When Carolyn Bradley looks out on the lush hills of her family farm and the cattle grazing on pastures of clover, she is a link in a multigenerational chain. Carolyn and her husband Mike are the owners of Farmhouse Beef in Madison County, North Carolina, which is a stop on ASAP’s Farm Tour on June 23rd and 24th.
“I developed a love for the land like my parents, and my grandparents, and my great grandparents. If we go back on both sides of my family for five generations they were always farmers,” she says.
Now the farm specializes in grassfed beef, and growing the pastures of orchard grass, fescue, and clover that the cows eat. “It’s very peaceful, and the land is very beautiful,” she says. “I really love being out there working on the land with the tractor.”
Carolyn is grateful to her family for allowing her to steward the family land. Establishing a working farm during her retirement has allowed her to preserve it, though she often gets offers from developers who want to buy the farmland, which totals about 130 acres.
“It’s a beautiful farm, and I could never sign a contract. I could never sell that land. I just love it too much and I think when you’re gifted that nice of an inheritance, I think it should go to the next generation,” she says.
Carolyn adds that events like ASAP’s Farm Tour help preserve farmland by supporting families who run working farms, and highlighting the importance of local agriculture.
“I hope that people from who participate in the farm tour, not just this year but any year, I hope they realize the importance of farms and of keeping farms to grow food on. Because if you take all the available land and sell it to build houses, who’s going to grow your food?”
Carolyn answered the call, but before she came back to the family farm for retirement, she had a career teaching health and nutrition classes in Georgia. She says it was her interest in health that led her to grassfed beef.
“I was very interested in the best nutrition for people,” she says. “Grassfed beef was just becoming known in 2000. So I did quite a bit of research for a couple of years before we decided to acquire a herd that we could use to raise and specifically sell grassfed beef to people.”
They decided to get a herd of registered Angus cattle, including a sire from the University of Maryland breeding program. “It’s more of a medium to moderate sized animal, and the meat is extraordinary. Very good and very lean,” she says. “They’re great for grassfed—that’s really what they were were bred for was to put good food on the table.”
Carolyn and Mike are eager to share their passion for agriculture. Farmhouse Beef is a stop on ASAP’s Farm Tour on June 23rd and 24th, where visitors can see the cattle and learn about the farm’s rotational grazing practices.
“We love meeting people and showing them around the farm,” she says. “This is one of the highlights of our year. We’ve been involved in the ASAP Farm Tour since it began 10 years ago.”
Visitors can see the calves in the afternoon, and kids can enjoy storytime and craft projects throughout the day. There will be grassfed burgers coming off the grill, bone broth demonstrations, information about how to cook grassfed meat, and a chance to relax under a shady tree with new friends.
A map of participating farms and ticket information for ASAP’s Farm Tour can be found at http://asapconnections.org/events/asaps-farm-tour/
Aired: June 18, 2018