Frohloff Farms raises pastured hogs, poultry and goats supplemented with a corn/soy free grain on conservation land overlooking the scenic Ware River in Ware, MA.
Our story begins in 2012 when Billy St Croix took control of a run down 95-acre farm. Once a country estate in 1850, the farm products were valued at $3,000; by 1880, the farm’s output had doubled in value. In 1880, the farm produced 600 pounds of butter, 2000 pounds of cheese, and 750 dozen eggs. Clearly, the farm’s output in these years was integrated into the manufacturing economy of Ware, as farm products fed the hands who worked in the mills. The property had been out of active agriculture for decades. Billy and his friends had some limited experience in farming, but all had a passion for land conservation, a healthy food chain, overall sustainability and the proper treatment of all aspects of our environment. The group led by Billy, were unified in their mutual interest to find an environmentally sustainable, economically viable use for the property.
Today Frohloff Farms manages close to 15 acres of prime agricultural land. We have added poultry, and sell eggs, chicken broilers, turkeys, freedom ranger chickens, ducks and goats. In addition, we make hay & grass silage to feed our animals, and compost to fertilize our pastures. Any surplus is sold in the local farm community. Frohloff Farms products are available at local farmer’s markets, in specialty stores and restaurants, as well as directly off the farm.
Billy St. Croix is a bit of a jack of all trades who has worked in construction, landscaping, HVAC, and started farming in 2012 with some limited experience. He first became interested in the food chain, and its impact on health and the environment, many years earlier when he began investigating an ailment that affected a loved one. It turned out it was Celiac disease, which effects genetically pre-disposed people when they eat foods containing gluten.
Billy is convinced that changes in our food chain have led to an increase in conditions such as Celiac disease. For example, most livestock in the U.S. is fed soy and corn. 100 years ago, livestock were not eating the abundance of soy and corn present in today’s livestock diet. In addition to the type of food/grain fed to the livestock, most corn and soy produced for livestock has been genetically modified. All of this leads to changes in the livestock, and then we consume the livestock, and are negatively impacted by these changes in countless ways.
Back to Nature and Organic
A key objective when taking over the farm in 2012 was for the animals eat as they did 100 years ago, and for thousands of years prior. They forage in the woods, and are fed organic grain that does not contain corn or soy. They enjoy room to run and exercise. The pigs give birth in simple dwellings, and although each piglet translates to money on a farm, more perish due to natural causes than is typical in a traditional hog farm where sows are penned up for weeks, unable to move as they nurse their young through a grate. All of the livestock on Frohloff farm are certified by the U.S.D.A as organic.
According to Wikipedia, “Sustainable agriculture is the act of farming based on an understanding of ecosystem services, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices, having a site-specific application that will last over the long term”, for example:
- Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
- Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends.
- Make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources, and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.
- Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
- Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
Farms, food, our land and natural resources are constantly being depleted. As technological, biological and medical sciences advance, we are getting farther away from the source of our food, and having an understanding and appreciation for it. The East Quabbin Land Trust is an organization that works to foster the sustainable use of our natural and historical resources, for the benefit of all generations, through the conservation and stewardship of the farmlands, woodlands, and waters in our region of Mass. The Frohloff farm was built about 1810, and for a period exceeding two hundred and seventy-five years, the property changed hands more than fifteen times and yet, the only family to own the farm through multiple generations was the Frohloff family. It was lived in by three generations for nearly one hundred years, from 1913 until 2007.
The property was uninhabited, and the land had gone fallow after decades of neglect. The property was on the market and could have been purchased for the purpose of subdivision and property development. Due to following conservation criterion, EQLT made the decision to purchase the property in 2010:
- The land is at the southern end of the Dougal Range, a wildlife and recreation focus area;
- The property abuts the Lincoln property (175 acres) to the north that is conserved with a conservation restriction (held by EQLT) and an Agricultural Preservation Restriction;
- The property includes frontage along the Ware River, which is designated as priority habitat by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program;
- The land encompasses a large portion of the Zone 2 watershed for the Town of Ware’s Dismal Swamp well head, which supplies approximately 25% of the Towns water daily;
- The property includes a quarter mile section of the rail bed for the Mass Central Rail Trail;
- Over twenty acres of abandoned farmland will be rejuvenated with assistance from local farmers and the community to provide local food; and
- Conservation of the farm will maintain the rural character of Church Street, a major entrance-way to the Town of Ware.
Taking over the Frohloff farm in partnership with EQLT provided the perfect opportunity to preserve and use the land in a sustainable way, and provide a working farm that is accessible to the community. Events and workshops are held on the property several times a year. They focus on natural farming practices, food and nutrition, land conservation and sustainable practices.
Feeding bins containing organic foods appropriate for the livestock are situated along the fence on Church Street. This will give the folks that stop to look at the livestock a chance to feed and interact with the animals without compromising the U.S.D.A Organic certification.
Please come visit us, either at the farm or at the markets.
In today’s market there are a number of labels used to describe sustainable meats. Frohloff Farms raises pastured/forage fed hogs, poultry and goats supplemented with a corn/soy free grain.
All of our hogs are born on the farm, raised on mother’s milk and naturally weaned on lush pastures. The herd is carefully selected for genetics that will thrive in a pasture/forage-nature based system. During the summer months the herd is rotationally grazed on our carefully managed pastures. For winter feed we grow, harvest and store specially planted grasses in the form of dry hay and grass silage. We do not use hormones or add prophylactic antibiotics to our feed. We supplement with organic non soy/corn grain. We avoid pesticides and fertilize the pastures with our own manure, chicken droppings and farm made compost.
All of our livestock are slaughtered and processed in USDA facilities in Massachusetts. Our farm management plan is approved by NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) and all our practices reviewed by DEM (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management). In compliance with the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health we also hold a Retail Food Peddlers License which allows us to sell through stores and restaurants.
All cuts can be purchased at the farm store. A limited selection is available at the farmer’s market. If you don’t see what you want at the market, call and we will bring it for you.
- Pastured pork cooks faster than grain-fed pork and requires a different temperature.
- Steaks and chops should be cooked for less time. Cook roasts low and slow.
- Also, see the Pork Cuts Chart above, which shows images of the cuts and cooking methods.
Typical Half Hog Pork Cuts
- 1 lb. tenderloin
- 12-14 lbs. of pork chops
- 1-2 packages of spare ribs or 3.5 lbs. total
- 3 shoulder roasts or steaks (12 lbs. total)
- 2 hocks/shank
- 6-10 lbs. ground pork and/or sausage
- 1 ham (15-18 lbs. total)
- 8-10 lbs. bacon
- 4 lbs. lard
- Additional pckgs. include feet, neckbones, jowl, and liver
20lb freezer boxes are also available for those who would like to buy quantity. Each package contains a mix of cuts. All our products are cryo wrapped and sold frozen. Boxes are pre-packaged so must be pre-ordered either at the store or online. For orders over $350 we will deliver.
Commodity poultry practices have a lot in common with commodity hogs. Birds are raised in enormous, overcrowded, enclosed pens with little light, no exercise and medicated feed. Because of the scale and resulting conditions commodity birds are also more prone disease and bacteria such as salmonella.
Our broiler chickens are raised in mobile outdoor pens with built in coops called “chicken tractors”. The “tractors” are placed in recently vacated cow pasture and are moved daily. Our birds never lack fresh ground nor their favorite meal: bugs and insect eggs. They have plenty of light, air, fresh water & exercise and are protected from predators. (We have a healthy hawk population.) We supplement their diet with soy/corn free grain but do not medicate the feed. We have freedom ranger chickens, ducks, layer chicken and turkeys that have 100% free range of the pasture.
Aside from bird health, raising poultry outdoors has a beneficial impact on our pastures. Chicken droppings are nitrogen rich and excellent fertilizer.
Frohloff Farms Store
Home freezer boxes, a full range of individually wrapped beef cuts, whole and half chickens and compost can be purchased directly at our farm store.
Please Call Ahead!
236 Church Street
Ware, Ma 01082
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