an agroforestry system was a keystone part of our plan for The Shire. In the spring of 2016, we started planting the backbone of our agroforestry system: 10 plantings, each containing a grafted pecan, 3 oaks, 2 persimmons, 1 pawpaw, 4 apples, and 8 hazelnuts. The ultimate goal is to create a savanna that supports a diverse set of animals including sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, and bees.


weren’t always part of our vision, but in 2015, we picked up our first sheep with our minivan. We started with Barbados Blackbellies because of their parasite resistance and ability to forage well. We eventually added Katahdins to increase their finishing size. We chose to raise sheep for several reasons. Unlike cattle, sheep are a manageable size to raise without special infrastructure. We needed animals that would be easy on the trees. Cattle would easily push over trees and goats eat trees. Sheep have a long history of grazing under orchards. Finally, when a ewe weans her twins, she has essentially doubled her weight in one year, which is a very productive increase.

The Shire

captures our vision for our farm. Like J.R.R. Tolkien “I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour; I go to bed late and get up late . I do not travel much.”

We have many more plans for The Shire’s future. Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on our progress.

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