We recently had the pleasure of attending the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's 14th annual Piedmont Farm Tour in the North Carolina triangle region. This is a self-guided tour encompassing 40 farms, where visitors pay by the carload to attend as many or as few as they wish. We had three farms on the tour this year: Baldwin Beef (grassfed Charolais cattle), Captain John S. Pope Farm (grassfed lamb), and Cane Creek Farm (pastured pigs). We met some wonderful people and had a great time talking with folks on the tour about Animal Welfare Approved and what being certified means (in between lamb burgers and popsicles!). Congratulations to the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association for pulling of yet another successful tour. Each one gets better than the last!
Lesley and Josh Douglass began farming in central Florida in 2015, and they now raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) pigs and laying hens at Heritage Hilltop Farm in Weirsdale. “Our property used to be all citrus groves,” says Lesley. “We have 10 acres of cleared pasture. Our farm sits on top of a hill overlooking other farms on our rural dirt road.”
The Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pigs at Heritage Hilltop Farm are raised outdoors on pasture or range, where they are free to root and forage as pigs naturally do. This high-welfare management is a fundamental component of AGW certification and is known to have environmental, nutritional and culinary benefits.
Lesley and Josh also manage a flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens. Pasture-based management not only provides the highest welfare conditions for the hens, but also produces healthier eggs containing three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs. “We believe in giving our animals the best possible life!” explains Lesley. “We raise our pigs and laying hens on pasture as naturally as possible. Pasture-raised animals can roam freely in their natural environment where they can forage grasses, plants and insects. This improves the welfare of our animals, and our eggs and pork are tastier and more nutritious than conventional factory farmed products. When the animals are raised on pasture with the ability to roam freely, we have better results in their eggs and meat.”
The Douglass family chose to pursue AGW certification because of the program’s mission and principles. “We love what this program is all about,” says Lesley. In the future, the family has goals to become as self-sufficient as possible, feeding their family and community from food produced on the farm.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised chicken eggs and pork are available directly from the farm. For more information about Heritage Hilltop Farm, visit heritagehilltopfar.wixsite.com/website and contact Lesley Douglass at email@example.com or 813-485-6363. Follow the farm on Facebook.