P.O. Box 781
About the Farm
Leaping Waters Farm
P.O. Box 781
P.O. Box 781
Alleghany Springs, VA 24162
www.LeapingWatersFarm.com (under construction)
Sarah Bradford, M.D.
Leaping Waters is a 1000-acre farm in Southwest Virginia devoted to raising the highest quality meats. As the centerpiece to our farm, we raise Ancient White Park cattle, heritage breed turkeys and a variety of pigs, Large Blacks, Berkshires, English and American Saddlebacks, Red Wattles, Landrace, Ossbaw and "Blackshires". We also garden to support our family and our neighbors through a local CSA.
We are a sustainable, family farm and we believe that the quality of our products - the taste, texture, and health benefits - are wonderfully intertwined with the quality of life of our animals. That's why we let our animals graze in open fields of lush grasses. We treat our animals as well as possible and utilize the standards of Animal Welfare Approved. Our animals are heritage breeds; we raise these animals because they possess certain traits (black skin on the pigs, marbling ability of the cattle on diverse forage, for example) that allow them to thrive outdoors on pasture, without the added inputs of intensive agriculture (pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, off the farm feeds).
Sarah suggests, "The current status of the food industry in the US is unsustainable, it affects our health, our environment and it stifles our local economy. This isn't news, it's been apparent for decades, only now consumers are seeing they have a choice, and that choice doesn't have to consume half their paycheck."
Ancient White Park Cattle
We are one of a half dozen farms in the US who raise this storied breed. It is the oldest observed and recorded breed in the Western Hemisphere; King John 1st, upon eating his first loin of the Ancient White Park, drew his sword and knighted the dish, dubbing it 'Sir Loin'.
Our cattle are grass fed. Because the breed has been historically feral, they convert forage into excellently marbled meat. We give them free access to ample pasture and finish them on a mixture of grasses suited to the season, be it spring oats (the grass), winter rye, clover and millet in the summer or autumn's varied blends. We raise the steers around 30 months and then dry age them for 4 to 6 weeks.
Heritage Breed Turkeys
"I've worked with Alec for many years. The turkeys he raises for our customers are a highlight of our year," says Patrick Martins of Heritage Foods USA.
Last year we raised around 1600 heritage turkeys on pasture and are excited to make the flock a permanent addition to our farm. The breeds were the Black Spanish, Narragansett, Red Bourbon, Wishard Bronze, Chocolate and White Holland. They breed naturally and feed on a pasture of timothy, clover and alfalfa while being supplemented with a vegetarian feed blended at our local mill, the Big Spring Mill in Elliston, Va.
Big Blacks, Berkshires, and "Blackshires"
Large Black Hogs are remarkably well named. We try to keep the breeding stock on the trim side, around 400 pounds. Although quite playful they tend to lie around in the mud and shade in the warmer months, building layers of fat and a micro marbling that is wonderfully tender and flavorful. These are fantastic meat hogs whose loins, shoulders, ribs and bellies are palpably superior to their commercial cousins.
When renowned chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York City visited our farm for his television show Avec Eric, he remarked that, “The pigs … are allowed to roam the forests that surround the farm to eat wild plants, berries and acorns. The variation that nature supplies to their diet ensures a deep, complex flavor to the meat.”
We also raise Berkshires - known for their impressive hams - and cross them with the Blacks. This results in a large, long animal, the "Blackshire."
We run a meat CSA for the locals to buy our products at reduced prices. The CSA runs through the fall and winter and then again in the spring. Check out prices and contact information here.