And it’s finally coming in! We’re so excited to be getting in a shipment of one of the best local meat and poultry producers in Virginia! Tomorrow afternoon on our shelves you’ll see Ayrshire Farm’s organic whole chickens and organic beef. Ayrshire Farm isn’t your standard Virginia farm, they’ve become one of the most respected and well known farms that the Old Dominion has to offer. Their meat was recently featured on Washington D.C.’s Top Chef season, better yet they’re only located 98 miles from our store and even Joel Salatin backs them! Click to read more.
The farmland dates back to 1821 and has been practicing pristine growing and agriculture practices ever since. Historic Ayrshire is unique in the region as a working farm that has met the 21st Century with one foot firmly planted in the 19th. The Farm is a certified organic farm, specializing in rare and endangered breeds livestock and heirloom fruits and vegetables. It is a working manor farm, historically a place of efficiency, sufficiency, and serenity. The present Farm was purchased in 1912 by Brig. Gen. James A. Buchanan of Washington, D.C. The historic property of approximately 800 acres was purchased from his descendants in 1996 by Sandy Lerner.
Since Ayrshire’s rebirth in 1996, Lerner has brought back the farm’s roots by early-on subscribing to farming practices that, at the time, seemed by many to herald back to practices from a time gone by. As it turns out Ayrshire was ahead of the curve, using farming practices for the new century, practices that would prove to enhance the environment and human health.
Ayrshire’s mission today is to bring livestock and crop production to both self-sufficiency and profitability. Additionally, there is a commitment to achieving these goals using humane, organic, sustainable farming methods, preserving genetically viable herds of the various rare breeds, and contributing to seed pools for heirloom plants. The soil is being constantly amended with cover crops and compost from the three-acre compost facility. As a part of their training, the Ayrshire Shires help in the constant task of soil improvement, keeping the skills of horse-powered farming alive.
Among the rare breeds are Shire horses, Scotch Highland cattle, Milking Shorthorn dairy cattle, Gloucester Old Spot hogs, and several breeds of free-range chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Pheasants and wild turkeys are raised for release into the farm woodlands, areas which are being replanted and managed so as to provide “wildlife corridors” among the various habitat areas. Native trees, plants and grasses are being re-introduced as woodland cover, hedgerows, and fodder crops.
There is an organic home dairy on the Farm, producing milk, butter, and cheeses for the Farm community. 4-H students work with the Shires, cattle, and vegetable gardens as a part of an innovative program which allows suburban children to work with and exhibit farm animals and experience farm life. The Farm is also a partner with International Exchange for Agriculture, an international organization which places apprentices from around the world in working farms. The students learn about horse and livestock management, breeding, riding, driving, horse-powered farming, veterinary care, and showmanship under the direction of experienced professionals at Ayrshire.
For more info on Ayrshire Farm, please visit their very informative website. If you’re interested in their product please give us a call at 804-359-7525 and ask to speak to our meat department, we’d be glad to assist you. All of their meat is not only local, but certified organic, certified humane, predator friendly and the farm is part of the Virginia Organic Producers & Consumers Association. Check out the video below that talks about Ayrshire’s own vegetable garden located near the farm run by Bill Dow.