Polyface is a family farm established by William and Lucille Salatin. Located southwest of Staunton, Virginia, in the scenic Shenandoah Valley, the farm is currently operated by Lucille Salatin, son Joel and his wife Teresa, their daughter Rachel, and their son Daniel and his wife Sheri. William’s father, Frederick Salatin, was a charter subscriber to Organic Gardening and Farming magazine, and was a master gardener and craftsman from Indiana.
When William and Lucille Salatin moved to the Virginia farm in 1961 they brought the Salatin tradition of organic farming with them. Joel and his family are the third generation to continue the principles based on the belief that God created the Earth and humanity as its steward, to nurture, protect and embellish. This philosophy precludes the use of toxic chemicals, debasing substances, and erosive practices, and instills instead an insatiable thirst for agricultural truth.
The truth manifests itself in natural principles of plant and animal life. The farm should capitalize on these laws rather than fight against them. Roughly 550 acres, the farm is about 100 acres of open land and the balance is wooded. Polyface Farm produces “beyond-organic,” grass-fattened beef, home-grown broilers, pastured turkeys, firewood, eggs, rabbits and vegetables. The Salatins are full-time farmers who are not independently wealthy; they rely on the farm for their sustenance, and have developed production, processing and marketing systems that make an end-run around agriculture’s roadblocks.
The Salatins are enthusiastic and optimistic about farming. Joel has written several books ─ Pastured Poultry Profits, Salad Bar Beef, You Can Farm, Family Friendly Farming, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, and The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, and Fields of Farmers ─ all describing how his family manages their farm and how anyone willing to work hard can farm successfully and healthfully.
Now, the world is learning about Polyface through the award-winning documentaries Food, Inc. and Fresh, the Movie as well as the films American Meat and Polyfaces.
Firsthand Learning from Joel Salatin
Visitors to Polyface Farm, both in-person and “virtual” through video learning, see enterprises such as . . .
Pastured broilers — Moveable range shelters protect chicks from predators and weather, while giving fresh daily forage and lounge areas. The farm’s centerpiece enterprise. Net $1,500 per acre in 6 months. Pastured turkeys in feathernets too.
Pastured layers (Feathernets & Eggmobiles) — Two models; two objectives. Portable hoop schooners attached to automatic watering and bulk feeders surrounded by electrified netting reduces chores and increases control. One person working 7 hours per week on 5 acres nets $10,000 per year. Eggmobiles follow cattle to sanitize paddocks and convert insects to cash.
Salad bar beef — Mimicking natural grazing principles of herbivore herds, forage-fattened cattle create healthy land and healthy people. Fencing, corrals, and grazing management double or triple production per acre without large input costs.
Pigaerator pork — Compost-turning and forest-to-savannah conversion, the ultimate workaholic. Net $3,000 per acre and get rid of the heavy metal machinery.
Forage-based rabbits — Drug-free and linebred, Daniel Salatin’s meat rabbits incorporate stacking and symbiosis in the “Raken” house, and lots of grass.
Portable bandsaw mill — Enjoy utility logs turned into first rate lumber for sale or on-farm building projects. A small farm profit center at $400 per day.
Ponds & irrigation — Silt for fertilizer. Flood prevention. Harnessing more solar energy to synergize the biomass decomposition cycle. Hyper grass growth. Drought-proofing pastures. It’s the next big thing.
On-farm processing — Poultry and rabbits can be processed on-farm. See how the Salatins perform this task efficiently and cleanly.
Relationship marketing — On-farm customers, weekly restaurant deliveries, metropolitan buying clubs, agent-designated farmers’ markets and special wholesaling. Utilizing agents, subcontractors, and other connections, Polyface Farm moves nearly $300,000 worth of products from 100 acres per year.
Leasing farms & adding subcontractors — Scaling up production in an anti-Wall Street business model utilizes nearby farms and former apprentices in a grand land healing performance. You will visit one of these operations.