After becoming increasingly disillusioned with industrial livestock production, and the lack of availability of locally grown organic products, Enrique Hernandez and Frances Cornett decided to purchase a small farm to begin making their own contribution to the sustainable food movement.
Summer Solstice Farm comprises 28 acres of meadows and woodland tucked along the confluence of Pohatcong Creek and the Delaware River in Pohatcong Township, NJ. Once the site of a peach basket manufacturing company, the property gradually entered into years of neglect. Since moving to the farm in 2011, the family has strived to clean and improve the land using sustainable practices. “We are currently in the process of restoring the native habitat for much of the property,” says Frances. “We’ve planted well over 1,000 native trees and established an apple orchard and thriving vegetable garden. The rest we have dedicated to raising our animals.”
Enrique and Frances, along with the help of their daughter and son-in-law, Bianca and Adam Starling, manage approximately 36 Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) Cayuga laying ducks, which have all been hatched on their farm. The Cayugas are a traditional breed that originated in upstate New York, and are considered the only native domesticated duck in the Northeast. “The ducks free roam in the 2-acre apple orchard and vegetable garden,” says Frances. “The ducks work perfectly as natural pesticides, controlling slugs and snails and eating insects and larvae.”
In 2014, the family also started raising Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW Mangalitsa and Berkshire pigs, breeds known for being particularly resilient to outdoor life. “Our pigs live in a spacious wooded paddock next to our orchard where they have plenty of room to run, root, and wallow. They love the area where they are located since it has lots of shade, and they are calm and easy-going,” says Enrique. “The pork from our pigs is darker in color and richly marbled, its higher fat content making it especially juicy and flavorful.”
Summer Solstice Farm pursued Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification because they wanted to be sure they were caring for their animals in the best way possible. “Our goal is to treat our animals with great respect, and care by being in tune with their changing needs and behaviors. We work to make sure that, to the best of our ability, their lives are happy and stress free.” The couple plans to use the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW label to highlight their high-welfare, sustainable farming practices. “Many of our customers are eager to see how our farm is run and how the animals are treated,” Frances says. “Having Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification appeals greatly to our customer base.”
Summer Solstice Farm’s Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised pork and duck eggs are available direct from the farm by appointment. Home delivery options are also available. For more information, visit summersolsticefarm.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-505-5786.