Wolf Creek Farm
|Address:|| 4345 Wolftown-Hood Road
Madison, VA 22727
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• This grass-fed beef farm is located in Nelson County about 30 minutes north of Charlottesville, Virginia.
• It is run by John Whiteside and is operated to the highest standards of regenerative farming and animal husbandry.
• Foodwaze has had a chance to visit the farm and learn first-hand about their practices.
• The farm raises Red Devon and Aberdeen Angus cows, rotating them carefully on managed pastures throughout the sprawling property.
• Whiteside operates what’s called a “closed herd” which means that no calves are purchased and brought on to the farm.
• The farm is Animal Welfare Approved, and American Grassfed Certified.
• No grain is ever fed to the animals, no hormones are used, and the pastures are never treated with chemicals.
• Please read more about the farm under our Details tab.
Wolf Creek Farm is a sprawling, scenic farm located in the mountain foothills of Madison County, Virginia. This farm is entirely dedicated to raising 100% grass-fed and finished beef. Foodwaze made its first visit to the farm in July 2015. It is evident this farm follows the highest standards of sustainable animal husbandry, producing the healthiest beef for human consumption. The farm is Animal Welfare Approved, and American Grassfed Certified.
The property is run by John Whiteside. He is a self-described grass-farmer. What this means is that he manages pastures, optimizing their health and nutrition in order to produce the healthiest cattle possible. The process begins with the soil. Nurturing healthy soil, leads to rich pasture, which is then converted by the ruminants into an abundance of nutrients that are beneficial to human health.
Whiteside is a farmer to the very core. But as a Yale graduate and former corporate consultant, he stirs in a bit of a cerebral and business approach to his craft. He tracks the “rhythms” of his farm by computer, recording which grasses grow best in which fields at which time of year, and marrying that data with the reproduction cycle of his livestock.
Wolf Creek breeds Red Devons and Aberdeen Angus cows. The farm operates what’s called a “closed herd” which means that no calves are purchased and brought on to the farm. Since Whiteside bought the property in 2000, he has worked diligently to build and manage a strong genetic pool that is conducive to the ecology of his farm. A closed herd prevents the introduction of cows from a grain-fed herd, or those with genetic traits not suitable to the climate or the particular soil and grass on Wolf Creek Farm. This approach is critical for maintaining a healthy, sustainable herd for the long-term future.
The property consists of over 1,600 acres, with about 350 on the farm itself and the rest as leased property scattered nearby. With a herd of about 600 cattle at any given time, the expansive property allows for low density grazing. The herd is maintained in smaller groups, often by age and breed type. After each pasture is grazed, the herds are rotated to fresh locations.
Despite the scale of the operation, it’s clear Whiteside has a handle on every minor detail. He scans dozens of multi-acre pastures with more familiarity than most people have for their tiny front yards. His large herd is contemplated with individual recognition of each animal, exemplified when he points out from afar a cow that suffered an eye infection the prior year.
The property never uses pesticide, herbicide or synthetic fertilizer on its pastures. And the animals are never given hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics. The cows primarily drink well water in the pastures at gravity-fed stations. The property has extensive woods bordering the pastures with shade trees to keep the animals cool in summertime. In the winter, the cows feed on hay that comes only from the Wolf Creek property. In fact, it seems that summertime on the farm is as much devoted to maintaining the herd as it is growing, cutting, and storing hay for the winter. Whiteside makes this a top priority to ensure his cows are always eating “clean” food that’s indigenous to the farm.
Consuming food that comes from animals in the care of a person like John Whiteside is a goal we must all continue striving to reach on a more regular basis.
Wolf Creek Farm products can be found at these Foodwaze verified locations:Richmond, VA JM Stock Provisions RVA Charlottesville, VA JM Stock Provisions Lampo Pizza Threepenny Cafe Rebecca's Natural Food Fleurie Madison, VA Early Mountain Vineyards Yoder's Country Market Crozet, VA Greenwood Gourmet Grocery