Polyface Farm: More than just a farm

Located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, organic, local-market farm. Marketed as the “farm of many faces,” Polyface Farm goes beyond simply production but takes on a unique educational role as well.

Joel Salatin and his family operate Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia. Originally purchased by Salatin’s parents in 1961, the farm has gone from a worn out patch of land to one that employs 10 people with more than a million dollars in sales.

The farm is driven using unconventional methods with the goal of “emotionally, economically and environmentally enhancing agriculture.” Polyface focuses on six guiding principles in its operation: transparency, grass-based feeding, individuality, community, nature’s template, and earthworm use.

Salatin is most well known for his unique farming methods, labeled by TIME Magazine as “the world’s most innovative farmer.” His methods include direct-marketing of meats and produce to consumers, pastured-poultry, grass-fed beef and the rotation method which makes his farm more like an ecological system than conventional farming.

According to its website, the farm is “in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.” The farm offers informational farm tours to educate visitors of their important role in the local environment and farming best practices.

The farm is most well-known known for its salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, and forestry products. In total, Polyface services more than 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets, and a farmers’ market.

Polyface, Inc. is also the host of “Free Range Saturdays” on select days in the summer, featuring local artisans, music, seasonal produce, guided tours, local cheese and other handmade items. The last Free Range Saturday of the season will take place this Saturday, September 17th.

If you’re interested in learning more about Polyface Farms, we recommend looking up the documentary “Polyfaces.” The documentary centers on connecting to the land and the community. Produced over 4 years it follows the Salatin’s, as they produce food in a way that works with nature, not against it. Using the symbiotic relationships of animals and their natural functions, they produce high quality, nutrient-dense products.

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