River Oak Farm
|Address:|| 173 Woodson Road
Lowesville, VA 22967
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There are no set hours for this farm. To buy direct please call first.
River Oak Farm is located about an hour south of Charlottesville and is run by husband-and-wife team Adam Aucoin and Cassy Kelly. Foodwaze has had a chance to visit their farm. Here is an overview of the farm:
• Animals raised: Red Angus/Gelbvieh beef cattle, heritage breed pigs, meat chickens and laying hens.
• Living Environment: All animals are raised outdoors. The cows live in pastures. The pigs live in the woods and pastures. Chickens live on pasture and are protected from predators by electric fences. Laying hens have access to a mobile hen house.
• Animal Diets: Cattle 100% grass-fed. The pigs forage for nuts, berries, fruit, roots, and bugs, and are supplemented with non-GMO grains. The poultry also forage in the pastures and are supplemented with non-GMO grains.
• Grazing Methods: This farm takes the job of being stewards of the land to heart using regenerative principles. They maintain regular rotational grazing to ensure the animals are constantly moved to the best available grass and that healthy soil is built and maintained.
• Other Practices: There are NO chemicals, biosolids, hormones, or sub-therapeutic antibiotics used on the farm.
• Other Products in the Store: All products are from River Oak Farm. No other products are sold.
• While River Oak does sell their products direct from the farm, such as beef, poultry, and eggs, they do not have set hours, so please call first.
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A site visit
• Discussion with the owners, management, and/or staff
• Other research
With stunning views of The Priest, a 4,000 foot peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 75-acre farm is located in Nelson County, Virginia, about an hour south of Charlottesville. It’s a diversified livestock farm, sustainably managed by Adam Aucoin and his wife, Cassy Kelly. They bought River Oak Farm in 2013.
The two met in college in Montana. He's from Louisiana, but she hails from right here in Nelson County. Together they chose to devote their youthful energy toward the betterment of the world through sustainable agriculture. With the existing facilities on the farm suffering from age, they built a new house nestled in the woods. It sits at a higher elevation on Oak Hill, where it peers down at the pastures on the valley floor along Piney River.
Our initial visit to the farm in late Summer 2015 gave us a firsthand appreciation for their efforts. Adam Aucoin's laid back, soft-spoken demeanor belies an earnest commitment to produce better food for his community. This involves a lot of trial and error, particularly when it comes to raising chickens on pasture.
That's what Aucoin says he really wants to perfect and make the farm's specialty. True pasture raised chickens spent their days out in the fields, pecking in the grass for bugs and worms. But they also need shelter and fencing to protect them from predators like hawks, foxes, and raccoon. These shelters need to be portable so the chickens can be rotated to fresh pasture on a daily basis. He's been experimenting with different systems that give the chickens as much freedom to roam while at the same time keeping them protected as much as possible. It all takes tremendous care and dedication. So does the processing of the birds, which he does right on the farm to ensure they are treated with dignity right down to the final step.
Complimenting his meat chickens is a flock of laying hens, which also enjoy the benefits of pasture, with the comfort of a small portable henhouse where they can roost and lay eggs. River Oak also raises cattle on the farm. The mixed Red Angus/Gelbvieh cows eat lush pasture in the shadow of The Priest, so you might say they are quite blessed. The Gelbvieh cow is one of the oldest German cattle breeds. It is pronounced “Gelp-fee.” The River Oak cows eats grass their entire lives, and are rotated to fresh pasture at least once a day.
Pigs round out the family on the Aucoins farm. With expansive woods around the property, the pigs have ample opportunity to roam freely and forage for fruits, nuts, and plant roots. Sometimes, however, they roam too freely, so keeping them from getting loose is another challenge on the farm. Both the pigs and the chickens receive a Non-GMO supplement from Sunrise Farm, in nearby Augusta County. Sunrise Farm is listed on Foodwaze as well.
In addition to buying River Oak Farm meat at various Foodwaze places around Central Virginia, the farm also sells direct to consumers right from the farm. They don’t maintain regular hours so please call first.