I’m happy to report that our fourteenth annual WAPF Conference Guided Farm Visit across miles and miles of Texas was a huge success. If we could take everyone who attended the conference and who wanted to get boots on the ground, we would! However, out of kindness to the farmers and out of our desire to make it an intimate connection for all the attendees, we limit each year’s tour to only two buses. Note that each tour sells out far in advance so we recommend registering early for the 2022 tour if you want to go next year!
The tour was led by WAPF executive director Kathy Kramer, who kept us informed and on-schedule, her lovable assistant Mike Mudrak and Tom Linley, who together kept us all fed, hydrated and laughing. The narrators of what we were seeing consisted of myself and the honorable Steve Campbell, who is the top bovine geneticist for grass-fed cattle in the country (Steve and I switched buses at the midway points). It seems like the conversations, discussions and narrations shorten the distance between farms, at least that is our hope.
Both Steve and I spend the other fifty-one weeks of our year visiting and consulting on farms from coast to coast so the WAPF tour adds to our own vision as well.
Circle N Dairy
The first stop on the tour was the Circle N Dairy outside of Gainesville, Texas (circlendairy.com). They are in many ways the model of a true raw milk dairy. They follow all the guidelines and principles of our Raw Milk Producers Guidelines book so it is a joy to see healthy and happy cows! They are also healthy and happy farmers, and are the third generation on this family farm. They work extremely hard and there is a glow that emits from such successful dairy farmers.
They also raise their own crops to feed their cows, and they do their best to create a truly grass-fed and rich milk.
Our group feedback was that they should definitely consider doubling the current price of their raw milk! Seriously, it’s totally worth it. Like so many farmers of their ilk, they just don’t see the true value of their own lovingly-made products. It’s part of our duty as seekers of nutrient-dense, honestly-created food to help support this special breed of farmer and rancher.
After touring the facility, we did our best to empty the shelves and coolers of their on-farm store. Nothing tells the story better than that first sip of their delicious and velvety raw milk! OK, I’ll admit it, we almost cleaned them out of their supply of their amazing and farm-made ice cream as well—even with it being morning!
Narrow Way Farm
Our next stop was the Narrow Way Farm in Ivanhoe, Texas (nwfarms. com). We were lucky to see the last adult turkeys of the year as well as the chicken tractors and egg mobiles of their production. Perhaps most amazing was the restoration of their farmland, due to the rotational grazing and farming practices. All the birds are able to spend their entire life grazing outdoors while kept predator-free. They also raise pastured pork and sell their chicken eggs.
Lettuce Indulge Farm
Speaking of chickens, we had a farm-to-table lunch at Lettuce Indulge Farm (Lettuce-Indulge.com) out of Denison. The Lettuce Indulge farm-to-fork kitchen’s gourmet chefs prepared a beautiful lunch in a great setting, serving us chicken from Narrow Way, along with root vegetables and delicious greens, which are produced in their expansive, all-natural greenhouses.
After our sunny outdoor lunch we proceeded to Prairie Farmstead, outside of Sherman (prairiefarmstead.eatfromfarms.com). This farm was so interesting when we visited them in 2019 when our conference was in Texas that we came back. It was even more valuable for us to revisit and see the improvements. After all, this kind of farming has the goal of not only sustainability, always critically important, but also regenerativity, meaning leaving the land better than it was when acquired. We gave this farm an A-plus in that regard. We were able to witness three generations of farmers and ranchers working together as a family—and all relatively new to this. Together they are expanding their beautiful herd of pasture-raised beef, in this case Southpoll cattle, a new breed of cattle developed specifically to withstand brutally hot days and weather extremes, as well as to thrive on the forages of the southern climates, such as tall fescue, bermuda and bahai grasses. They also have diversified into raising pasture-raised birds and eggs, along with pasture- and forest-raised pork.
It’s hard to explain the joy of our experience in written words, but the proof, you might say, is that after all this traveling and exercise, the majority of the attendees gathered together to continue the visiting back at the hotel. Savoring our experiences and sharing the joy of witnessing classic examples of how nutrient-dense, humane and sustainable farm food is created. Stepping off the bus, many asked if they could sign up for next year right away. If all this whets your appetite for farm fun, please join us in person next year!
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2021🖨️ Print post