Ensuring the future of agriculture through promotion of endangered breeds of livestock.
Welcome to Hudson Heritage Farms, LLC !
We are a small family owned and operated farm located in southside Virginia. Our interests are in heritage breeds of animals and sharing our farming experiences through agritourism. Our farm raises Highland Cattle, Horned Dorset Sheep, Red Wattle Swine, Boer Goats, and various breeds of chickens and other critters. We sell natural pasture raised goat, lamb, pork and beef, and periodically have breeding stock available.
Our products are 100% made in America. No imported meat! Remember to buy local and support our farmers.
Denise S. and David Ray Hudson
14242 River Road
South Boston, VA 24592
There is no doubting the fact with their stocky appearance, sweeping horns and eyes that peep out through long shaggy fringes, Highland Cattle win hearts and are favourites amongst animal lovers around the World.
What isn't so obvious is the hardiness of this ancient breed. They were born and bred to deal with the extreme weather conditions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland making them the hardiest breed of cattle in the world today.
Scottish Highland Cattle, Conservation Status: Recovering
Buffy our fold matron and baby Zeus
The Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed.
Originally there were two distinct classes; the slightly smaller and usually black Kyloe, whose primary domain was the islands off the west coast of northern Scotland. The other was a larger animal, generally reddish in color, whose territory was the remote Highlands of Scotland. Today both of these strains are regarded as one breed.
This “Grande Old Breed” can be traced to the first herd book being published in 1885 by the Highland Cattle Society in Scotland. Archaeological evidence of the Highland breed goes back to the sixth century, with written records existing from the twelfth century. The first recorded importation into the United States occurred in the late 1890’s when western cattlemen recognized the need to improve the hardiness of their herds.
The double hair coat (long, coarse outer layer and soft wooly inner layer) is one of the most notable differences between Highlands and other breeds. The coat reduces the need for expensive barns and
Due to the double hair coat, this breed does not need a heavy layer of backfat for insulation. This allows the animal to marble naturally on low input forage while producing lean, low fat, high quality cuts of beef.
Highlands shed out earlier in the spring and produce less hair in a warmer climate, making them suitable for a variety of environments.
Easy Handling: Highlands have a long history of living with humans. Early Scots would keep the family cow(s) inside their homes during the winter. A woven wattle fence would separate the animal’s living areas from that of its owners, with both sharing the added warmth. Highlands tend to be docile and calm and do not stress easily. They are easy to work with despite their long horns. The horns are used primarily for knocking down brush to graze, predator control and scratching. Horns on females are generally upswept and finer textured than those on the males. Male horns are more forward pointing and massive.
Exceptional Mothering and Calving Ease: Highland cows are noted for being highly devoted and protective mothers. They are noted for calving ease. Due to small calf size (60-70 pounds), calving difficulty (dystocia) is less common. Cows may produce into their late teens reducing the need for frequent herd replacement.
New little red wattles at Hudson Heritage Farms.
The Red Wattle hog is a large, red hog with a fleshy, decorative, wattle attached to each side of its neck that has no known function. They were quite popular in the US in the 1700s, but unfortunately, as settlers moved west, the breed began to fall out of favor because settlers came into contact with breeds that boasted a higher fat content. Red Wattle hogs are known for their hardiness, foraging activity, and rapid growth rate. They adapt well to a wide range of climates, making them a good choice for consideration in outdoor or pasture-based swine production. Red Wattle pork is exceptionally lean and juicy with a rich beef-like taste and texture.
Red Wattle Hog Conservation Status: Critical
Although the history of the Red Wattle is not clear.There are lots of possibilities on who, what, where, and when. It is clear however that H.C. Wengler of Texas found a few and started redeveloping the breed in the late1960's and early 1970's. He found the "Wangler Red Waddle Hog". Notice the spelling with "dd" instead of "tt" he did that so his line could be kept seperate from the rest. Mr. Wangler is credited with starting the Red Wattle movement.
When the hog market went crazy in the early 1980's Red Wattle's emerged. The Timberline, Robert Prentice found this herd in East Texas as well and named it as such because of the woods there. During this time the Red Wattles were used on lots of farms as crosses, providing bigger, leaner hogs. At one point there were 100 people involved with Red Wattles. In 1999 however there were only 42 breeding animals left belonging to 6 breeders.
Denise's Transition to a Woman Farmer
From designer clothes and accessories, and living in an area where gourmet restaurants and markets where within a short distance, to living in the middle of a hay pasture, wearing Carharts and Muc boots; it is challenging and interesting to see what I am capable of accomplishing as my life unfolds as a woman farmer. Sometimes I ask myself, did I secretly harbor an underlying need to live a simpler life, or a need to see if I could succeed at working with the land and animals? I have read that since most of us are only generations removed from an agrarian background, many have an underlying desire to live a rural lifestyle. I guess I am one of those people, because as long as I can remember, I wanted to move to the country and live on a farm, and that is exactly what I did.
Now I wake up each morning eager to get outside and begin the never ending tasks that are part of my daily routine of molding our farm in Virginia into a healthy, sustainable, and respectful atmosphere. As my friends of years come to visit me, they are amazed at how I have adjusted, and consistently comment on how hard a farmer’s daily responsibilities and work load really is. Although my old friends say they enjoy looking at the heritage cows, pigs, sheep, donkeys, chickens, bees, and goats, they don’t really want to get too close to the animals or my garden. At a time in life where many friends are retiring and living their dreams of less work and more play… I have chosen more work, physical labor, and a sometimes demanding but always changing and interesting life style. What I have found I am capable of doing (with the help of Mother Nature), consistently amazes me. I sleep well each night (except when the coyotes are lingering on the outskirts of my goat pastures).
Today I take a few minutes to watch the news and find that a popular brand of supermarket eggs and several meat products are contaminated with samonella or e-coli and being recalled. I wander out to my chicken coop and thank the girls for their daily deposit of farm fresh eggs, and reflect upon how lucky I am to have such good hens. It’s a “yen and yang farm thing” as I have forgotten how just a month ago they scratched up my fresh herb patch and left their unwanted deposits on our porch.
Upon moving to the farm a dear friend wanted to know if we were getting a tractor. I hadn’t told her that we had gotten rid of our luxury car and now were the proud owners of a big orange tractor! One of her “bucket list” items was to drive a farm tractor. When she came to the farm to visit this spring, she was wearing white pants; and although I longingly looked at her trendy clothes, I was reminded how differently our lives had become and how I had changed. It wasn’t too long ago that I would have felt the needed to wear the latest spring fashion to feel good about myself. I still like trendy clothes, but look at them in a different light now; like how many goats I can buy for the price of one designer purse or pair of pants. After giving my dear friend a brief lesson on tractor safety, off she went across our pasture in her white pants and beaming smile. Now she thinks her grandson might enjoy coming with her on the next visit to the farm, and she thinks perhaps she could help during the goat kidding and sheep lambing season.
Another old friend who maintains a stress ridden sixty plus hour work week recently put my transition to farm life into words for me when she said, your life is simple (she did not know I was up all night worried about a sick animal) but meaningful on a daily basis…”simple but meaningful,” I like the way she put it. Her comment reminded me that we can make life less complicated, and that we can learn to live a less complex and hectic life style if we choose to do so. It is possible to learn new things like growing and raising ones own food like our ancestors did before us. All it requires is the desire to change and learn, patience, flexibility, physical labor (who needs a gym for exercise when you live on a farm), and the daily ability to laugh at ones self when mistakes are made.
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The Boer goat was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Their name is derived from the Dutch word "Boer" meaning farmer. The Boer goat was probably bred from the indigenous goats of the Namaqua Bushmen and the Fooku tribes, with some crossing of Indian and European bloodlines being possible. They were selected for meat rather than milk production.
Nutrition-wise, goat meat is a wonder. A similarly sized serving has a third fewer calories than beef, a quarter fewer than chicken and much less fat: up to two-thirds less than a similar portion of pork and lamb; less than half as much as chicken.
Bhutanese legend about the origin of the Yak
Kushi, Hudson Heritage Farms Yak
Long ago and far away in the land of India, lived two sister water
buffalos. They were content, grazing on grass as water buffalos do, until
one of them said, "Sister, I have heard the grass in the Himalayas is much
greener and much better than the grass we are eating here. If you go and
fetch some for us, I will wait here and be very grateful on your return."
The other sister accepted this proposition and left for the long journey.
Days, months, and years went by, but the sister never returned. She had
found the grass in the Himalayas so tasty (and the terrain so beautiful)
that she grew a long coat of wool and decided to stay in the mountains.
And so, this story explains two things: the origin of yaks, and the reason
why water buffalo crane their necks and peer into the distance. They are
still waiting for their sister to return.
The yak, Bos grunniens, is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia, Russia, and India. Yaks were introduced into the United States in the 1920's and there are currently an estimated 6000 being raised here. Yaks are milked for their very rich milk which is used primarily for production of butter and cheese. Yak meat is perhaps the healthiest and tastiest beef alternative on the market today. Their fat layer is concentrated on the outside, and once trimmed Yak's unique tender meat remains with just a fraction of the fat content of cattle. This makes for an ideal combination of low cholesterol, saturated fats, and calories but high poly-unsaturated fats, protein and iron. These proportions of fatty acids give Yak meat it's sweet and delicious flavor with the juiciness we all enjoy. The taste of Yak meat is notably more delicate than beef. Wool and Hair production is an added bonus for this wonderful species. Whether you card and knit with your own wool, or simply choose to sell your wool, you will appreciate this wool that is comparable to angora or cashmere in its superiority and feel
Horned Dorset Sheep, Conservation Status: Threatened
The Horned Dorset is known as the "mother breed" of all sheep for its great mothering and milking ability. Dorset ewes are today considered the greatest milkers of all sheep, and their lambs grow very rapidly on the rich, abundant milk. Dorsets, unlike most other breeds of sheep, which generally lamb once a year in March or April, have the genetic ability to breed year round, and three lamb crops in two years is not uncommon.
Horned Dorsets are the "original" Dorsets and have two horns which curl or curve forward. "Polled" Dorsets, those without horns, occurred from a genetic mutation in a flock held by North Carolina State College in the 1950s.
Dorsets are extremely hardy and productive animals, producing a desirable carcass, medium white wool, abundant milk and fast-growing, numerous offspring, making them a good choice for a small family farm.
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