It all started with the purchase of the home farm in Forest Hill by Mom and Dad back in 1991. The farm was un kept and run down, but nevertheless, they had a dream for the farm that would guide them for the next twenty plus years as they worked to renovate the 1800s farm house and barn as well as the surrounding areas and fields.
Dad always knew that conventional crop production was not the answer or the future of agriculture and on the recommendation of a friend, Doug; he headed out to meet Joel Salatin from Polyface Farm. Dad immediately recognized that pasture based food production without the use of chemicals was the way to feed the community and heal the land. As soon as he returned from his trip from Virginia he bought 25 egg layer chickens, built a mobile coop and Grand View Farm as we know it today was born.
While in college, I worked with Dad to learn about everything from permaculture to local food marketing, but admittedly I was still a bit skeptical of the concept. Regardless, Dad was passionate and tirelessly worked to educate himself. All the while, moving chickens and cows around the pastures.
The first year that we tried broiler chickens for meat, we purchased a few dozen broilers and put them in a couple of chicken tractors. Dad was already coming up with innovative designs for these portable structures and if those designs existed to that date, we didn’t know about it. It was an exciting time of learning, trial-and-error, as well as the simple pleasures of daily farm work. We ended up with about 2 dozen broilers for harvest in November (wayyyy too late in the season!) and set up in front of the barn with a home made kill cones, small pot for a scalder, a borrowed home-made plucker from a friend, a small table for eviscerating, and a small tub filled with ice. The wind blew and the snow fell as it took four of us nearly the whole day to get 24 broilers into the freezer. We swore that we’d never raise broiler chickens again!
We now raise and harvest over 400 broilers monthly, April through October and do it in a matter of hours with a crew of 10 in a dedicated open-air facility with modern processing equipment throughout. Its funny to think back to the day when we almost lost our toes to the cold and swearing the whole time that we’d never do this again! Just goes to show you that sticking it out and believing in something can be very rewarding.
Now GVF has a much more diverse compliment of animal life including cattle, pigs and turkeys. As we look into the future, there is a lot to get excited about, including water retention and reuse, pasture cropping, milling, vegetables, processing, and home delivery, just to name a few.
Dad and I are humbled daily by the enthusiasm and loyalty of everyone in the GVF community. Our customers go out of their way on a regular basis to seek out our products and for that, we are forever grateful. We are blessed to be able to provide several hundred families with pasture-raised, GMO-free, organically raised meats through various outlets including our on-farm store, the GVF buying club with area drop points, local restaurants, farmers market home delivery services and more.
The future of GVF is clear and very exciting for everyone on the GVF team. There are many people that have been with us from the beginning, helping us with every aspect of the farm and never asking for anything in return, including: Elizabeth, Caroline, Brittany, Dylan, Dave and Doug. There were many wholesale customers who gave us a chance when we were just starting out, including 13.5% Wine Bar, Hometown Harvest, Woodberry Kitchen and Washington’s Green Grocer. Many thanks to everyone who has been with us from the beginning and to our newer customers who find GVF and provide so much support to the growth of the farm.
- Nick Bailey
Meals by our Customers
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