When you learn about the hard-working family behind Stonefield Farms, you’ll jump at the chance to support them and your health will be better for it! Jamie and Audra Smith and their six children credit their faith for bringing them to their current property of 17 acres in Buckingham County three years ago. While the land and house have presented them with tremendous challenges, they have tackled them head on and made impressive strides all for the sake of nourishing their family and community.
While all of the stones and debris on their property may have deterred some, the labor of love of working with their land to create their farm inspired the name of Stonefield Farms. The Smith family possesses an incredible ambition to consistently learn new skills and improve their efficiency on the farm. Every step towards self-sufficiency and increasingly profitable farming is taken to leave healthy, prosperous land and a farming livelihood to future generations of their family.
While both grew up in Chesterfield County, their exposure to homesteading differed considerably. Jamie learned a lot about gardening and animal husbandry from his grandparents and family friends, as well as some formal agriculture classes. Audra grew up in the suburbs, remarking, “I had no cooking skills. I could make sandwiches and mac and cheese from a box. I realized later that we all have to learn to cook because food brings us together. I also wanted a farming lifestyle for our children with space for them to roam and quality food.”
Jamie’s farming dream appealed to Audra as she knew a desk job and her Father’s around the clock availability to his job were not for her. She was inspired to plunge into self-study and experimentation in the kitchen and quickly learned it was cheaper and healthier to buy fresh local food in bulk to make large meals with leftovers. Audra began to focus her efforts on baking, especially artisan breads. She’s developed quite a following as customers taste the difference in using fresh, high quality real ingredients from the Smith farm and other local farms.
Jamie dived into researching sustainable growing practices and raising poultry for eggs and meat with Joel Salatin, Eliot Coleman, and Justin Rhodes serving as critical mentors. While the mobile chicken tractor coops he built entail some extra work, they enable their chickens to have access to fresh pasture which is critical to their health and yours! He has trialed different breeds and husbandry practices and is happy to report their last whole flock of Freedom Ranger chickens made it to processing!
It’s inspiring to see the growth of Stonefield Farms. The family is constantly refining their growing practices with permaculture and self-sustainability guiding their efforts. They grow a good assortment of vegetable plants through their homemade greenhouse. They offer lots of seasonal crops, with Jamie stating, “The key is variety, even if you offer a small amount of something, to keep the community happy and well fed.” They incorporate their own compost, including kitchen scraps, aged chicken manure, and wood chips to utilize resources from the farm. They are coordinating numerous sales venues that serve a wide demographic, including RVAg farmers markets and online marketplace, other local markets, and their website and farmstand.
They have so many exciting plans underway! They recently added a Great Pyrenees, Deborah, to their family. She will patrol their 4.5 acre fenced pasture. They are working towards a permanent farm stand and other critical infrastructure like a wash and pack station, walk-in cooler, woodshop, and a barn for additional livestock. Another future endeavor they’re exploring is starting a non-profit commercial kitchen in Dilwyn. What a tremendous resource this could be to the community! Not only would it provide a cost-effective kitchen, but it can serve as a learning space to help the community pursue healthy homesteading practices.
There are so many reasons to support the Smith family of Stonefield Farms. Purchasing their all natural baked goods, produce, poultry, and eggs supports their livelihood, their deep respect of the land, your health, and the community they love to serve!