Historic Ayrshire Farm is unique in the region as a working farm that has met the 21st Century with one foot firmly planted in the 19th. The Farm is a certified organic farm, specializing in rare and endangered breeds livestock and heirloom fruits and vegetables. It is a working manor farm, historically a place of efficiency, sufficiency, and serenity.
Ayrshire’s mission today is to bring livestock and crop production to both self-sufficiency and profitability. Additionally, there is a commitment to achieving these goals using Certified Humane®, organic, sustainable farming methods, preserving genetically viable herds of the various rare breeds, and contributing to seed pools for heirloom plants. The soil is being constantly amended with cover crops and compost from the three-acre compost facility. As a part of their training, the Ayrshire Shires help in the constant task of soil improvement, keeping the skills of horse-powered farming alive. Gentle Harvest and Hunter's Head Tavern are part of the Ayrshire Farm Family.
A versatile breed, Scottish Highland cattle, are known for their hardiness, having evolved and survived in the Scottish Highlands.While the picturesque horns and long hair give them a wild look, they are actually quite docile. Highlands enjoy great longevity with some herds averaging 12 calves from each cow. The cow is also known as an easy calver and a good mother.
Ancient White Park Cattle
Already an ancient breed, the bloodline of White Park cattle at Ayrshire is purely descended from the herd sequestered at Chillingham, Northumberland, England in the 13th Century. The “Wild White Cattle ” are usually pure white with black noses, ears, horns and feet, with an occasional recessive black animal.
Holstein and Jersey Calves
Our calves live and grow on lush pasture with free access to feed, shelter, companionship, water at all times, and milk twice a day. Rose Veal refers to the rosy color of the meat that results from this natural life-style, where calves have the freedom to exercise and eat a balanced diet. We use this term to illustrate the very clear effect humane treatment has on the resulting food product outcome. Veal calves are natural by-products of the dairy industry. Milk, cheese and other dairy products require cows to give birth to stimulate lactation. There is always a surplus of veal calves. These young dairy animals are treated as a liability and care for them is minimal. Living conditions in factory veal farms led to the new humane standard, with a result we refer to as Rose Veal. Veal calves that have the freedom to exercise and eat a balanced diet naturally produce “rosy” colored meat.
Gloucestershire Old Spot Hogs
Also known as the Orchard pig, the Gloucestershire was the typical of English slouch-eared, known to thrive on whey and windfalls. Considered a good farmer’s pig, it produces heavy hams and good bacon. It is a rare breed, thoroughly hardy, and a good grazing pig. The sows are noted for being docile and long-lived mothers.
The largest and strongest of the heavy horse breeds is the Shire. Weighing approximately one ton, they are capable of pulling enormous loads and have a willing disposition. These spectacular and elegant animals are the tallest of all horse breeds. Despite their large size, they are extremely gentle and docile, and have excellent temperaments. Many of our horses have been bred and raised here at Ayrshire. Currently, Ayrshire Farm manages 17 Shires, participating in draft horse shows and carriage driving shows.
Welcome to the world of sustainable agriculture and organic gardening. At Ayrshire Farm we consider ourselves stewards of the earth. We are committed to the health and well being of our animals, of one another and of the earth.
Farmers have practiced organic gardening for thousands of years. It is only in the later half of the 20th century, with the development and uses of chemical pesticides, that many are now returning to organic practices because of the healthy results they yield. The natural biodiversity of a *self-sustaining farm creates an organic environment - an environment that focuses on prevention. Chemical pesticides and their usage only treat symptoms of a problem; they cannot cure it. It is biodiversity that enables organic practices to work.
Ayrshire Farm® Clean Dirt ™ Compost is Produced in compliance with the National Organic Program standards. Our compost is made with cow, horse, and poultry manure along with grass clippings (main nitrogen source) in combination with straw, hay, and fine wood shavings to achieve a final 20:1 carbon and nitrogen ratio.
The raw material is arranged in windrows where temperature and moisture levels are monitored daily and turned accordingly. These production methods are in compliance with the National Organic Program, therefore, the resulting product can be applied to organic vegetable gardens at any time prior to, or during harvest.
The composting pad was built with a one-way slope and a one-percent grade. It is sited to maximize the northwest air flow among rows. The tree line at the bottom of the pad serves to buffer leachates, removing the need for a holding pond. Wind rows are built with a variety of organic materials using a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 30:1.
The turning of the wind rows is scheduled to achieve the desired results for microbial activity (CO2 measurement), temperature and moisture content. Equipment used in our operation includes the Aeromaster PT-120 Compost Turner, the Aeromaster WT-1000 Series water tank and inoculation unit.