Our animals are also “farm workers” they each play a vital role in the ecology of our farm. Through our rotational grazing system one type of animal follows another. For example, sheep may start on one piece of pasture, followed by pigs, followed by chickens, with rest period between each. In this way all of our animals get high quality forage, they never see the same piece of ground twice in one year which breaks the cycle of parasites. We get mowing, fertilization, pest and weed control. It’s win-win system but has taken time to figure out the minutiae involved to make it work. It’s an ever changing dynamic too. Since weather can change what type of forage is available in different places on the farm it can be kind of like a dance…hopefully a beautiful ballet!
While we USE many animals on our farm, we rarely have any to SELL.
We no longer raise any poultry or hogs. If you want to find some locally raised chicken you can try…
- The Food Farm, in Wrenshall MN <https://foodfarmcsa.wordpress.com>
- Terri & Mark Thell, contact them to pre-order….email: <4quartersholding
@gmail.com>, phone: 218-384-3878
- The Minnesota Grown statewide directory
Let them know we sent you!
We added Lulu & Grass (mother & daughter, respectively) to our farm in fall of 2013. These two chocolate colored Shetland Cross Bred Sheep taught us a lot in this first year…like they really DO jump/hop like the cartoon sheep. They are a very hardy and smaller breed which was good for the winter of 2013 which was the snowiest and coldest on record.
In summer 2014 we added 5 more ewes; Willow is a purebred white Shetland; Abby & Maple (sisters) and Saint Paul are a “Clover Valley Cross” developed by a friend of our for lamb production as is our sweet ram lamb Babyface. All the ewes were bred on Dec 6th or shortly thereafter, Babyface was busy. The ewes are “showing well now and we expect April lambs!
Our herd will produce wool, which we have already begun to use to make beautiful felted soaps (see our Online Marketplace) and sculptural objects . As of 2019, our herd is in beyond the growth stage and now at a stable size of at 8-9 ewes and one ram. With spring lambs we have a working flock of 20-25 sheep annually. We sell wool roving & batting and tanned hides. You can watch for those on our Products website or find us at markets & events! We are NOT taking on new customers for lamb meat.
We added meat rabbits to our operation in 2018 and are happy to offer them direct to consumers at farmers markets and through the Whole Foods Coop in Duluth. We have numerous recipes on our website and you might find that once you try them you eat less chicken! You get more meat per lb. than which chicken because rabbits have more meat and smaller bones per lb. It is a lean and very high quality meat. We also “graze” our rabbits in open bottom cages during the growing season…like a “chicken tractor” but for rabbits. The grazing makes the rabbits happy and their meat is certainly more delicious as a result!
Jeff started bee keeping in 2013. They went into the fall with a nice store of honey, but the terrible winter got the best of them. Even folks who are really good at overwintering bees in Minnesota lost them last winter! For 2015, Jeff will be starting up two new hives…very exciting!
The new colony arrived in March and they have been doing fabulously. We have greatly expanded our pollinator habitat using both native and cultivated flowers to support them through each part of the season. Right now they are LOVING the Borage, Sunflowers, and Milkweed.
We use our own honey in our vinegars and the beeswax in our soaps and salves (see our Online Marketplace).