Now Offering 100% Forested Pork!


written by

Lyle Carver

posted on

March 1, 2022

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. As of March 1 we have had two more litters and have 22 healthy piglets. This combined with our sows and feeder pigs means we have 30 pigs on the farm.

Why farrow? By farrowing we know the genetics of the pigs we raise for our family and customers. We can select for the features we want and continually improve our herd (technically a group of swine is a "sounder" not a "herd"). Our pigs are a cross of heritage breeds and we can add more of any particular breed into them to achieve our desired results. Our pigs have a small percentage of Ossabaw Island Hog in their genetics. The Ossabaw adds some hardiness and meat quality features. Our Hogs also have Gloucester Old Spot (GOS), Hampshire, Yorkshire, Hereford, Chester White, and Red Wattle. The genetic foundation of our herd was created by Bev Eggleston with Eco-friendly foods. It's an advantage to start with established pasture/forest based genetics. You wouldn't want to take an industrially raised pig and put her in the woods with any expectation that she would thrive. Our pigs thrive in our forest environment.

What are our plans for the piglets? We will primarily raise these piglets for meat. Our demand in the fall exceeded our supply. These will finish (achieve slaughter weight and marble) in our forest environment in about 7 months at 300lbs. We will know that they never received antibiotics or hormones. We will know that they lived great lives and were treated humanely. They will be raised 100% outdoors for their entire lives. A few gilts may be retained as future breeders. We may have a few piglets to sell at weaning (6-8 weeks old). It can be a challenge to locate feeder pigs (weaned piglets) at the time we want them with the genetics we want. We now control our source of piglets.

Increasing our numbers will help our mission of Healthy Land - Healthy Animals - Healthy People. We can positively impact more acres of land with this increase in animals. These pigs will help us transition some unused forest that is overgrown and overcrowded into a healthy silvopasture. Last year we raised 10 pigs and gave them great lives. This year that number may be 30+ and if we can inspire some others to do this our impact can be even greater. We also anticipate that the number will grow over time to significantly more than 30. All of this leads to healthier people. The pork from our fall pigs could only benefit a few families. We will be able to feed exponentially more people this year. We have received amazing feedback on the pork and hope to provide it to more people. We also enjoy raising the pigs. Farming should be enjoyable! It should be rewarding and fun! Ideally, the kids will want to be involved, they will want to share the experiences with their friends. Pigs are personable and fun. You cannot have a bad day outside with your pigs (unless they escape the fenced pastures - but thankfully they are educating us on the best ways to keep them in and content).

Thanks for joining us on this journey. Please reach out with questions.

More from the blog


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.

Happy New Year!

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...

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.