We started the farm in 2001 after we had raised several show pigs for the Highlands County Fair in previous years. We started with Yorkshires, Hampshires, Durocs and Blue Butt crosses from Ray Moorman of Southern Select ShowPigs.
Along with Ray's advise we leaned on another hog farmer named Dave Vandevelde from Canada. Dave and his family lived in Avon Park for a couple of years and helped me greatly.
As we progressed we went to Indiana and bought additional breeds from three farmers in Indiana and brought the bounties to Florida.
At this point we had 10 different purebreds and several crossbreds. We had Berkshires, Poland China, Spots, Tamworths, Durocs, Yorkshires, Hampshires, Landrace, Chester Whites and Herefords.
The University of Florida invited us up with other farmers throughout Florida and South Georiga to a dinner and meeting about meat quaility pork.
They fed us pork from Sam's Club and from the University of Florida's swine unit. The difference in meat quality was extreme for me. That night I drove 2 1/2 hours home thinking about what I needed to do to change the farm over from showpigs to meat quality pork.
After doing meat test at the farm and sampling meat from all of these breeds and many cross breed combinations we decided to narrow our breeds down to the Hereford breed for meat quality. This all took place about 2004.
Time went on as we built our barn in stages over about 3 years. The barn was built originally to house sows while they gave birth to thier piglets and to house the piglets after they were weaned.
Now we only have pigs or hogs in the barn when we need to weigh or deworm them.
In the early days my son Jim and daughter Annesly helped deliver pigs and give iron shots, clip teeth, tails and anything else I needed them to help with including helping with the barn.
Now the sows birth with no help outside and we no longer clip teeth or tails as is needed in confinement operations.
We developed most of the farm with friends and family. My nephew Josh and a good friends Jarrod Gavagni, Carlon Brockwell, Mike Pollitt, Greg Culberson, RW Elrod, Matt Perry and others helped us build most of our fencing and our barn.
Others that came later were Thomas Cousins and his dad, along with Johnny Harrison and his dad Johnny along with my nephew Caleb and my Son Jim they helped build additional fence and pens. Also Keith and Justin Faust and family helped us where ever they could such as working with the hogs and painting the barn.
My wife and my friend since childhood Carlon and myself poured some of the concrete for the barn. That about killed us so we contracted the rest of the pouring out until Thomas Cousins came on the scene. He showed us how simple it was if you knew what you are doing. I just got out of his way and let him go with it.
We only wean about 5 pigs per litter average currently but I am starting to see signs of improvement by being more selective in our maternal lines.
We were introduced to a couple of Chef's by a wine salesman in January of 2007 after Florida Trend Magazine published an article about our farm. Once the Chef's, Kathleen Blake then with Primo Restaurant and Scott Copeland of Kay Restaurant tried our meat we found our market. We now specialize in serving many of the best restaurants in the cental Florida area.