Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who we are...Our Mission and Philosophy

My husband, Tim, and I purchased our current property, now known as Rainbow's End Farm, in 2005. The farm was a major fixer upper as it had been in foreclosure and sadly neglected. We moved our horses here, ourselves, and pitched in building fences, replacing the roof on both house and barn, and making many other farm improvements. To own such a place seemed like a dream come true to us. In 2007 I quit working in corporate accounting and went into business for myself here boarding horses as well as breeding our rare Spanish Mustangs. The business grew somewhat and changed as I did some training for others as well as offered farrier services. Recently I have done less and less boarding as the economy has driven more and more people out of the horse business and our location farther out in the "boonies" puts us at a competitive disadvantage. This past summer, we made a major step in diversifying our farm and entered the pastured poultry market and have since diversified even more.


A few years ago I found out that I have Celiac Disease...I cannot eat gluten...a substance found in wheat and some other grains. I had suffered a lifetime of IBS trouble, allergies, autoimmune related issues, and digestive upsets. To finally know the cause and the treatment...a gluten free diet...was a huge relief. I found though that the more I read and researched on food, what is in it, how it is raised, the more upsetting it became to me. I was literally forced to read every single label on every item at the grocery store. In disgust at how much junk is really in the processed foods, I turned more towards cooking for myself and researching options. After reading Michael Pollan's book, "The Omnivores Dilemma," my eyes were opened even more to the utter craziness of the food industry's dependence on corn and raising animals in CAFO's or confinement being fed yet more corn. Featured in the book was Polyface Farm in Virginia only 5 hours away engaged in raising animals on "pasture."

Intrigued, we took a trip up to the Shenandoah Valley and visited Polyface Farm. Polyface Farm, owned by Joel Salatin, was one of the earliest of the "alternative" and sustainable farmers in Virginia and is featured in both that book and the more recent documentary, "Food Inc." As I walked aroud the farm in wonder...I saw chickens laying in the sun, pecking and scratching...hundreds of them. There was no smell of manure, no filth...the cleanliness was amazing. Everywhere we went, we saw happy, clean and healthy animals and we were welcomed to walk around and see it all for ourselves. It reminded me so much of my childhood where we raised our own animals for meat...animals living outside as they were meant to stirred something in me and made me realize what I had lost...what we all have lost and particularly what the animals have lost.... We went with one cooler and should have taken another. The meat was delicious and tasty compared to what we were used to from the grocery store. It was an eyeopening experience and planted a seed that I wanted to nurture. After eating the grass fed meat, we were quite certain that is how we were buying our food.

So, after a lot of research, I decided to start with something "easy"...I bought 75 heritage breed chickens..hens and roosters...and decided to try my hand at this. There was a bit of a learning curve and thankfully I had friends to call upon for help to learn how to "train" chickens to leave the coop (not something they will do on their own) as well as how to slaughter and process the chickens. Those first roosters were small at 12 weeks but I did my first batch of chickens, got them cleaned, packaged and frozen, and offered them for sale. We sold out. Our second batch we went with a pasture broiler strain called Freedom Rangers which are the same genetics as the French Label Rouge Poultry. We have raised two batches of these chickens and sold about a third of the meat to date with almost no marketing and many repeat buyers. The meat is excellent in taste and texture and so different from anything you can get in a grocery store that it's hard to believe it. I had one customer almost compare the meat to a good wine in that it has a sure has been a great experience for me and I'm enjoying farming in a way I never imagined. Bringing high quality products to other people is an immensely satisfying occupation as is raising the animals in humane and natural way...watching chickens scratch, run, dust-bathe and forage....and know that they had the best life possible and a humane end. I can feel good about what I'm eating again.

Something that we wish to do also that is different from some of the other pasture growers is that we really are not interested in raising production strains of animals...for example the Cornish Cross broilers which are the same strain as the factory farm chickens. They grow very fast and are plagued with health and growth problems, have few natural instincts to thrive in a free range system, and really are not as tasty as the slower growing and better foraging strains of pasture broilers. The Production strains of turkeys also grow exceptionally fast and require artificial insemination to procreate. Production turkeys are known for having virtually no survival instincts at all and are very difficult to raise. Perhaps my feelings on heritage breeds versus modern hybrid strains are somewhat affected by my dedication to preserving Spanish Mustangs...a landrace breed of horses in the Colonial Spanish horse family. Our horses are on the ALBC's list as critical, and I am sure that has a lot to do with it...but it is painful to see the old fashioned farm breeds disappear in favor of the faster growing hybrids which are more productive for the farmers. It's certainly easy to see why any farmer would want more return for his time and money and grow a production animal but at the same time, there has to be some consideration given to the tastes of the past also and to preserve these priceless genetics. No production strain hybrid tastes as good as the slower growing heritage animals...their unique attributes as food animals will be lost if someone doesn't raise them and preserve them for the future. So...bleeding hearts for a sad story or not...that is the direction we will try and go as much as we can with our farm, the animals we raise, and the products we offer.
We chose the spiral, an ancient spiritual symbol which represents the cycle of life, creation and growth, as the logo for our farm. Somehow it seems to fit with our own philosophy that all things are connected and related and should be in harmony. We want very much to farm gently on the land, to help heal it, keep it healthy and fertile, and live in accord with the natural world as best we can. I think in our time there is a renewed awareness of the importance of such things and the need for sustainability particularly in farming...that which produces our food and is so vital to our survival and the future of this planet. That is also our goal here as well, and decisions we make on how to farm and raise our animals are not just made with our profit in mind but what impact it has on our land as well as the quality of life for the animals in our care.
We have a news page and will add updates to products and offerings there as well. We wish to thank everyone who has supported us in getting started and as we go forward.

Sharon Sluss

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall softly on your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Traditional Irish blessing

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