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BOTL Farm farmer profile

BOTL Farm – Ashford, CT

BOTL Farm is a pasture-based, sustainability-focused livestock farm in Ashford, Connecticut (in the northeastern, otherwise known as the “Quiet Corner” of the state). Here, Danielle Larese and Nick Weinstock raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) pigs and laying hens, along with Certified Grassfed by AGW sheep and goats.

Nick and Danielle are both first-generation farmers. “The decision to start farming snuck up on us, as big decisions sometimes do,” says Danielle. “Nick was taking over the family business of construction project management while I was finishing grad school and establishing myself as a career government scientist when we met the farmer who would change our lives. She accepted our clumsy offers of free labor on her farm and in return, taught us invaluable lessons about the reality and the infrastructure of raising animals on pasture. We worked with her for four years and then decided to take the plunge ourselves and start farming. The day Nick officially quit his day job in order to begin farming full-time was terrifying, but we suspected it’d be easier to build a farm while we’re in our 30s instead of waiting until our 50s or 60s.”

BOTL Farm is situated on 41 acres of transitional silvopasture. “We designed and developed our regenerative farm so that our animals can express their natural behaviors,” says Nick. “We use intensively managed rotational grazing methods, where the animals live on pasture all year long and are never confined, they breed according to their natural cycles and birth unassisted on pasture, plus they have the room to explore and interact with their surroundings. Rotationally grazed animals improve the quality and fertility of the land, not to mention their meat tastes exceptional! We grow traditional breed animals that thrive in our New England climate of hot summers/cold winters. These older breeds also have flavor, nutrition, and fat quality that have been lost in industrial farming.”

The pigs at BOTL Farm are Mangalitsa/Berkshire/Large Black crosses. “They have room to roam and have fun by rooting, grazing and exploring with their snouts,” says Nick. “They are fed a soy-free, corn-free, non-GMO, certified-organic feed and are regularly moved to fresh ground to avoid the build-up of disease and parasites.” Ensuring animals have continual access to pasture or range is a fundamental component of AGW’s farm standards. Research shows this type of pasture-based management results in better animal health, environmental health, and human health—as well as producing delicious pork!

The flock of laying hens at BOTL Farm are also raised outdoors on pasture. Evidence shows that pasture-based management is not only better for animal welfare, but results in tasty and nutritious eggs with more beta carotene and higher levels of beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids when compared to conventional eggs. “Our chicken flock consists of several breeds of brown-egg and green-egg laying hens,” says Danielle. “They are fed soy-free, corn-free, non-GMO, certified-organic feed. Multicolored eggs are available year-round.”

The flock of sheep at BOTL Farm are Icelandic, a relatively small breed that are hardy foragers. The goats are Kiko goats, which have impressive parasite resilience, the ability to deliver and nurse triplets, and a preference for woody, shrubby things the sheep won’t eat. The sheep and goats work well together and have helped Danielle and Nick transform some of their wooded areas into silvopasture.

In addition to being Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, the sheep and goats at BOTL Farm are also Certified Grassfed by AGW, the first—and only—food label in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range.

BOTL Farm decided to pursue certification with A Greener World because it seemed like a natural fit. “AGW’s work in demonstrating to the public and to farmers that livestock can be grown sustainably was important to us. We are only interested in raising healthy, happy animals who express natural behaviors and we need to raise them on pasture to achieve the type of regenerative farming that we strive for.”

Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised eggs and pork, Certified Grassfed by AGW lamb and goat from BOTL Farm are available directly from the farm and at multiple farmers markets in the area. Check the AGW directory for details. Frozen and vacuum sealed cuts of pork and bulk boxes are available year-round. Typically harvested in the fall, frozen and vacuum sealed cuts of lamb and goat are available until they run out. To learn more about BOTL Farm, visit Contact Nick at and 908-268-3192. You can also follow the farm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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