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Meet The Farmer - Message in a BOTL

Meet The Farmer – Message In A BOTL

Danielle Larese and Nick Weinstock own BOTL Farm, located in Ashford, Connecticut, where they raise Certified AWA by AGW pigs and chickens, and Certified AWA and Certified Grassfed by AGW sheep and goats. They sell directly to customers at local farmers’ markets and an on-farm store.


How did you get into farming?

It was a surprise! We’re both first-generation farmers and our backgrounds are in construction project management and theoretical chemical physics. We had started careers in our respective fields but had a mutual love for food and cooking, which led us to seek out higher and higher quality ingredients, leading us to local farms. We started volunteering on a pasture-based livestock farm and the next thing we knew we were writing a business plan to start our own farm.


Where do you farm?

We’re a pasture-based, sustainability-focused livestock farm in northeast Connecticut—also known as the ‘Quiet Corner’. Situated on 41 acres of transitional silvopasture, we designed and developed our system so our animals can express their natural behaviors. We farm 60 Large Black/Mangalitsa/Berkshire pigs, 200 laying hens, 15 Icelandic sheep, and 15 Kiko goats, selling pork, chicken and eggs, and grassfed lamb and goat meat. These traditional breeds thrive in our New England climate of hot summers and cold winters, and have flavor, nutrition and fat qualities that have been lost in industrial farming.


Describe a typical day

A big part of why farming is both fun and hard is because every day has unique challenges. That said, our days are bookended with daily chores: each morning and evening the animals need to be checked on, fed, and watered. We spend lots of time answering customer questions and inquiries, as well as working on maintaining or building infrastructure.


How did you hear about AGW?

As first-generation farmers, we didn’t particularly know how many linear feet of roost bars a flock of 200 hens needed. Naturally, we googled it and found AGW’s standards. We started using them as a technical building reference as we built our farm infrastructure. Applying for and receiving a FACT grant to support certification helped us across the certification finish line.


Sustainable farming: why does it matter?

We’re trying to save the world, one pork chop at a time!


What is the biggest threat to the sustainable farming movement?

‘Big Ag’ and stubborn commodity subsidies from the government.


What’s your vision for the future?

We like to envision a magical future where sustainable farms are wildly profitable but somehow make products that most people can afford.



Certification date: September 2020

Size: 41 acres

Soil type: Sandy/silty loam

Altitude: 700 feet

Annual rainfall: 60 inches

Enterprises: Certified Animal Welfare Approved pigs and laying hens; Certified Grassfed sheep and goats



Originally published in the Spring 2024 issue of AGW’s Sustainable Farming magazine.


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