Retrograss Farm was established in March 2014, previously we had been farming at a rental property for a year and prior had owned a small permaculture homestead in Takoma Park, Maryland. Karine has studied Biodynamics for the past seven years, taking various courses and reading like crazy. Our farm is beyond Organic and we began using our first Biodynamic Preparations on the property in the Spring of 2015.
The farm is evolving with the primary focus up front being fertility, we have the following fertility sources living on our farm (and many compost piles to back it up):
Dwarf Nigerian Goats with horns (both male and female). We stud out or in house, we have two registered lines available. The white one in the picture below and a young black and white male not shown. They are both very gentle and love humans so they are easy to handle.
Shetland Sheep (whethers) – We raise these from Mettebee Farm, and slaughter as lamb in the Spring. The meat is amazing, melts in your mouth tender better than any beef steak I’ve had! The lamb is grassfed and finished.
Clydesdale Mare (Christy) and her companion Pony (Lily). Christy is a trained draft horse and she will be helping us pull logs around as her first task on the farm, aside from giving rides to children and adults and producing some very nice compost!
Flock of 50 heritage chickens (with more on the way both by mama’s sitting on eggs and our in house incubator). We have a mixed flock of laying hens and some heritage meat birds mixed in and offer them for sale fresh (seasonally) and frozen (year round). We sell both our older layers and roosters which are the taste that our African community members remember growing up and relish the opportunity to enjoy those flavors. We also raise Freedom Rangers, which are derived from the French Label Rouge Program, these fast growing meat birds don’t just sit around and eat feed but enjoy catching bugs and running around in the forest with our heritage birds and ducks! Our birds have a bright yellow/orange fat from the Omega 3’s they get from fresh grass, bugs and worms and Organic soy-free scraps and feed. They also receive Fodder (sprouted grains that includes 6 inches of green grass during the winter months).
Always increasing flock of French Muscovy Ducks – We offer eggs seasonally (March 1 through September), we offer 6 month old male ducks fresh (in season) or frozen year round.
2 Giant African Geese – (We offer eggs from March to Sept). Their main purpose on the farm is for small predator protection of our chickens, but they also produce a delicious egg that has the taste and texture of a chicken egg but it’s about 4 times the size! Overhead predators are managed mainly from the rooster calls and making sure our pastures have plenty of tree and brush cover. We also raise our chickens close to our other livestock to help deter predators and also to take advantage of the symbiotic relationships. Chickens, geese and ducks help clean a pasture eating larve that thrive in manure and also bits of food left over from the larger animals.
2 Big Black pigs (female who is breeding stock and a male also for breeding). Our pigs live in houses within a Woodlot Paddock. The pigs are moved regularly to fresh grass and forest, they also help plow up the gardens. We utilize Stratton Meats to slaughter on farm for our bulk customer orders, we use Hilltop in MA an organic butcher for retail pork. We now offer piglets in season (typically Spring) this year we have them available in the Fall too, they will be ready by late September. We can also provide roaster pigs, call or email for details.
We have completed many infrastructure projects in 2015, including several animal shelters and we are going to take a break from building and fencing for a while. Our completed building projects include: a run-in shed for the grazing crew during the winter and finishing up our Earthship pig house for their winter living and furrowing. In addition we added several small structures around the farm to accommodate our livestock as they are rotationally grazed, all species appreciate shelter from the rain.
Karine is working at a neighboring farm to learn more about greenhouse growing and production vegetables. It’s nice not being in charge for a while and working at a well established farm under good direction.
Forest medicinals are a passion of mine, including mycology so I will continue to expand my knowledge in this area and experiment with making healing salves and tinctures for our family and animals. We also occasionally offer special salves and creams at our farmstore, open 24 by 7 for regular customers and 7am-8pm for new customers.