keep everyone posted. —John 

The 4th of July….
July 5, 2006, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Pigs

The 4th was a busy day at the farm. I picked up 5 more piglets from Walter and Holly of Sugar Mountain Farm in West Topsham, VT. They are all adjusting very well to their new surroundings. In the group of piglets we got 4 males and 1 female. They are all absolutely loving Sugar and Sugar is loving them. We had planned to keep the little ones apart from Sugar, but when they saw her they broke right into her area so we left them there. They couldn’t be happier. When I checked up on them this morning they were all fast asleep, cuddling with Sugar. As the time nears for Sugar to be sold to our neighbor, it is a little difficult. Not only is she our first, and such a great pig, I know she would make a great sow to keep on the FARM. Our decision was made when we bought her. She actually was purchased for him and we need to stick to our plan. I will keep everyone posted on future happenings—– John

Barn or Ark???….
June 26, 2006, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Cattle, Construction, Pigs

This weather has been nothing short of horrible. The construction of the barn has been underway but there is no question that this rain isn’t helping us. We are using a talented local builder, John Newton, who actually built the home we are living in. Luckily we started the clearing for pastures when we did and they are finished. The logging was done by Will Crandall from Peru, VT. His crew did fantastic job. My wife Melissa and I did all of the electric fence work that would put a smile on Long Island’s finest —- Rose Fence.. The permanent fence work will be done by Springfield Fence of Springfield, VT. 

 As far as the animals go, we have moved what we have now to their new home located on Ridge Road in Landgrove,VT. It really was a sight watching Melissa walk our pig, Sugar, through the village of Landgrove to the new house. As most of you are aware from my previous blog, we are purchasing a Miniature Belted Galloway Bull, his mother, and are waiting for others to be born in July. We have also purchased 4 Lowline Angus heifers that we be pregnant when we get them. On July 4th I will be picking up 5 more piglets from Walter of Sugar Mountain Farm. If all goes as planned the farm should be in full operation by the end of the summer/ beginning of fall. I will be sure to keep everyone posted— John 

Sweet as Sugar
May 22, 2006, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Pigs

Mark and Sugar

Sugar Update—-

Sugar is getting big! She is our first pig and I guess she has that first child thing going on—-She is completely SPOILED.. We are raising her for a friend in town and we want her to be perfect. She is one happy pig. I must admit, pigs really do get a bad rap. These animals are smarter than most dogs, extremely clean, and a lot of people eat them on Sunday mornings with their eggs or pancakes. There goes that infamous question; “How can you raise her then have her butchered?” My answer is this, ( if you have read my previous Blogs, forgive me for repeating myself ) my family eats Bacon, as do many…I guess the Bacon in the store comes from something other than pigs. At least I know that Sugar is having a great life. I’m not 100% sure of the “grocery store kind of bacon.” Did these pigs live in Vermont? Were they Spoiled by the farmers that raised them? Did they ever see the sun? I only hope the answer to those questions aren’t all NO…..

“Life of a Pig”
April 26, 2006, 9:28 am
Filed under: Pigs

A Must Read!— The other night I was surfing the web looking up heritage breeds of pigs and came across a Blog that I found fascinating. Tamara Murphy really nails it! Her Blog, “Life of a Pig” chronicles the Life of Pigs, from their birth, to the table of what sounds like a fantastic restaurant. It is a true celebration of their lives. Start reading her Blog from the bottom of her page and Enjoy— John

Gloucestershire Old Spots
April 24, 2006, 8:36 am
Filed under: Pigs

More Pigs–Over the last several weeks we have been searching for a Heritage Breed of pigs that we can raise on our farm and breed as purebreds as well breed with the Yorkshires that we will be getting soon. We found Elysian Fields Farm in New York that not only has what we are looking for, but shares the same philosophies as us. The breed is the Gloucestershire Old Spot or GOS. The GOS is on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Critical List. When we started Asmall Farm my wife was really attracted to the Heritage Breeds of Livestock. After researching these breeds we discovered that they were actually exactly what we wanted. The GOS has the characteristics that we are looking for. Beside being extremely hardy and good natured they are producers of some of the highest quality and best tasting pork and bacon in the world. Our goal is to keep a GOS Boar (intact male) from the first group of 5 piglets we get. He will remain on the farm. We want to breed him to both, our top pick of theYorkshire Gilts (A young sow that has not farrowed(had piglets)) we are getting, as well as to another purebred GOS. The cross breeding of the pigs also produces fantastic pork…. Be sure to check back soon on other developments…..

Our First Piglet
April 17, 2006, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Pigs


Our First Piglet– Over the Easter weekend we visited Sugar Mountain Farm about 65 miles north of us. This is the farm where we are getting 5 Yorkshire piglets (feeder pigs) to raise for market. We just wanted to see the mothers-to-be, not realizing we would be driving home with one. Her name came immediately to my wife Melissa—“Sugar”. Sugar is being raised for a local friend whom we had promised a pig for August. She will raised the way all pigs should be raised…with Respect! Some people have questioned how we can raise an animal then eventually butcher it. My first response is ,”are you a vegetarian?”. You would be surprised how many people are Not. They just don’t get it! For those that are “Vegetarians”– eat no meat ( that includes chicken!), fish, eggs etc– I usually ask why.. The answer most times is that animals are treated inhumanly, its wrong etc. That is the exact reason why we are doing a small family farm. We want our livestock to be enjoyed by us and others while they are here. Free Range, Hormone Free, Grass, Organic, and Naturally Fed, Loved and “Rasised With Respect!” And yes they can have it all… John