• Kate Hanfling, Volunteer

Farm to Market: Preserving Hog Island Sheep

We hope you’re all enjoying all of the adorable #latteswithlambs content both on your screens and in person at the park! Today, though, it is both #endangeredspeciesday and #foodiefriday and though it might be hard news to um, swallow, the truth is that our farm animals are not pets. Farm animals have a long history of providing nutrition, clothing, and a source of labor to the farmers that care for them. There are campaigns such as The Livestock Conservancy’s Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em which highlights the usefulness of Hog Island Sheep’s wool. But it does come down to the fact most livestock is bred to eventually become food.

Yes, the sheep are cute and cuddly, but if we want to truly be conservationists and save Hog Island sheep from extinction, we need farmers (and not just historical organizations like the National Colonial Farm and George Washington’s Mount Vernon) to breed them. To be perfectly honest, this applies to American Milking Devons, Ossabaw Island hogs, and all of the breeds at the farm. We work with fantastic farmers such as Keith Ohlinger at Porch View Farm, Jeff and Ginny Adams at Walnut Hill Farm, Amie Herrera at Franchesca’s Dawn Farm, Abundance Farm and Sylvanaqua Farms, all of which work with our heritage breeds. But for farmers to want to breed these animals, they need to be profitable, and to be profitable, restaurants and butchers need to be able to serve them to the public. Still with us? Good!

Some of the lambs featured this year at the farm during our Lattes with Lambs celebration are available for sale, both as food and for breeding stock. If you are interested in purchasing Hog Island sheep, please contact our Livestock Manager Maryn Jordan.