“Know your Farmer, Know your Food”. We don’t have a long dossier of agricultural experience or accolades to share with you. What we do have is an incredible passion for what we do. We are first generation farmers, returning to work the land with several generations passed over. As a single parent, I’m seeing my Son blossom and grow into a strong and adaptive young man. Our collective hard work here on our small ten acre permaculture farm, established officially in January of 2016, is the start of his career goals in sustainable agriculture.
I’ve worked as a photographer, an art director, a graphic designer, an adjunct college professor, and owner of a small online business for the past 20 years, but none of these things has given me the satisfaction and inspiration that farming brings on a daily basis. Being able to spent time outdoors, working our land, caring for our creatures, and connecting with our community has value greater than any gold.
Every day, we are growing and building something together and working as a team. It’s been one of the most difficult projects I’ve ever taken on. As a homeschooling family, we are constantly learning and the farm sets a frequent tableau for our lessons. A farmer must be well learned and able to fill many roles. We bring life into the world and are caretakers of our animals until they ultimately fulfill their purpose as healthy food for our community, or breeding stock destined to work on another farm. We are always learning, and always adapting to change.
My first job as a teenager was working at a small family dairy in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I worked diligently at Manning Farm Dairy from age thirteen up until I left for college. Every day I saw the hard-working, close-knit family of my employers, attended high school with their children, and went to work on their farm many days after school. I saw a beautifully run farm with well-cared for animals. I didn’t think much more about agriculture or our food system here in the United States until I spent a summer in Italy and was introduced to Slow Food and seasonal eating. Connor and I spent several months renting a tiny cottage on an olive farm in rural Umbria. The trip of a lifetime, our eyes were opened to how food is linked to the seasons, the ebb and flow of nature, and our ancestral roots. We returned to the states determined to keep a part of Italy in our lives.
Corva Bella Farm has become the connection that we kindle day by day, to what we’ve learned. It began as a homestead, with dreams of permaculture gardens, goats, and chickens. We’ve always loved pigs, but never knew there were docile and manageable breeds that were perfect for small farms. When we were introduced to the Kunekune pig, it was love at first sight for both of us. When we sampled our first Kunekune pork, from two barrows that we had raised from piglets, we were astounded. I was a child in the 70’s, when pork chops were white, dry and hard to chew. I’d never appreciated much pork other than bacon. Oh, how that has changed!
One of our biggest reasons for wanting to start raising our own food was learning about factory farming and confinement operations. Knowledge of how food is raised on a large scale isn’t something that the average American ever has contact with. It’s neither taught in schools, nor made publicly available with regularity. It just “is”. A recent wave of food documentaries runs the gamut from educational and inspirational sustainable agriculture films to hardcore plant-based eating exposés. After seeing many of these films, we chose to consider the mantra… “If we are going to eat meat, we want it to be meat we’ve raised ourselves, or meat raised by other farmers that we are well-acquainted with”. And as such, here we are today, doing exactly that, for ourselves and our community.
Connor and I both believe in small-scale, sustainable agriculture for healthy food, healthy lives and healthy communities. Farms and food provide local connectivity in an age where we are all increasingly disconnected from one another. We are very passionate about Heritage Breed animals and keeping their history alive through carefully considered selective breeding programs. Our main focus is our Kunekune pigs, but we also work with Meishan pigs, raise Salmon Faverolle chickens and Blanc de Hotot rabbits.
As a family, we love to work together, garden & raise our own food, and most of all- we love to cook with the fruits of our labor. Connor has a growing interest in smoking meats and charcuterie, and we hope to one day have our rare breed heritage craft pork in the able hands of local chefs. In particular, Cochon 555, which is a touring culinary competition championing all things pork and heritage breeds.
We invite you to follow us on this journey of growth and expansion!