Sugar Mountain Farm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sugar Mountain Farm
Color picture of pig
Yorkshire x Berkshire Boar Big'Un at Sugar Mountain Farm
Formation 1992
Coordinates 44°07′31″N 72°20′24″W / 44.12528°N 72.34000°W / 44.12528; -72.34000Coordinates: 44°07′31″N 72°20′24″W / 44.12528°N 72.34000°W / 44.12528; -72.34000
New England
Products Pastured Pigs & Sheep
Owner Walter Jeffries

Sugar Mountain Farm is a 70-acre (28 ha)[1] pig farm established in 1992 in the mountains of rural West Topsham, Vermont. The farm is owned and run by Walter Jeffries and his family. It is the largest pastured pork farm in New England.[2][3][4]

Farming techniques[edit]

Sugar Mountain Farms educates other farmers and small livestock producers about low input methods of agriculture. Jeffries has written articles detailing the simple methods used and stories from their family farm. Sugar Mountain Farm has been featured in a number of articles in international,[5][6][7] national,[8][9] regional,[10][11][12] state[13][14][15][16][17] and local[18][19][20] newspapers, radio,[1] television[21][22][23] and magazines[24][25] as an example of sustainable agriculture.


Sugar Mountain Farm uses farming techniques based on observations of animals' activities, traditional farming methods from past centuries and applying scientific process. Animals are moved frequently among paddocks to maximize the growth and harvest of pasture during the short warm period of the northern climate. Rotation and chickens are put in the original pasture to manage insects. The sheep and pigs graze the grass and leave enriching manure that poultry pick through while also eating the more tender grass. In the winter the animals shelter in open dens and sheds using deep bedding of hay to replace the pasture providing protection from the cold and winds. Sheep do major brush clearing, pigs do the work of tilling, chickens weed and remove insect pests, dogs do guardian and herding duty.[26][27] According to Walter Jeffries, the farm owner, pasture makes up about 80% of the pigs's diet.[28] Pasture is supplemented as available with whey from butter, cheese and yogurt,[29] apples, pumpkins, sunflowers, eggs, spent barley and such as seasonally available without commercial hog feeds.

Sugar Mountain Farm has been working on eliminating boar taint from the farm's herds for over a decade through generations of selecting for low aggression, feeding a high fiber diet, extensive pasture management and biopsy testing[30] of adult boars in the farm's breeding program[31] Sugar Mountain Farm does not use castration to avoid boar taint. [32]

Techniques of managed rotational grazing are used just like with sheep, cattle and horses to prevent overgrazing and erosion. Parasites and worms are controlled through the use of co-grazing species such as poultry as well as natural anthelmintics like garlic, whey, pepper, pine and pumpkin.[33]According to Jeffies, in addition to being more sustainable and profitable, the pastured pig operation is more humane for both the pigs and the farmer.[34]


Sugar Mountain Farm appears in the new book "Primal Cuts: Cooking with America's Best Butchers" by Marissa Guggiana from Welcome Books.[35]

Sugar Mountain Farm appeared in the book "The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat" by Cole Ward from Chelsea Green Publishing.[36]

The book "The Complete Guide to Raising Pigs" by Carlotta Cooper published by Atlantic Publishing featured a case study of Sugar Mountain Farm.[37]

The Open Source Ecology is including the Sugar Mountain Farm on-farm USDA/State inspected slaughterhouse and butcher shop[38][39][40] in its project.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Keck, Nina (May 23, 2012). "Internet Fundraising Helps Farmers Flourish". Voice of American. Retrieved 2015-04-25. 
  2. ^ "NECN-TV Pig Farming Hits New Highs in Vermont". July 25, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ Jim Ruen. "Farm Show Magazine January 2010 issue: Sugar Mountain On-Farm Slaughterhouse". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ Diane Wells. "Farming – The Journal of Northeast Agriculture: Putting Pigs to Work". Archived from the original on 2011-07-10. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Polish Permaculture". February 8, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Country Magazine of Canada – Rural Delivery". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ "BBC Special featuring Sugar Mountain Farm Pork Cut Chart". Youtube. May 20, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Severson, Kim (July 22, 2008). "''NYT Local Dining''". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ "University of California Livestock Range News". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ Wells, Diane. "Farming Magazine". Farming Magazine. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ "WCAX-TV News". August 3, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Judy Simpson. "West Topsham Pig Farmer Expands Online". WCAX-TV. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Seven Days Newspaper "Sugar Mountain High"". April 28, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Champlain Business Journal "Pig farmer plans small-scale slaughterhouse"". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Burlington Free Press Editorial". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  16. ^ "WPTZ-TV Building A Small Scale Slaughterhouse". August 18, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ "''7Days Vermont Crop Circles''". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ The Bridge Weekly Newspaper 8/12/2010 issue
  19. ^ "''Times Argus Weed Eaters''". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  20. ^ "''Local Food Growers''". June 14, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ Jill Galvin (July 3, 2012). "Farm Turns from Fields to Web for Unique Project". WPTZ-TV. 
  22. ^ "Across The Fence". University of Vermont. July 5, 2012. 
  23. ^ "''H1N1 Flu''". April 30, 2009. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  24. ^ "The Trouble with Butchers". Vermont Life Magazine. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Ueber Pastured Pork". Local Banquet Magazine. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  26. ^ "VT Farm to Build Slaughterhouse". WCAX-TV. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm on Raising Pastured Pork". Agricultural Insights Podcast. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  28. ^ "The Practical Permaculture Pig". Acres USA Magazine April 2015 issue. 
  29. ^ Molly Hart, CNN. "Whey-ing Greek yogurt’s environmental impact". CBS News Channel 6. 
  30. ^ Josh Vaillancourt. "A Tale of Two Testes, the Boar Taint that Aint". On Pasture.  - It is also possible, when or if bringing in new blood, to have that boar tested while live, through a blood test (which can chemically measure the levels of androstenone and skatole present, and correlate to the levels detected by smell and taste) or even, as Walter Jeffries has done, take a tiny biopsy and test it.
  31. ^ Researcher Douglas L. Greger, PhD, Research Director, Templar Research and Development & Farmer Walter Jeffries. "Personal eMail Communications". 
  32. ^ Sam Brasch. "GMO Debate Aimed at Pig Testicles". Modern Farmer. 
  33. ^ Dr. Dahlia Jackson-O’Brien. "Pumpkin Seeds Do They Deworm" (PDF). Delaware State University Cooperative Extension. 
  34. ^ "Ueber Pastured Pork". Local Banquet Magazine. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Primal Cuts: Cooking with America's Best Butchers". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  36. ^ "The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat". Chelsea Green Publishing. 
  37. ^ Gizmo Graphics Web Design - "The Complete Guide to Raising Pigs by Carlotta Cooper published by Atlantic". Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  38. ^ Beth Hoffman (May 1, 2012). "Local Meat Butchering Goes Nano". Forbes Magazine. 
  39. ^ "Small Scale Slaughterhouses Aim to Put the Local Back in Local Meat". NPR. June 4, 2012. 
  40. ^ "On-farm Very Small Scale USDA/State Inspected Butcher Shop Project at Sugar Mountain Farm". April 28, 2008. 
  41. ^ "Open Source Project". Retrieved January 4, 2012.