At the heart of every community is food. But local, organic food isn’t just food: it’s connection, collaboration, nutrition, and the heart-warming stories of those who lovingly grow and care for the plants and animals that provide the very best kind of nourishment.
Connecting the RVA community with the farms that feed us is an integral part of the Making It Real mission, so we’re thrilled to introduce our very first featured farm: ShireFolk Farm in Palmyra, VA, located just 30 minutes west of Goochland!
Meet the Farmers
ShireFolk Farm founders and farmers Logan and Emilie Tweardy’s journey to farmership started long before they purchased their farm in April 2015. Both Logan and Emilie have spent their lives appreciating and immersing themselves in the beautiful and wild outdoors, and both hold degrees in Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University.
As a newlywed couple in 2013, the two spent six months in Costa Rica on a permaculture teaching farm to prepare themselves for farm life. They then continued their hands-on education working on farms and a fermentary along the East Coast until fate dropped them in Charlottesville. Both Emilie and Logan are avid foodies, and they quickly found they love living in this wine, beer, cider, and farm-to-fork paradise.
Their farm-to-table journey began in the Charlottesville area in fall 2015 with a small-scale CSA (community-supported agriculture) group. From there, they embraced farm life, and 2016 marked their first fully operational year. During their first full year in business, ShireFolk began sharing produce and proteins at the Manakin Market as well as the Goochland Market Place. In 2017, they expanded their presence into the St. Stephen's Farmers Market in Richmond, where they can now be found year-round.
What Does ShireFolk Offer?
Emilie and Logan are already well on their way to fulfilling their vision of providing Central Virginia with sustainable, nutrient-dense produce and proteins. Despite their relative recency in establishing the farm, the couple is already harvesting and selling plenty of fresh veggies (including lots of greens and root vegetables), fruits from their orchard, and fresh-cut flowers, all grown without pesticides or chemicals.
Beyond produce, ShireFolk also espouses a pastured poultry model: Their laying hens and broilers provide pastured, GMO-free eggs and meat, and they’ve recently added turkeys to the poultry mix as well. They’re currently experimenting with applying the pastured model to pork, which means they’ll be ramping up their pork production in the next few years. And their four goats - two of which are set to kid, meaning their little herd will soon be expanding - provide them with delicious milk and lots of warm cuddles.
As ShireFolk grows, Logan and Emilie are focused on gradually adding and expanding their offerings. But unlike traditional farms focused on annual crops and harsh methodologies that deplete the soil, the couple has prioritized a permaculture approach to farming that mimics the no-waste, closed-loop systems that exist in nature. As they incorporate new elements into their farmscape, they recognize that anything new must fit within the farm’s existing systems in order to provide long-term food and financial security. Their efforts will allow the farm to develop and grow with the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems - while also providing delicious, sustainable food that fuels their family and community.
While the RVA community certainly benefits from the sustainable practices at ShireFolk, locals aren’t the only ones taking note of ShireFolk’s efforts. Earlier in 2018, Emilie and Logan were selected from over 250 applicants to receive a Food Animal Concerns Trust Grant! They have stated that the money from the grant will go towards improving the food and water systems for their poultry. Hooray!
Want In? Here’s How:
While ShireFolk is located just 45 minutes west of Short Pump, your best bet is to connect with Emilie, Logan, and their super-cute baby boy at your local farmers’ market.
Every Saturday from 8am to noon, you can check out their booth at the St. Stephen’s Farmers’ Market. During the summer season, you can also find them at at the Manakin Market on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. And of course, you can also place your weekly order with Making It Real to take advantage of delicious seasonal offerings from local farms, including ShireFolk!
Beyond meeting them at market, if you want to know more about this awesome couple, their blossoming farm, or their produce and protein offerings, you can visit them on the web, follow ShireFolk on Instagram, or join them on Facebook. You can also ask your burning questions by emailing them at ShireFolkFarm@gmail.com.