Jesie and Matthew Lawrence built their farm and family simultaneously. A desire to gain food transparency for their loved ones, and the community at large, inspired the couple to start Marble Creek Farmstead. An hour’s drive from Birmingham, the Sylacauga, Alabama farmstead, has a full range of products. In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, the farmstead is also home to chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, goats, sheep, and grass-fed cattle.
The Lawrence’s focus on hogs rests primarily with Berkshire and Tamworth breeds. The Berkshire has been called the "Kobe of Pork," for its marbling, tenderness and rich flavor. The Tamworth is known as the "Bacon Pig" for the ability to grow mass without having too much fat. Marble Creek Farmstead is also home to Large Black and Red Wattle hog breeds. With room to roam in pastures of clover, rye, bluegrass, buttercups, and flowers, the hogs instinctually root around, eating grasses, dirt, and grubs. The pigs also have access to spent brewer’s grain, fermented grains of wheat, barley and sorghum from nearby brewers, as well as a supplemental non-GMO feed.
Zach Miller grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Charlottesville, Virginia when it was still a “gentleman’s farm” for racehorses. But Zach and his parents wanted to take the family legacy in a new direction. Zach wanted to see the farm—his childhood home—preserved as a profitable model of an alternative to industrial agriculture. That meant great-tasting steaks, healthy grasses, and a land stewardship that could continue long into the future.
As an amateur chef, Matthew Lawrence quickly learned that the quality of meat used in a meal has a huge impact on the final product. As he catered local weddings and competitions, he struggled to find local and sustainable meat from farmers nearby. To improve his craft and provide a better alternative to grocery store meats, Matthew and his wife Jesie decided to create what they were searching for by starting their own sustainable multi-species pasture farm in Sylacauga, Alabama. After all, as Matthew says, nature is where all the activity happens.
If starting their own farm wasn’t ambitious enough, Matthew and Jesie also built their own USDA inspected processing facility to service both their farm and other local farmers. Providing a local processor for the community results in better meats for everyone.