Emilie and Logan Tweardy are committed to growing healthy food for their community and respecting their land and animals in the process. It was quite an adventure of self-discovery, formal education, and hands-on experience to reach their ultimate destination of owning their own farm. After attending college with a focus on Natural Resource Management and environmental education, they pursued work in a variety of helping professions. Ultimately, they were drawn to their shared love for food and a true calling to have a positive impact on their community.
Farming was an effortless decision but an effortful undertaking! Emilie describes the farming field as “approachable and a good place to help others establish good habits.” Their approach to raising animals and growing food was shaped and clarified by devoting time to working on other farms and a tremendous amount of research. They found that learning what not to do was often the most valuable lesson.
In 2015 they made the big decision to purchase farmland and by 2016 ShireFolk Farm began serving the community! The name was inspired by Tolkien’s depiction of the hobbits’ simple self-sufficient life in the Shire, a refuge of peace and quiet. That’s the environment they value for themselves and their animals. They prioritize the health and quality of life of their poultry by rotating them to fresh pasture. They also have pasture-raised lamb and turkey available in the Fall. All of their eggs, meat and produce are GMO free.
Somehow this hard-working family, now with a three year old and another on the way, additionally grow Certified Naturally Grown produce and mushrooms! Emilie and Logan appreciate the grassroots model of this certification in which farmers certify other farmers and the standards are high. Emilie also teaches Permaculture through the Shenandoah Permaculture Institute and provides consultations to other landowners, homesteaders, and farmers. When asked to describe Permaculture, she stated “Nature serves as a model to help us create more resilient systems. It helps you to be a part of the landscape. It has inspired us to think more critically before making changes and has helped us deviate from an instant gratification culture.”
This inspiring couple clearly takes pride in the work they do with Emilie describing it this way: “I am brimming over with gratitude for my lifestyle of learning, loving, and living the good life.” The holidays serve as a special time of thankfulness. They have to ensure the turkeys they spent so much time nurturing and raising are delivered on time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Emilie recalled last year’s holiday season by stating, “It makes me reflect on how our little dream of a farm became a reality and that thousands of people are enjoying our food that day. We can be a part of their holiday celebration.”
Customers tend to linger at the Shirefolk booth at farmers markets because Emilie and Logan know a lot about cooking! They are always sharing recipes and ideas for cooking simple, delicious meals. Visit the ShireFolk Farm website and search for them on the RVAg online marketplace. You can get both your healthy sources of protein and produce from this local farming family who truly value your health and sustainable agriculture practices!