Hams & Bacons Are Here!

Forest raise, heritage breed pork available at Stark Hollow Farm. Also pork roasts, chops, ribs, sausage, tenderloins and all your favorite cuts. See us at the Burlington Farmer's Market this Saturday, December 17th or order through our website in time for the holidays.

Our First Farmer's Market

Stark Hollow Farm had a great debut at the Burlington Farmer's Market in Vermont today. We sold lots of forest raised pork and Icelandic lamb, made some new friends, and had a great time. Folks really seemed to appreciate our heritage breed focus and our small homestead feel. The enormous Icelandic sheep skin pelt was a huge success with the kids. Some of them weren't too sure if it was alive or not, but none of them could stop stroking the luxurious long locks of wool. There was also lots of interest from crafters for our Icelandic Roving.

Vanessa prepping the table just before opening

Stark Hollow Farm @ Burlington Farmer's Market

Stark Hollow Farm has been accepted as a day vendor at the Burlington Winter Farmer's Market. Expect to see us there, at Memorial Auditorium, this Saturday 10 a.m. til 2 p.m. December 17th.

We'll have our popular forest raised, heritage breed pork cuts available. Come see us for your holiday roasts. Delicious holiday hams, pork tenderloin, pork shoulder & loin end roasts, and all your other favorite cuts including both hot and sweet Italian sausages, bacon, pork loin chops, country style ribs, ground pork. We even have leaf lard for your holiday baking. Are you hungry yet??

We'll also have our gorgeous Icelandic rovings and pelts for sale...

Our small homestead farm appreciates your support!

Laura & Vanessa

Acorn's Bunnies!

Acorn has taken such good care of her little bunnies. They are growing strong and big. They are only a few weeks old. They are cozy and warm in their little nesting box. Four albinos, one brown and one spotted.

Running of the Pigs

Six pigs,200 lbs on the hoof each, running through the woods trying desperately to follow the sounds of our calls and the smell of their delicious pig mash to their new paddock near the road. It was several hundred yards of loud dead-leafed scrambling through thicket, down the gully, over the stream, through the cattails, across the field and back into the woods. It was quite an adventure for both humans and pigs. At one point they had all scattered and run off into different parts of the woods! Repeated bucket banging and calls of "WIGGERS!", their feeding time chant, finally brought them home. Those darn pigger wiggers!

New Ram: Ursus

At 18 months, Ursus is a handsome solid moorit proven Icelandic ram. He is 1/4 Bambi, 1/8 Kari, 1/8 Rector, 1/16 Serkur for a total of 9/16 AI genetics. Sire and dam both have a beautiful fleece, and very nice conformation. His fall lamb fleece won Best of Show award at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival.

Our rams have been selected for great quality genetics to produce solid breed stock, superb fleeces, meaty builds, great color, and diversity of blood lines.

Apple Drops for the Piggies

Nature's abundance...we picked up about 200 lbs of apple drops for the piggies. Pigs love apples. They make a nice aperitif while Vanessa dishes up the main course.

The Scientist Farmer

Vanessa last week checking the fecal samples of the sheep for parasite eggs. By conducting individual egg counts, we can treat only those animals who really need treatment vs simply treating them all. This is a more holistic approach and, combined with our rotational grazing method, keeps the parasite levels down. It also helps keep the parasites themselves from getting resistant to treatments, a problem faced by many farmers today. This addition to our farm management program will also allow us to become more effective at breeding for parasite resistant breed stock.

Maple & Cream

After a long hiatus at Bloomfield Farm in Charlotte, Maple & Cream come home to their ancestral family. An interesting ride in the back of our Subaru Forester. Perhaps we should submit this to Subaru...if only they knew how handy their car is.

Cream...ready to exit the Forester...

Rabbits arrive at Stark Hollow Farm

Vanessa's latest addition to the farm include Acorn & Buttercup, two Spotted Giant/New Zealand breeding does, and Beet, a white New Zealand buck. They will be bred this fall, with meat coming available in the spring. As with all Stark Hollow Farm animals, these guys will be rotated on pasture with access to fresh pasture grasses and with lots of room to roam.

A few interesting facts about rabbit meat:
1. It is lowest in cholesterol of the primary meat products (turkey, chicken, pork, lamb and beef).
2. It is the highest in protein.
3. It is lower in % of fat than turkey, chicken, pork or beef.
4. Rabbits are among the most productive of livestock.

The Hutchmobile...soon to have wheels...





Vanessa is excitedly putting together her rabbit hutch for Stark Hollow Farm's newest offering: Rabbit. We are experimenting with adding rabbit to our meat offering. More info to come.

Icelandic lambs go to college

Stark Hollow Farm sends two ewe lambs off to college. Corinna and Cavona were purchased by Basil Tangredi, retired veterinarian and professor at Green Mountain College. They will be used by students to learn about shearing, body condition scoring, parasite management, wound dressing and other general animal health care to support the pre-med vet program. Green Mountain College was voted the "nation's greenest school" by Sierra Magazine.

New Portable Chicken Condo

The most artistic, beautiful coop ever, designed and built lovingly by Vanessa. The construction follows traditional timber framing principles. Soon it will have wheels and be moving around the pasture behind the sheep.

Under construction...

Building a Hay Stack

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh mown pasture grasses...except of course the smell of sheep on pasture. So sweet, so earthy, so ancient. Our ancestors, when they first domesticated animals, then had to learn how to keep them through the winter. The hay stack is a method for keeping hay for feed during the long winter months. Our first attempt is experimental. It's hard to learn an old-fashioned technique simply by reading about it. Like all farming, it's best learned by doing.
Here's how Vanessa did it:
~ First, she cut the field with our mower.
~ Then, she selected a spot close to the edge of the pasture, out of the wind to place the stack.
~ Then, she placed a center pole and tripod poles, with branches coming off them.
~ Next, she placed cut boughs and branches as the base to allow airflow under the stack.
~ Then, with a modified rake, the hay was raked up into long rows.
~ After that, the hay was spun up with a pitchfork and stacked on top of the boughs.
~ The hay stack grew taller and taller around the center pole.
~ Last, she will comb out the hay to allow it to shed water.

Laura rakes the hay into rows

One pitch fork full at at time

Pitching the hay onto the stack

Raw Icelandic Fleeces

Stark Hollow Farm's raw Icelandic fleeces are gorgeous and prized by handspinners. These fleeces are skirted and ready for processing locally at the Vermont Fiber Factory in Bristol, VT.

Grey Fleece

Cream/Tan Fleece

White Fleece

Vanessa Conquers the Ancient Disc Harrow

This vintage disc harrow had two sections to it and was completely sunken into the earth at HOWL. Vanessa dug it out, separated it into the two sections and then repaired one to get my garden plowed up.

The disc harrow in parts.

Vanessa scavenges for metal along the rock walls.

Mounted on the tractor.

Ready to go!

The finished product...the garden is ready to plant!

Tamworth Pigs Arrive at Stark Hollow Farm

Vanessa picked up six lovely Tamworth pigs to raise as feeder pigs this year. These are heritage breed pigs that will be rotated this year in wild woodland lots at HOWL.

Fiddlehead Fern Hunt Successful!

After a 40 minute walk through the woods along the edges of the pastures and along the streams and spring run off, I found a small cluster of fiddlehead ferns. I saw many types of ferns, but the ostrich fern is harder to come by. I asked the spirits of the land for guidance and this small gift was offered. I harvested only a few leaving many to grow. These will be cooked for dinner tonight with virgin olive oil, butter, garlic, and bacon from our pigs.

My next hunt will be for wild onions!

Mouflon Lambs

Our new ram, Ember, threw 75% mouflon color pattern. We also found out that he carries the spotting gene. Here is Poppy's spotted black mouflon ewe lamb...she is definitely a keeper. Her name is Chamonix.

You can see the mouflon pattern on her ears, her chest, over her eyes and under her chin. On the second photo there is also a small spot above the horn of her hoof.

Here is a full mouflon:

You can see the pattern more clearly on this black mouflon ewe lamb.

The Icelandic sheep breed has complex genetics that determine the color and patterns shown in the individual sheep. One of the neat things about this breed, is you often don't know for sure what you might get. It make raising Icelandic sheep fun.

More Icelandic Lambs

Mara's lamb "Codina" which mean "little tail" in Italian. She got this name due to her breech birth...she came out tail first. Shepherdess Vanessa was amazing in her vigilance, patience and courage getting this little girl out and breathing. She is beautiful!

Mocha's ram lambs are black with the two patterns, mouflon & badgerface, sitting on top. They were out, up, and milking within an hour! She is a great mom.

2011 Lambing Season is Underway!

The first three lambs are born. Mocha and Mara both had their lambs tonight. Mara has a beautiful black mouflon ewe lamb and Mocha gave birth to twin mouflon badger-faced ram lambs.

Here is Mocha with her first ram lamb.

Sheep shelter gets new floor!

We had a torrential downpour here on Saturday. The sheep shelter became a soggy mess. We spent most of the day on Sunday installing a new floor to keep them up off the soggy ground. It came out beautifully.

1 x 6 x 12 foot hemlock boards from P&P Lumber in Starksboro...gorgeous.

Lots of fluffy, dry straw!

Icelandic Lambs on the way

Our registered Icelandic sheep are getting close to lambing. The first lambs are due the end of this month. Vanessa is busy, busy building a modular lambing shelter...

Beverina must be part goat!

Little Bevera seems to be part goat! With all the deep snow, Bevera has managed to figure out how to get up onto the roof of the lamb's shelter...I had to take a steel shovel to remove the snow to keep the little rascal off the roof!

Hams & Bacons are in!

Order delicious pasture raised pork from your local farmers, Laura & Vanessa of Stark Hollow Farm.

Our hams and bacon are just in, having been cured and smoked to perfection by Vermont Smoke & Cure. There are both small hams and ham steaks. Bacons are sliced in 12 oz packages. We still have plenty of sausages, loin chops, and roasts. Ribs are almost gone. Order now!

An easy recipe for a shoulder roast:
  • Place the roast in a large crock pot with 1-2 cups of water.
  • Cook on high for 1 hour, reduce to low and cook for 6 - 7 hours.
  • Remove pork, pour off juices, remove fat & any bone (keep for soup or as a wonderful treat for you pet!).
  • Place pork back in crock pot and shred with two forks.
  • Add your favorite BBQ sauce, a dollop of maple syrup and 1/4 cup of the juices.
  • Stir and cook for one more hour on low.
Some nice organic whole wheat buns and you have delicious BBQ Pulled Pork Sammies! Trust me, you can't go wrong with this one and it is so easy!

To find out more and to view our price sheet, follow this link: Stark Hollow Farm Pork

Contact us for orders and delivery/pickup options.


Laura's cell 734-0180