Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by farmers in the past, before the drastic reduction of breed variety caused by the rise of industrial agriculture.
We choose to raise heritage breed animals on our farm because they have been bred for hundreds or thousands of years for health on pastures, flavor, docile temperaments, ease of mothering, and longevity. We also believe the act of raising heritage breeds aids in their preservation and biodiversity in our agricultural system.
We are doing as much as we can to build soil quality and life on our farm. Raising a diversity of animals on rotational pastures has been a big part of how we accomplish soil health.
Spring of 2016 we purchased four pregnant Red Devon cows from an organic farm in mid Michigan. They have all now calved and voila! We have a real herd of cattle.
Devon is a breed that was originally developed over several centuries on the southwestern peninsula of England. They were valued for the production of both high quality beef and rich milk. They have very thick hides which gives them better resistance to external parasites and tolerate weather changes and extremes of temperature. The breed also had the reputation as an easy keeper, able to thrive on rough forage. The Pilgrims brought Devon cattle with them to New England beginning in 1623. The cattle also went west, as Devon oxen were the draft animals of choice on the Oregon Trail.
They have since separated into two separate lines--Milking Devons (primarily used for dairy) and Red Devons (primarily used for beef).
Summer of 2016 we purchased our bull Charles, pictured above with Nate. He is a British White bull--and is so sweet!
The modern day breed of British Whites can claim direct links with the ancient indigenous wild white cattle of Great Britain, notably from the park at Whalley Abbey, Lancashire which was bought by Richard Assheton in 1553. From there the breed history intertwines with White Park Cattle until 1946 when they each formed their own registries.
They are known for :
- Gentle Disposition
- Naturally Polled (no horns)
- Fertility & Ease in Calving
- Efficient & Trouble Free
- Superior Maternal Instinct
- Excellent Milking Ability
- Growth & Hardiness
- Excellent flavor and tenderness
We hope that by crossing these two ancient breeds we will get offspring that have the best of both breeds! We have beef available at Market and at Argus Farm Stop on Liberty.
Buying cattle is an investment for the future. Thanks to our supporters:
Slow Food Huron Valley for a mini-grant to expand our herd
Janet Shenk and Family
Sandy and Warren Lada
We raise healthy and happy Berkshire-cross pigs on our farm. Berkshire hogs were recognized and prized for their eating qualities over 300 years ago in England. They have the oldest recorded purebred swine pedigree history in the US starting in 1875. We started raising pigs in 2013 and think they are awesome friends, tillers, fertilizers, and food.
Since we breed on the farm, there are ebbs and flows to our whole pork availability, though we usually can stock enough individual cuts to always have just what you are looking for in stock. Each fall and mid-winter we offer whole and half pig shares. Follow us on facebook or contact us if interested.
Our pork is available at our Farm Stand and often farmers markets we go to. We also usually have our pork available at Argus Farm Stop on Liberty. Check it out!
We raise Freedom Ranger chickens, a french cross developed in the 1960s. They are active, robust chickens that are suitable for free range, foraging and pasture environments and produce tender, succulent meat with more yellow omega 3 fat and less saturated fat than fast growing breeds.
We have chicken available a few times throughout the summer at our farm stand and markets.