At the founding of Vernal Vibe Rise in 2010, I committed to raising all of my rare-breed American Heritage livestock in the healthiest manner possible. Over the intervening years, this has become an iterative process, driven by circumstance, knowledge, and access. For the past several years, and today, it means that all VVR livestock is raised on beyond-organic pasture, year-round, in an intensively-managed rotational grazing system.
Why Heritage Breeds?
Until the fairly recent resurgence of these rare breeds, within which I have much gratitude to have been of service, heritage breed livestock had fallen out of favor with producers and chefs alike. Small, fiercely independent pigs with lots of lard on their bodies were not well-suited to the commercial, confinement operations that had replaced the small farm systems of the past. The same was true for all types of livestock–bigger was thought better, more docile preferred, but taste and resilience were sacrificed. I love the independent spirit of the heritage breeds I raise; they are not particularly domestic animals, and the foods they offer have some of that attitude as well. Heritage lamb tastes like LAMB, and the eggs from the heritage birds I raise are the best around. It is important that Vernal Vibe Rise livestock be hardy and strong of spirit, because they live outside year-round, and need to stay healthy on their own, without chemical medicines and synthetic wormer. Heritage breeds can do that.
For more information about heritage breed livestock, please see The Livestock Conservancy.