While LJL Ranch was started by Luvern and Jimmie Lou Blair in 1965, farming has…
Lisa Duff moved to Oak Spring Farm with her husband, Steven, and their children, Sammi, Henry and Isabelle over six years ago. Although the land was originally part of a much larger property, it had not been farmed for more than a decade before the Duffs purchased the farmhouse and surrounding five acres.
Raising chickens, gardening, and riding horses during her childhood had inspired Lisa to study Integrated Biology at college, which led on to a career as a high school science teacher. With a passion for the environment, Lisa sponsored a garden club at her school, where raising vegetables was an integral part of the general science curriculum. When the Duffs moved to the farm, Lisa began farming on a small scale. Her primary goal was that the farm should provide her family with wholesome, sustainable, and safe food. However, Lisa’s love of growing food quickly developed into a passion for sharing it with others, giving her a strong sense of place and purpose.
Oak Spring Farm now raises a mixed flock of 140 Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) laying hens. These excellent winter layers include Black Australorps, Barred Rocks, Americanas, Anconas, Rhode Island Reds and homegrown Orpington/Australorp mixes. Lisa has noticed that her birds are great foragers, exhibiting good instincts in a natural setting. “It is imperative that my chickens get to be chickens,” says Lisa. “They get to forage in the woods and fields in fresh air and sunshine, and take dust baths at their leisure. Animals deserve to be treated well. They deserve to be happy. In return, we all benefit from healthful food. Our eggs are far healthier and tastier than any store-bought egg. The yolks are as bright and rich orange as a summer sunset!”
When asked about her reasons for choosing Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Lisa was enthusiastic about the objectives of the program: “When I learned about AGW I wanted to become certified right away,” she says. “I knew was already practicing high animal welfare but I wanted an independent third-party certification that would recognize my good husbandry practices. I hope to encourage other small family farms to put animal welfare first and to fine tune their practices to become certified by AGW. I also hope consumers will understand the importance of high welfare standards for all animals, and how important it is to support local farmers who care about their animals as well as their land.”
Oak Spring Farm eggs are available through their CSA, as well as area restaurants and farmers’ markets. Check AGW’s Online Directory for details. For more information, visit www.oakspring-farm.com.