Our sheep are a hearty breed developed by Janet McNally at Tamarack Lamb and Wool. They are Dorset/Ile de France crosses, we also have a few North Country Cheviots. They have been bred to thrive on grass and forbes, with no grain, to lamb on pasture and take care of their own lambs, and to be hardy through long, cold, northern winters. We manage them using rotational grazing, moving them every 1-3 days to fresh pasture and allowing each paddock a long rest after being grazed. Our ewes have their lambs in May-June, and we have 100% grass-fed lamb for sale starting in December. This year we have about 60 breeding ewes, about 40 younger ewe lambs who will be bred next year, 2 rams, and are hoping for 80-90 lambs!
We raise pigs throughout the summer and fall for slaughter in late October and November. This year we will raise about 25 pigs, all of them mixes of different old breeds. Most of them will be at least part Mongalitsa, an old Hungarian lard hog prized for its flavor and good fat. The pigs spend the summer in the woods and pasture around our farm, eating a mixture of organic grain while foraging and rooting. They also help us clean up the waste from our vegetable fields. We'll have pasture-raised pork available starting in November.
We raise Freedom Ranger chickens, a breed that does well on pasture while putting on lots of good meat. The are fed a mix of organic grains, live outdoors as soon as they are fully feathered, and spend their days pecking around for bugs and seeds.
We also raise turkeys for Thanksgiving, which also live out on pasture and in the woods. We raise a mix of heritage breeds as well as broad bronze breasted turkeys, which grow a little larger than the older breeds.
We grow about 5 acres of potatoes, winter squash, carrots, beets, radishes and turnips, mostly for winter storage. Nearly all the veggies we raise become part of Shared Ground Farmers' Coop CSA shares. The rest go to restaurants and other wholesale accounts around the Twin Cities, and few are sold right on the farm at our farm store! We are in the process of certifying organic for the 2015 season, and never use synthetic fertilizers or any chemicals in our fields.