My travel companion (aka sister) and I were fortunate enough to visit two farms this past week: Dominion Valley Farm & Three Sisters Community Farm.
Our first stop was Dominion Valley Farm in Allenton, Wisconsin, located ~40 miles Northwest of Milwaukee. Dominion Valley Farm raises turkeys, chickens, pigs, & beef cattle. I first learned about Dominion after meeting them at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market at State Fair Park. My boyfriend swears by their bacon; he purchased it from them almost every week this winter. When we arrived we were greeted by Brandon Dykema who owns and runs the farm along with his wife Tammera and their sons Gabriel, Caleb, Alek & Micah.
When we pulled up to the farm, I first noticed the pasture. Thick, lush grasses engulfed the rolling hills throughout the farm. The animals were given plenty of open space and fresh air, so much that we had to hunt around to even catch a glance at a pig or cow basking in the sun. It wasn’t until Brandon filled up the pig’s water trough that we saw the tall grass shake back and forth in the distance and then two large female pigs barreling toward us.
Then came the piglets…
After visiting the pigs, Brandon took us to the top of the grassy hill to see the chickens. The birds stay in a chicken pen which is a 10′ x 12′ x 2′ feet mobile enclosure with an open bottom, where they were allowed to scratch, dig, and eat up the bugs, grass, alfalfa, and clover on the pasture. The top of the pen is metal and the sides are covered in chicken wire. This allows the birds to be protected from the harsh weather (and other hungry animals), but still gives them plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Their pen is moved frequently around the farm so they can continue to eat fresh plants and bugs while fertilizing the land at the same time.
We ended our tour by visiting the Galloway cattle. The minute the cattle caught sight of us, they dashed off into the pasture and proceeded to line up side by side and stare at us.
Once they felt comfortable, they signaled each other to move forward, but no more than a few feet at a time.
The cattle are strictly grass-fed; they are not fed any grain and are not treated with any hormones or antibiotics. Brandon believes by treating animals with respect by raising them on pasture with plenty of space, sunlight, and fresh air, you are guaranteed a healthier and more delicious product. I would have to agree with him. Both my travel companion and I walked away with one package of ham lunch meat, one package of breakfast sausages, one whole chicken, two pounds of chicken wings, and of course, one pound of bacon for my boyfriend.
Dominion Valley Farm is a farm that is truly dedicated to raising animals they way they were meant to be raised- with plenty of space, clean water, fresh air, and greens in order to ensure the best quality product. With most of the meat in our supermarkets being raised in factory farms, I am thankful for Dominion Valley Farm and their humane practices. For more information about Dominion Valley Farm and how to purchase their products, please visit their website.
My travel companion’s final take on Dominion Valley Farm:
“If you want to see cute, happy piglets- this is the farm. It was really interesting to see hogs and cattle raised in a large area where they can roam free. The exceptional care for the animals was reflected in the quality of the products I enjoyed. The ham lunch meat and breakfast sausages were excellent.”