Thanks to the Farm of Many Faces!
It is 10 years since I first strolled down Pure Meadows Lane in Swoope, Virginia. If you don’t know, this is the home of Polyface Farms and the extended amazing Satalin family that make it run.
This occurred to me on my return trip home from the 6th Rogue Food Conference this past weekend. It was this immense rush of emotion, nostalgia and the utmost gratitude. As will be laid out in this blog, I owe a great deal of gratitude and thanks to the Salatin Family—especially Joel, Teresa and Daniel.
The Farrow origin story really goes back much further that the epic sunburn of 2019. In 2012, I was introduced to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Later that year, was asked to cook recipes at a fundraiser to benefit the organization. This event was to be held in Staunton Virginia—with a day out at Polyface.
Would return again to 2016 to take a deeper dive into the inner workings of Polyface and dig a bit more behind the scenes. Learned about the Racken House, their saw milling, and how they processed chickens.
Later that year, I attended the Stockman Grass Farmer’s Pastured Pork School with Joel Salatin in Jackson Mississippi. May or may not have brought Joel some Tennessee Hooch to take home?
Mayfield Pastures was on the verge of launching and I reached out to Joel for a favor. We were getting cows and I desperately needed to see how the cows were managed at Polyface. In February 2017, I make another pilgrimage to Swoope to see the winter grazing operation (over 400 head managed by one young lady) and a closer look at pigaerator pork.
2018 rolled around and decided to sign up for the Polyface Farm Intensive. This was a two-day deep dive into the inner workings of the farm. At this point, I had over a year in the saddle of pastured meat production. It was also an opportunity to meet other like-minded farmers and would-be farmers from around the country. Daniel ran most of the intensive…it was fantastic!
Fall of 2020, made another trek to Virginia. This time, examining the abattoir that the Salatin Family were owners in. Was exploring the idea of opening an artisanal abattoir in East Tennessee. You may not know this, my day job is in commercial insurance. Most of my work is around food—shocker. Joel was kind enough to invite me up, amidst the pandemic, to tour their facility and offer up my opinions on loss control and see how we might bring premiums down. You can always spot a grass-finished beef carcass in the cooler. Was so easy spotting Polyface meat as it aged. Darker meat and a deep yellow fat signify more nutrients and flavor. It’s hard to describe the emotions that come over you when you set foot on the Salatin’s farm. Polyface exudes beauty, nature, hard work, family, community and God’s goodness. When you add Amos Miller (not pictured) and Representative Thomas Massie to the mix, it’s nothing short of magic. There I was, a decade had passed since my inaugural visit. Returning to Polyface as a founder of Farrow and a sponsor/supporter of this amazing conference.
Polyface and the Salatin family have been so incredibly generous to me and the land healing community, at large. They have shared their time, talent and treasure with the world.
Farrow is built on the foundation of raising healthy animals in cooperation with nature. Building soil and using nature’s model as a template for ecological abundance. If you haven’t scheduled your visit to Polyface, don’t delay. This is the way we feed our community, restore our soils and develop multi-generational careers in growing food.