Our dream has been to have a place to grow as much of our own food as possible, and in a sustainable way that brings us into closer harmony with what we eat. And here we are! We have 5 acres of pasture with gardens and a small orchard in Altona (halfway between Boulder and Lyons). Situated at the base of the foothills, we raise llamas, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and have a small orchard and gardens.
Why Serendipity? We came upon this farm in 2013 under the most serendipitous circumstances and as we built it up, serendipitous events continued to find us. Serendipity Farm just made sense.
As we have researched animals and breeds for the farm, we found ourselves having a preference for heritage breeds – breeds that do well living free range and able to forage for much of their food. Somehow that got extended to choosing breeds that are endangered or threatened. Among our animal kingdom, we have Narangansett turkeys, rare Black Copper Maran chickens that lay rich chocolate colored eggs, and endangered Large Black Hogs.
We invite others to visit the farm to see our birds and experience the harmony we have between nature and the animals. We offer hands on classes for those that want to experience and learn, and we even offer B&B packages for those that want to have a short stay on the farm.
Large Black Hogs
These hogs are an endangered breed with only around 2100 registered hogs in the US. The irony is that they used to be the hog of choice prior to “factory farming”.
While they were ideal as pasture pigs, they fell out of favor when hogs were moved into barns with concrete floors, causing them to go lame.
Our pigs live out on the pasture, grazing, rooting and playing in their mud hole.
Large Black Hog pork is lean and micro-marbled, creating a texture that is extra tender due to the short muscle fibers. This unique characteristic of the meat has earned a place in some of the most exclusive restaurants in New York and Europe. The meat is slightly darker in color with an old world flavor. Heard of the famous Spanish hogs that eat the acorns every year to produce the best pork in the world? These are the same pigs minus the acorns. Oh yes, and don’t forget the bacon – the long length of these hogs means extra bacon!
We plan on 4 litters per year and are keeping a waiting list. Our current lineage is Prudence/Defender and well sell breeder piglets at 8 weeks for $150. Let us know if you would like to be on the list.
Angus Charolais Cows
Our daughter Stephanie and her husband Rick raise our cows for us in North Dakota on 4000 acres of pastureland. Our herds spend 2 summers grazing on these lush pastures of the Grand River Grasslands. During winter, they are brought in to closer pastures and fed a variety of grasses and plants harvested over summer.
To avoid the use of GMO corn, the old world standard of barley is used for finishing just prior to harvest. Approximately 30-45 days before slaughter, we supplement their feed with barley to get the marbling of fat and the flavor just right. Once harvested, we age the meat for 3 weeks, ensuring peak flavor and tenderness in every cut.
Our Angus/Charolais cross create a unique a breed particularly suited to this pastured life in the Dakota climate that offers a lean, well marbled cut of beef, superior to straight Angus. But don’t take our word for it, take some home and see for yourself!
We raise all our laying hens on our pasture. They lay and spend the night in two “chicken tractors” that we move around to encourage grazing in different areas. Each tractor has solar panels and a battery to operate the automatic door, light, and water pump. To keep the predators out at night, we have a hot wire (also solar powered) that surrounds each tractor. We have over 10 varieties of egg layers that give us an Raster basket of colorful eggs each day.
Did You Know? Farmers have 30 days from the day an egg is laid to get it to stores. Then, the stores have another 30 days to sell the eggs. On Valentines Day, you could be eating an egg that was laid on Christmas!
Why pastured eggs? Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 times more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
Our meat birds (broilers) arrive as day old chicks and live in our brooder house for the first 4-6 weeks, depending on weather. Once they have fully feathered out, we move them outside to pasture pens. Each pen has a door we open in the day to let the birds out to get fresh grass and bugs every day.
The breed we raise is a Freedom Ranger. Unlike the typical grocery store meat chicken, these birds do not produce the “monster” breast meat. Rather they are well proportioned and our CSA members report that they are much richer tasting than store bought chicken (we think so too).
We wanted a turkey that still had the genetics and instincts to forage and breed. The Narragansett turkey seemed to be the perfect choice. This heritage breed is a medium sized bird and very social; also on the “watch list” for endangered breeds. This year, we have a mama raising 11 chicks she hatched.