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2015

Blog

The sisters crossed nursed and raised their piglets: I couldn't even begin to tell you which piglet came from which mother from the very first 5 seconds of life. They all spent the next couple of months nursing (lots of that), sleeping (lots of that), rolling in mud puddles, and playing in the tall grass. At one point they were with the sheep, cattle, and goats all in the same field and what a beautiful sight to see all species napping together under the shade. 

2015

MollyMike Peterson

2015. Here we are. Oh. Wait. It's almost May (when did that happen?!)...

I started writing this post in January to announce the new year but somehow we're smack in the middle of April already! So, let's see if I can smoothly pick up where I left off.

One of the exciting things about being self employed is the flexibility and freedom to dream and dream big! We're took January to plan and dream for the upcoming year and before we knew it the grass started to grow and calves started arriving!

Our (adorable) Rappahannock County is a little sleepier in January through March than the rest of the year so the farm store had less foot traffic - we've had multiple concerned "So, is everything going OK?" (you know, those ones when the voice gets a little quieter and folks move in a little closer...) questions - and our response, genuinely, is this: "It's great!". We've taken the extra time to have business and life growth meetings, catch up with peers, and find a little more time to spend together - not a bad thing at all. And with that time we were able to really put some fun things in to play. We were nearly as busy as we are in the summer! 

So what do we have coming up?

We started 2015 by heading down to visit our friends in Big Island, Va: the Colemans at Mountain Run Farm. We've all been trying to get together for years and it was so refreshing to spend time with like-minded, kind-hearted, and pretty phenomenal people and farmers. We don't believe in competition amongst our peers: there are many folks to feed and not enough of us pastured-based farmers to go around. It's encouraging to spend time learning from each other and checking in with how they farm and think, "All right. Feels like we're on the right track!". Our hearts left full and happy and we're fortunate they're in our peer group. Check them out next time your down that way; they just opened a beautiful new farm store.

We received a USDA micro loan to help us grow the business, too! Our lease arrangements are such that the landowners still own the breeding cows and then we purchase all calves at weaning. The calves usually head in to our meat production. However, thinking further down the line, we felt it was a smart expansion move to invest in our own breeding herd, too. We researched, visited farms, and found a handful that we're really excited to get started with. Fifteen of them come from the famous Lakota Ranch genetics so we have counted our lucky stars that they're practically neighbors and it was just a 30 minute drive to pick them up! The others were some beautiful Scottish Highland cattle to honor my Scottish heritage (and because they're pretty darn beautiful).

(continued below photos)

We had planned on breeding our new Mangalitsa pigs in June but it seems the boars had a little bit of a jumpstart (we thought we took them out soon enough) and it looks like we'll be expecting a couple of litters here within the next couple of weeks! If you haven't been following along with the videos of our boar - Halas - on Facebook you're missing out. He's quite a character and the females have just as much personality. We're pretty excited to have them joining us on the farm.

We're slowly growing a flock of ewes as well and have 3 little lambs on the ground (gosh, they're cute) as of today with a couple more on the way. We're also investing in a few handful of ewes of a new breed - Texel - that will arrive this summer sometime. It's fun having a variety of breeds on the farm and I certainly enjoy the diversity photographically!

In March we partnered with the local Griffin Tavern for a guest chef dinner where we got Mike back in the kitchen for the first time since 2009! It was a beautiful night! We couldn't have asked for more. Nearly 70 folks filled the restaurant and dined on a 4 course meal featuring local farms. We had customers come from Northern Virginia, family from the Midwest, and local guests, too. It was wonderful - even when I had to leave for a bit to drive back to the farm because the goats were out (yep....you read that correctly)!

We won a Slow Food DC Snail of Approval Award last month and we have updated the website with a NEW order form (finally)! It was a very long time coming and we really hope this is a good step in the right direction -- a little easier for everyone! I recently had several customers note they were surprised it is just Mike and myself running the farm and that is true. My mom, Suzee, whom you've met if you've been in the farm store is a huge help keeping the farm store going while we take care of the rest of the farm and business needs. We couldn't do it without the countless words of encouragement and friends lending a hand when they can but, who knows, maybe this year is the year we'll bring in some official farm help to really get this ball rolling!

In recent news, the farm store is moving! We've announced it {here} so I'll let you jump over there for more but we're very excited about the transition. Things seem to move fast around here but it's all good. We're still smiling and super grateful for all of the community support. We had some family in town recently and they asked, "Are the people here for real? Everyone seems so nice." It's true. We couldn't have landed in a nicer spot. Feels a little bit a'la Big Fish sometimes out here in Rappahannock - a touch of magic, a lot of beauty, and real people. It's for real - you can blink, it'll still be there when you open your eyes.

We're putting together our farm tour schedule for the year so please keep an eye on the newsletters, Facebook page, and our calendar. We do host school groups, too. We will try to work in some potlucks during farm tour days -- anyone else up for a farm breakfast potluck?!

Much of last year you may have heard rumblings (or physical evidence) of Molly being on the road a good bit of our growing season and that was certainly true. Molly and our peer/farmer friend, Forrest Pritchard, have a book coming to bookstores nationwide September 8! We hope you love it as much as we do and we especially hope you spread the news! Keep an eye on her website for more information about Growing Tomorrow: A Farm-to-Table Journey in Photos and Recipes - Behind the Scenes with 18 Extraordinary Sustainable Farmers Who Are Changing the Way We Eat and her other work: www.mollympeterson.com

2015 will be a fun year; we can already feel it and we know there is so much more coming that is starting to reveal itself that puts a smile in our hearts. 2014 was beyond our wildest imaginations and we know that 2015 has so much more in store that we haven't even anticipated. We're jumping with both feet off that ledge and into the vast unknown, but, well, it's all good - who knows where we'll land!?

Hope you're coming along for the ride....

Sincerely,

Molly & Mike