Smith Meadows Farm
|Address:|| 568 Smithfield Lane
Berryville, VA 22611
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Farm Store Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
Smith Meadows Farm is headed by Forrest Pritchard, a champion of regenerative agriculture who speaks widely on the topic and has written two best-selling books about it. Foodwaze has visited their farm and you can read a full description under the Details tab. Hdre is an overview of the farm:
• Animals raised: Beef cattle, Katahdin sheep, pigs, and laying hens.
• Living Environment: Cattle and lamb are out in fields their entire lives. The pigs and chickens also live on pasture. The chickens are protected from predators by electric fences and have access to a mobile hen house.
• Animal Diets: Cattle and lamb are 100% grass-fed. They’re provided stockpiled hay in winter. The pigs forage for nuts, berries, fruit, roots, and bugs. The hens also forage in the pastures. They’re both supplemented with non-GMO grains.
• Grazing Methods: This farm takes the job of being stewards of the land to heart. They maintain daily rotational grazing to insure 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. To supplement on-farm breeding they do buy in some cattle and pigs from nearby farms with high standards of care.
• Other Products in the Store: All meat products are from the farm. They also sell some home made goods they make in a large kitchen attached to the store. This includes pasta made with organic oat, unbleached wheat, and spelt flours.
Other things to know about this Farm:
• The farm dates back to 1816, when the property was first deeded to Edward Smith, one of the family’s ancestors.
• The historic name of the farm is Smithfield Farm, but it is marketed as Smith Meadows to reflect the modern-day approach to sustainable, grass-based livestock farming.
• In addition to the farm itself, the property is site of the Smithfield Farm Bed & Breakfast. Please click on the Related Places tab to connect to it.
• There is also an artist studio on the premises.
• Forrest Pritchard has written two best-selling books about his farm and about sustainable agriculture. They are: “Gaining Ground,” and “Growing Tomorrow.”
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A site visit, or visits
• Discussion with the owners, management, and/or staff
• Other research
Tucked in northwestern Virginia, near the West Virginia state line, this multi-generation family livestock farm is a model of sustainable, regenerative agriculture. They raise 100% grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as pastured pork and chicken eggs, using carefully managed rotational grazing practices throughout the more than 400 acre property.
The operation is overseen by Forrest Pritchard, who grew up around the farm in the 1970s, when it was in his grandfather’s hands. Over the ensuing years, the farm slid into decline in the face of hard economic times. Pritchard took the reigns in the mid 1990s, and soon discovered that the key to saving the farm was focusing on building soil through regenerative practices. He chronicled this journey in his first book, “Gaining Ground.”
Foodwaze has had the chance to visit Smith Meadows Farm and tour the property to learn first-hand about their amazing commitment to sustainability. As with any true, sustainable livestock operation, the focus at Smith Meadows is the pasture. Their’s is a grass based system, which means their objective is to grow and nourish healthy pastures. They do this by maintaining a low-density groups of livestock and rotating them regularly throughout the massive property. The pastures regenerate naturally from the animal manure that is evenly distributed and composted into the ground through trampling. No chemical fertilizer, herbicides, or pesticides are used on the property.
The herbivores are the mainstay of this system. The farm maintains a herd of about 170-190 beef cattle, mostly crosses between Angus and Gelbvieh, a German breed, as well as Herefords. In addition, they raise Katahdin sheep. The farm does not breed on the premise but works with other local farmers with the same values to buy in calves and lambs. All the herbivores are fed grass their entire lives.
Balancing out the equation are the omnivores - which consists of a mixed variety of heritage breed pigs - such as Tamworths, Berkshires, Old Spots, and Hampshires - as well as a large flock of laying hens. These animals eat bugs, roots, worms, and dirt in the pastures and are supplement with free-choice, locally grown Non-GMO grains. Free choice means the animals have free reign to feed off the earth, but can supplement as they choose from the grain bins. In addition to the livestock, the farm also maintains numerous beehives as a way to contribute toward sustaining the world beehive population which is so critical to our survival, but threatened by exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.
Smith Meadows Farm has its origins back to 1816, when the property was first deeded to the Smith family. The historic home on the property was built in the 1820s and now serves as a bed and breakfast, run by Forrest’s sister Betsy Pritchard. The historic name of the property is Smithfield Farm, but the Pritchards choose to change the name to better reflect the mission of the farm and avoid confusion with the factory-pig farming conglomerate by the same name.
In addition to B&B and the agricultural operation, there is also an art studio on the farm that showcases the work of Nancy Polo.
The farm store ,where products from the farm are sold, is open daily. You can also find Smith Meadows Farm products at numerous farmers markets in DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. In addition to their meat products raised on the farm, they also sell a variety of prepared foods they make in their commercial kitchen. This includes pastas, sauces, and soups.
Click on the Places tab to connect to their farm store listing and find our where else you can located Smith Meadows Farm products.