Autumn Olive Farms
|Address:|| 1100 Rockfish Road
Waynesboro, VA 22980
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Autumn Olive Farms is a family owned farm located near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Augusta County, Virginia. The property consists of about 90 acres, plus additional partner farms nearby. It is owned and operated by Clay and Linda Trainum and their grown children. Foodwaze has visited the farm and compiled a detailed description under the Details tab.
• What They Do: Autumn Olive Farms primarily raises heritage breed pigs, including the Ossabaw, registered Berkshires, and a cross called the Berkabaw. They have also at times raised Boer Bok goats, and they partner with nearby farms to market grass-fed lamb.
• Regenerative Practices: The farm is a testament to the principles of regenerative agriculture, faithfully meeting the standards we set for listing on Foodwaze. Their animals live, breed, and forage in the woods around the property, eating a natural diet of nuts, berries, roots, and acorns. They are supplemented with npn-GMO feed. The Trainums are outstanding stewards of the land and manage their animals diligently, rotating them to ensure natural regeneration of the forests and vegetation.
• Certifications: None
Consumers cannot buy direct from Autumn Olive Farms. Their pork is mostly available at numerous restaurants around the region. It can be purchased directly through JM Stock Provisions, a butcher shop with locations in Charlottesville and Richmond. Click on the Places tab to find the locations where AOF pork can be found.
Autumn Olive Farms is a family property where Clay Trainum grew up. He moved away and raised his family elsewhere. He and Linda returned in 2005 in an effort to reclaim their health which had deteriorated from mold exposure at their home in North Carolina. They made farming a full-time occupation in 2010.
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A visit to the farm and discussion with Clay Trainum.
• The use of other research about the farm and its practices.
Autumn Olive Farms is a heritage breed pork farm located in the Shenandoah Valley near Waynesboro, Virginia, 45 minutes west of Charlottesville. The mountains surrounding the farm afford some spectacular views, but it’s the soil that delivers great pork.
Soil is the focal point for all sustainable, regenerative farmers, whether they’re growing produce or raising livestock. And Clay Trainum is no different. He and his wife, Linda, own Autumn Olive Farms (AOF, for short), and run it with their three grown boys.
Foodwaze has had the privilege to visit the farm and learn first-hand about a place that is unflinchingly committed to transforming the future of our food system. Happy, friendly pigs roam a good part of the 90-acre property, scampering away from visitors like playful school children, only to stop and turn around with curiosity. Some come waddling back for a little back-scratch from their owner.
Most of these are known as Berkabaw pigs, a unique cross between the rare breed Ossabaw and heritage breed Registered Berkshires. They forage around the woods eating roots, acorns, nuts, grapes, and berries. This includes the little red berries from the autumn olive plant. It is, of course, how the farm gets its name, but it’s not altogether celebrated by the Trainums. It’s an invasive plant, native to Asia, and if the Trainums don’t watch out, it will overtake their property, just as it already had when they arrived in 2005. Actually, the more precise phrase would be “returned in 2005”... at least for Clay Trainum.
This was his parents’ property - a working farm - and he grew up here. Farming didn’t have much interest for him as a career, so he moved on to other things. His family eventually landed in North Carolina, where they lived for many years, and unfortunately developed some health problems from mold exposure. AOF was born out of a desire to reclaim their health by consuming real, naturally, raised food.
After extensive research, the Trainums chose to raise the Ossabaw Island Hog. They are related to the Spanish Ilberico pigs and are renown for their succulent taste, high levels of Vitamin D, and a fat content rich in Omega-3s. In tandem with the pigs, they initially maintained a large herd of Boer Bok goats, whose job was to feast on the farm’s overgrowth and help the Trainums revitalize the land. It was all initially a part-time endeavor for the Trainums, but when they heard from chefs how exceptional their pork was, they decided to make the farm a full-time occupation in 2010.
There are really two key components they attribute to the caliber of their operation: terroir and genetics. Terrior is a French word often used in the wine industry. It describes a wine’s ability to reflect the taste of the earth in which it grew. Forested hogs are no different, and the Trainums believe the terroir of their property at the foot of the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains provides a unique blend of taste, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that is difficult to imitate elsewhere.
Genetics means staying committed to raising an animal most suitable to its environment, despite the temptation to take short cuts by “purchasing in” some cheaper substitutes here and there. The Trainums have done nothing of the sort; on the contrary they have strived for quality without sacrificing honesty and integrity. That is clearly apparent from talking to Clay Trainum and witnessing what he does... and what he is seeking to achieve.
Perhaps that’s best exemplified by his partnership with some friends up the road in breeding a pig that produces exceptional pork... once again based on terroir and genetics. That farm is the Patterson’s Farm, and although they forged their breeding alliance in 2011, the foundation was established many years before. Foodwaze has had the opportunity to visit this farm as well. It’s a place where Clay Trainum spent many days as a kid, drinking fresh milk right from the dairy cows that were once on the property. Today the farm is all about pigs. It’s a flurry of activity with the Registered Berkshires running around in the shadow of the towering Blue Ridge Mountains to the east.
The Berkshire dates back hundreds of years to the shire (now known as a county) or Berks in England. It is a very docile, friendly pig and helps “mellow” the more aggressive Ossabaw when they are bred together. The Pattersons are committed to keeping their lines pure, as they have since the 1920s, and never purchasing pigs from outside the farm that could dilute the lineage. They also grow their feed right on the farm, which consists of a variety of Non-GMO grains.
All breeding between the Berkshires and the Ossabaws is done at AOF, and the Trainums let the piglets wean naturally and live their lives as true to nature as possible. In addition to foraging in the woods, the pigs have access to free-choice feed, consisting mostly of barley. They can take cover in spacious A-Frame shelters scattered around the property and bedded with thick layers of hay.
Ten years after starting AOF, it continues to be a work-in-progress for the Trainums. They are still clearing out invasive plants and striving to foster more balance among the various species of grasses, plants, and trees. They are also trying to pinpoint the most optimal number of pigs to carry on their land... one that allows them to make a living without destroying the soil that makes their farm successful. In essence, the work of a regenerative farmer is never complete, and speaks to the true essence of regeneration.
AOF pork products can be found at a number of restaurants in the region, as well as at JM Stock Provisions, with locations in Charlottesville and Richmond. Click on the Places tab to find a full list of Places where AOF pork can be found.
Autumn Olive Farms products can be found at these Foodwaze verified locations:Norfolk, VA Commune - Norfolk Richmond, VA Southbound Heritage Shagbark JM Stock Provisions RVA Belmont Butchery Harrisonburg, VA Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza Local Chop & Grill House Joshua Wilton House Charlottesville, VA JM Stock Provisions Fleurie Threepenny Cafe Rapture Staunton, VA LUNdCH FOOD Zynodoa Washington, DC The Pig 1789 Lexington, VA The Red Hen Virginia Beach, VA Commune - Virginia Beach Alexandria, VA La Fromagerie