White Oak Pastures is a farm outside Bluffton, Georgia where some of the pork sausage that ButcherBox distributes is sourced.
When it comes to farming multiple species, White Oak Pastures has it figured out.
Recently, I caught up with the farm’s marketing director Jenni Harris, the 5th generation of the Harris family to farm at White Oak Pastures, and she explained a bit of what makes her farm tick.
“My family has been farming here since 1866,” Harris said. “Back then, we farmed only beef cattle which we sold in Bluffton, a town about a mile north of here.”
“Over the years, we evolved to be the farm that we are today. We raise ten animal species —five red meat animals and five poultry,” she explained.
How does that even work? I’ll let Jenni explain. “It’s our belief that having all those animals following each other around the farm creates the same sort of synergies that you find in nature. In other words, they help each other grow and be comfortable.”
The pigs at White Oak Pastures are also a special breed that lives in the forest. “Here in Georgia,” Jenni said, “pigs don’t want to be out in the sun…They get too hot! So our pigs live out in the woods. They dig around and eat brush and roots as well as our unsalable eggs (raised by pastured chickens), local peanuts, and 100% non-GMO grain.”
But for Jenni Harris, the White Oaks Pastures’ mission is bigger than creating great, naturally- and humanely-sourced meat.
“When people ask me what my favorite thing about our family’s farm is, I like to tell them that we want to fill the countryside with farmers!” she said. “Imagine a whole world of middle-class farmers? We are trying to make it happen right here.”
“We started out as a farm full of cowboys,” Jenni said explaining the evolution of her family’s farm. “As we grew, we turned into a farm full of both cowboys and farmers. Then we grew some more and turned into a farm full of cowboys, farmers, accountants, graphic designers, chefs, and educators.”
That’s a pretty great family business right there.
“That’s our vision for the American countryside,” Jenni added, “with agriculture leading the way.”
John Arbuckle is a guest contributor for Roam. He and his wife run Singing Prairie Farm in Missouri, which supplies ButcherBox with the farm’s signature Roam Sticks as well as pasture-raised pork. John was featured earlier this year in Roam.