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In the late 1980s, Debbie and Bryce Gonyaw bought 55 acres of wooded land in Danville, Vermont, and named it Deer Run Farm. While Bryce had been raised on a dairy farm, he never really cared for cows, so for many years the couple raised a pig or two for their own family’s consumption. But when Bryce and Debbie retired from the farm insurance business in 2001, they began increasing production and building a local market for their pastured pork. Today, they raise up to 675 hogs annually—and they’re still not able to meet demand for their high-quality product.
Leslie Farrington grew up helping out on her father’s vegetable garden in Canada. It became such a passion that, as a mother at home with young children, she took the first opportunity she got to start her own small farm.
Lilac Valley Farm started by producing a range of vegetables on just half an acre of land, before adding pastured laying hens in 2012. In addition to fulfilling her lifelong wish to have animals, having laying hens enables Leslie to be confident about the quality of the eggs she feeds her own family—and lets her share any bounty with her local community.
Laurie Cuevas and Bruce Jenks manage cattle for beef at Fort River Farm, located in the beautiful Pioneer Valley and near the Connecticut River. Being in a river valley, the farm is mainly level with rich pastures, providing for sustainable grazing and fertile growth of crops. Both Laurie and Bruce grew up on dairy farms in west Massachusetts.
Ever since a trip to the west of Ireland, Norman Cloutier and Wendy Ketchum dreamt of having a farm of their own with enough pasture to raise sheep. Their dream eventually became a reality when they purchased an historic 200-acre farm on top of a hill in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, with outstanding views of picturesque Mount Chocorua. The lone structurally-sound building left on the property was an old schoolhouse set on solid granite foundation stones, inspiring the farm’s name.
Charles and Ellen Olson of St. Brigid’s Farm in Valparaiso, Indiana, are first generation farmers. They purchased a small 200-acre farm during the economic downturn and began raising meat birds and laying hens, primarily for their family’s use. As a tight knit family with six homeschooled children, they decided to begin raising dairy goats, because the children love milk and cheese. But after attending Ken and Janice Spaulding’s Goat School in Maine, the Olsons developed a real passion for goats and knew they wanted to focus their attention on raising these animals. “At that point, we built a 19th century-style timber frame barn, fenced in pasture, and away we went,” recalls Charles.
Donald Everett, Larry Stoner, and their families raise Animal Welfare Approved dairy cattle at Apple Valley Creamery in East Berlin, Pennsylvania. Located in Adams County, an area well known for its apple orchards, the 83-acre farm was originally established in 1928 and owned solely by the Stoner family. Over the last few decades, Larry has witnessed countless other nearby small dairies convert to ever-larger industrial operations. In a noble determination to stay true to his roots, Larry has maintained the sense of local, accountable agriculture by which his family’s dairy farm was originally founded, while maintaining a profitable business. Farming against the tide, Larry and his family chose to sell wholesome, farm-fresh milk directly to local customers, rather than into the commodity market. However, this endeavor proved too large a task for his family to manage alone, so in 2005, the Stoner family decided to join forces with the Everett Family to found Apple Valley Creamery. After a year and a half of construction, the families opened a farm store in October 2006 to sell their milk directly to the public. In December, 2006, the farm expanded its operation by offering a home delivery service.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| February 27, 2013
Lee Farms is located one mile from Lake Ontario in the town of Kent, New York. Robert VanWuyckhuyse and his wife, CindyLou Lee, bought the farm in 1983. They decided to use CindyLou’s family name for the farm since Robert’s was too complicated!
Susan Eckhardt raises Animal Welfare Approved beef cattle at Brykill Farm in Gardiner, New York. The family-owned farm, just a two hour drive north from Manhattan, sits on 450 sprawling acres of organic pasture and woodland.
Carol Clement and John Harrison raise Animal Welfare Approved lamb, goats, and pigs at Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow, New York. Stretching up and over a small peak in the Catskill Mountain Range, the 160 acres of hill land have been farmed for over 200 years. Originally a dairy operation, Heather Ridge Farm is now a multi-species, pasture-based livestock operation which offers a wide range of products to local customers.
Bob and Tina MacCheyne purchased High Point Farms in Trumansburg, New York, in the fall of 1998 after looking for a small farm on a main road where they could grow their own food and perhaps start a farm business. They named their 48 acres High Point Farms after Tina’s father’s horse stables in Texas. In 1999, the family began a self-serve roadside vegetable stand, but after a couple of years they decided to decrease production to simply meet their own family’s need because the project involved so much extra work on top of their full-time jobs off the farm.