Stewards of the Heartlands

Farms chronicled in Stewards of the Heartlands

This list will grow to include numerous, diverse farms in each of the Heartlands: New Zealand and the USA. We will bring you their stories of successes and challenges through several years and through all seasons.

Wood Farms Organic Hay
Wood Farms  •  Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

Wood Farms • Fort Wayne, Indiana • USA

Wood Farms is a sustainable family farm in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Farmers Dennis and Kristen Wood oversee approximately 100 Angus cows and 650 acres of organic hay with moderate growth on their minds as two grown sons return to the Farm to put their full-time energies into the business. While the organic hay is sold largely to organic dairy farmers throughout the region, the humanely-raised, non-GMO, and antibiotic-free Angus provide healthy, well marbled beef to chefs in the city who are looking for locally-sourced prime beef for their Farm-To-Table restaurants. And plans are in the works for organically grown produce to join Wood Farms production in Spring 2017.

Longbush Farm, New Zealand

Longbush Free Range Pork Farm • Longbush, Wairarapa  •  New Zealand

Longbush Free Range Pork Farm is a farming operation on the North Island of New Zealand that is based on rare pig breed genetics of Large Blacks from England, excellent pork quality and principles of ethical animal welfare. Wife and husband team Naya Brangeberg and Jeremy Wilhem, along with Hong Kong medical doctors, Tinny Ho and John Chua, are partners in this progressive farming operation. The farm is laid out in two blocks of land over 26 hectares with a valley block and second block of free-draining rolling hillsides ideal for free-range grazing.

They have carved out a sustainable livestock farming venture dedicated to animal welfare, concern for the environment, and focused on delivering pork products to a demanding market of discerning chefs, butchers and consumers who are asking for a high flavor and quality that markedly differs from ordinary supermarket pork.

Glenariffe Station, Aerial View Over the Southern Alps

Glenariffe Station • Rakaia River Valley • New Zealand

Some 40 kilometres from the nearest highway lies Glenariffe Station, a New Zealand high country sheep farm in the Southern Alps of the South Island. Glenariffe Station is a 100-year old family farm owned by Mark Ensor and BJ (Belinda) Bull located in the far reaches of the isolated Rakaia River valley in the vastness of a wide valley surrounded by mountain peaks. Such isolation belies the close knit farming community of the families in Rakaia River gorge that have helped each other for over a century since the pioneering days of colonial New Zealand to today's iconic Kiwi farmily farm.

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Smith Meadows Farm • Berryville, Virginia • USA

We welcome Smith Meadows into our family of family farms in Stewards of the Heartlands. Smith Meadows is a tranquil, 500-acre all-natural and sustainable farm situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the northern tip of the Shenandoah Valley near Berryville, Virginia.

Forrest Pritchard and his family and staff have worked the farm for eight generations, creating a system of rotating chickens, pigs, beef cattle, and sheep so the animals are always on a fresh piece of pasture, living the good life. The family sells their products in a farm store at the farm, as well as at various farmers markets in the Washington D.C. area.

Smith Meadows includes elements of agritourism, including its Smithfield Bed & Breakfast, making and selling homemade pastas, and sponsoring farm day events for the public to observe the farm in operation.

Forrest Pritchard is also the New York Times Bestselling author of Gaining Ground, a fascinating read on what it’s taken to make Smith Meadows sustainable and successful. He is also the author of a second book, Growing Tomorrow, which takes a closer look at 18 sustainable farmers around the U.S.

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Redcliffs Station • Methven • Canterbury, New Zealand

Twenty kilometres up Double Hill Road in the Rakaia River Gorge in Canterbury, New Zealand lies Redcliffs Station that stretches along the riverfront and climbs up into the High Country. Owned and operated by Willy and Sarah Ensor, Redcliffs Station is known for its sustainable production of fine wool Merino flocks and grass-fed Angus cattle that thrive in this north-facing property with its own micro-climate protected from the cold, southerly blasts in the wintertime. Redcliffs is one of the founding growers of the New Zealand clothing manufacturer, Icebreaker, which bases its collections on the natural fiber of fine, durable Merino wool. Willy remains active in the Federated Farmers as the High Country Chairperson for the Mid-Canterbury region.

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