Feb 9, 2021
Last week we spent some time at Ovoka Farm in Paris, Virginia, learning a few things about what it takes to run a working livestock farm. And come to find out, it ain't easy. However, Cindy had an amazing time learning about raising livestock from her sister, Karen (a former high-powered attorney from Chicago), and came away energized by the whole experience with a desire to 10X her life raising livestock and working the land in a sustainable way. Listen to the Podcast here.
We have to take responsibility for what we make, from birth to death and then beyond death, back to re-birth, what the architect, designer, and author Bill McDonough calls “cradle to cradle.”‘Let My People Go Surfing’, by Yvon Chouinard, page 115
Ovoka Farm Cindy was recently recruited to help her sister, Karen, with her livestock farm in Paris, Virginia. Ovoka Farm is a beautiful place to visit in the Virginia country side on pretty much any day of the week, and we were fortunate to be there when the first snow of 2021 arrived. After Cindy got a taste of feeding cows, and especially the baby ones, she came away totally stoked and ready to become a farmer herself one day…ok today, right now! Apparently, there are many aspects of the care and feeding of livestock that appeal to Cindy, not to mention how much she enjoys feeding a baby cow with a bottle.
Farm Management Running a farm is serious business. You really have to have your ducks in a row, so to speak. Fortunately, the Ovoka Farm cows are outstanding in their field! The wagyu and angus varieties of beef they produce are a veritable dinner delight, one you would be hard-pressed to experience at the fanciest of steak restaurants. But bringing this delectable meat to your table is a supreme managerial and logistical challenge. Keeping track of the feed schedule alone is a full-time job, not to mention the complex scheduling involved in rotating cows between fields to allow pasture regeneration, fertilization, etc. Truth be told, I think the management challenges of farm life appeal to Cindy and Karen more than the one-off evolution of an overly friendly cow gene. Bovine punctuated equilibria is a thing, apparently.
Conclusion In this day and age of big-box grocery stores and an almost complete lack of awareness of where our food comes from, how it was treated and raised, how old it is, etc, it is refreshing to have had such an intimate look at a working livestock farm that takes such loving care of the animals it raises. Paris, Virginia, is also a very beautiful part of the country to raise happy, healthy cows in.