Now Offering 100% Forested Pork!

Happy New Year!

written by

Lyle Carver

posted on

January 3, 2022

We are off to a snow covered start to 2022. This means we are longing for warmer days and green grass. At the same time we are enjoying the harvest from 2021 and making plans for 2022. We hope and expect 2022 will be our healthiest year yet. Healthy land, healthy animals, and healthy people will continue to be our focus. Here are some goals/changes for 2022...

  1. New Logo - this change is small but we are excited about it. This will be the topic of a separate Blog post.
  2. New Enterprises - 2021 saw us add Pork. 2022 is still unknown what we will add but one of our favorite mottos is "never stop improving" and growth in this case is a way to improve because it will add biodiversity to our soils as well as additional proteins to our diets. We are adding farrowing as our first baby piglets are due in February. We want to add ruminants (cattle and sheep) to our land. Turkeys are also on our to do list. Stay tuned!
  3. Growth - we raised 500+ birds in 2020 and 1200+ in 2021 along with 10 pigs. The benefits of growth are full freezers, positive impacts on land, and more families are fed. We want to make a positive and lasting impact on our animals, our land, and as many people in our community as possible.
  4. Personal Health - this will be the subject of an additional Blog post but the short version is taking as many small positive healthy steps as we can. Less sugar, more pastured proteins, more sleep, less caffeine, more exercise, etc.
  5. More communication with our customers. We will post at least two Blog posts per month, 2 Instagram posts per week, add recipes to the website, more farm tours, and find other new and exciting ways to share our farm with our community.
  6. Incorporate more "family" into the farm. Bailey is now a licensed driver and amazingly Will could hit this milestone in 2022. This frees up many new possibilities. Everyone has learned and grown this last year and we will get to put that into practice in the coming months.
  7. Improve cooking skills. This is an area where we have really grown. Things we have learned...better ingredients really do matter, variety is nice, pork actually is delicious, it helps to have some "gadgets" (Air fryer, Instapot, Traeger pellet grill/smoker, griddle grill, etc). I really need to improve food photography!
  8. Measurement - I want to measure our progress. I know our soils are improved. You can see it. Land that had to be mowed once annually could be mowed 3-4 times in 2021. You could see it in the forage. I want to know how much we are improving the organic matter (water holding capacity) in our soils. I want to know how much healthier our meat is. Anecdotally you can tell the chicken is more nutrient dense because it is more filling when you eat it. I'd like to know our numbers and watch as we improve over time.
  9. Local partnerships. This has all happened unofficially but we work closely with multiple small businesses and we want to see them thrive. Our processor is Eco-friendly foods in Moneta, VA. We appreciate Bev and his team at Eco-friendly foods and want them to succeed and continue to fill this important niche in our community. We buy feed from two Virginia small businesses/farms. Sunrise farms in Stuart's Draft, VA and Green Sprig Ag in Rocky Mount, VA. We feed surplus apples from Morris Orchard to our Pigs. You should visit them and definitely get some apple cider! These are just a few of what I expect to be a growing list.

Get to know your farmer! Brian Alexander, known on Social Media and Podcasts as the Red Hills Rancher, says it best "Shake the hand that feeds you." I want our customers to have a knowledge and appreciation for where food comes from. I want to be transparent and accessible. I want to meet more farmers and know where more of our local food comes from.

Let's walk through this together,

More from the blog


The next chapter of Carver Family Farms has begun. Farrowing pigs is a new enterprise that we are excited about! 10 healthy pigs were born to our first gilt on February 3, 2022. We have two more pregnant gilts that are due soon. Why farrow?


I love living and farming in Virginia! We like to call our home county "God's Country." After growing up in Florida, I truly appreciate living somewhere that experiences all four seasons. Snow is beautiful and I enjoy exactly one snow per winter. We have now exceeded that and personally I am ready to move on to Spring. This winter has already thrown significantly more challenges at us than all of last winter combined.The Snow is beautiful! It makes for fun pictures and we did enjoy some sledding this year. Snow is a good example of why we do not raise our pastured chickens in the winter. We choose not to fight nature. If we had birds on pasture during the two recent snow storms, we would've either had to raise them indoors (no longer pastured) or we would've experienced catastrophic losses and difficult/dangerous farm chores on the iced over snow. We will start back with our meat chickens in early Spring.Even though our poultry is seasonal, our pigs are a year round enterprise. We have pigs during the winter and they thrive! The snow does not phase them in the slightest. They love the hay that we supply for them to bed down in. They stay warm as they bed in "pig piles" covered in hay. They have a shelter but it is more for our peace of mind than the pigs. As long as they have sufficient access to hay they can handle any winter weather that Virginia can throw at them. The frozen ground is problematic for some of our infrastructure projects but we do them as the weather allows and are constantly learning and improving.This time of year is a great time to focus on healthy eating and cooking new things. We eat pork or chicken from the farm nearly every day. We make bone broth year round but we seem to go through it more rapidly in the winter as we make soups and chilis. I also drink a mug of hot bone broth every day. In the near future, we will write more about our weekly menu and showcase how we eat almost all protein from Carver Family Farms.In the future we will have cattle and sheep as additional year round enterprises. We are excited to learn and grow! I hope you will join us on this journey of healthy land, healthy animals, and healthy people.

Fall Pig Update

One of our main goals at Carver Family Farms is to allow our customers to fill their freezers with bulk orders and enjoy the same benefits that our family does. So we were quite pleased that of the 6 remaining hogs: 3 were purchased as whole hogs and the other 3 were purchased as "half hogs" by six families. We also ended up with a waiting list so we have already added more feeder pigs that will be ready in the Spring.